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Before deciding on any updates or changes to your brand design it is important that you look at your current assets and clearly judge whether they are doing the best possible job for your business that they can do.
This article will outline the key ways in which you can look at your own branding and make that decision.
The single hardest thing about looking at your own branding is that it can be very hard to be properly dispassionate about it – to be objective rather than subjective.
Large corporations spend millions of dollars each year on expensive brand surveys to be aware of how well their brand design is performing. They do this using external third parties who provide expertise and most importantly an objective point of view.
For a smaller company replicating the subjective point of view is hard but it is very important that you find a way to be as dispassionate and unemotional about your own brand as possible. After all, it is simply a judge of shapes words colours and photos, not a judgement of the business or anything fundamental to you.
So step back, relax and take a long hard look at how you look.
What you ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ is not relevant. When discussing your brand avoid these words as much as you can.
Here are some good questions and phrases to keep in mind to avoid the dreaded ‘like’ word:
Is this element effective and engaging?
Could we simplify this any further?
Will this part of our design work in a small space?
Does this asset make us distinct in the marketplace?
Does this thing resonate and amplify our brand values?
Is this logo complicated or very hard to decode at distance?
Next, create the rules of the game.
When it comes to branding design the rules of the game are your own brand values and attributes and you should aim to have these written down in a clean and simple document this will provide an important measuring device for all matters relating to your brand now and in the future.
Are you a young energetic brand or a more mature professional brand? Do you need to position yourself as experts or are you something more friendly and down to earth? How serious is your tone of voice etc?
Ø ACTION: Write down and agree on your brand values with all your stakeholders.
Create a wall space which is full of your competitors’ branding – their website, their ads and any emails or other assets – all go on the wall alongside your own branding.
Leave this up for some time so you get used to seeing it. Then ask yourself how you look against the others.
When anyone comes to your office ask them to have a look and ask them some or all of the questions here:
Which brand sticks out?
Which brands are memorable?
Which brand resonates?
Who do you trust most upon seeing these items?
What kind of adjectives come to mind?
Does our brand feel consistent?
Would you recommend this company to a friend?
Are you proud to wear it / represent it?
Does it feel contemporary?
Does this match your brand tone of voice?
Is it trustworthy?
Guess the size of the company.
Ø Action: ask people to review the items and record all the feedback carefully
One great way to access objective third-party insight is to use the power of social media. Are there groups of customers within your industry online that you could simply ask?
What about LinkedIn – could a post there give you some ideas – people on there are extremely helpful in such matters.
Even simply posting your own branding to your Facebook friends and asking them for honest unbiased opinions – perhaps even using a poll – can also be helpful.
Ø Action: use social media to get feedback on your brand
it may well be worth contacting a digital or design agency you know and supplying them with your brand values document and all your brand assets they will likely be happy to give you a free review to let you know their thoughts on whether your brand design matches your brand values.
Ø Action: ask an agency to review your brand
Branding and especially logos must be extraordinarily versatile – they may have to work on the side of a truck right down to the cover of an app within a mobile phone screen.
The most common problems here arise when a logo is created on a desktop and never tested on a small screen in a small space.
A second set of problems arise when complicated colour schemes are chosen. Gradients and some shades are simply very difficult to control so should be used with caution.
Ø Action: look at your logo in the corner of a mobile phone screen to check viability.
One really easy way to look professional is to have a defined style of photography and to always stick to that style. Using stock shots too often can create an inconsistent and cheap feel especially if they vary in style and content dramatically.
A good way to check this is to glance at your homepage on social media and see if all the photos look like they come from the same place and share a style.
Using illustrations can be a great way to bring a brand together but it needs to be of the same style and resonate with your main logo and colours.
Ø Action: Cover the header on your social platform and see if your band still shines through.
We’ll send a quick video review of your brand so you can see what our design team makes of it. We’re not here to criticise but to show you where there may be opportunities for growth and improvement. These are done in a light, positive way and on video so you can be sure there is no sales person involved!