Brand Responsibly Manifesto: 9

A brand is made up of experiences–what people see, hear and read–whether online or offline, in printed materials, signing, fleet graphics or social media. As communication channels continue to splinter and more choices emerge, managing a brand’s consistency becomes even more challenging.

visual and verbal brandBrand consistently to manage how your brand is seen, heard and read

In a culture overwhelmed with communications in all forms, all demanding attention and response, guiding your brand along a consistent path will help you rise above the chaos and reach your target audiences. How to build brand consistency? Consider both the visual and verbal brand.

Begin with the concept, what do you stand for?

The foundation of a visual and verbal brand is positioning. Positioning defines the purpose, the top level idea that distinguishes your organization, product or service from the rest. For BMW it’s “the ultimate driving machine” … a great brand promise, but also a context for all communications that follow.

Positioning narrows the focus and helps to distinguish your organization from others in your category. Strong positioning will support the visual and verbal brand, providing direction and context to design and messaging.

The identity system builds visual character

The logo is the thumbprint of the brand. The full identity system — logo elements, colors, fonts, design elements — must reflect the character, culture and personality of the organization. it must bring the positioning to life. The logo must be designed to maintain recognition in all channels. An optimized brand establishes a system with standards, guidelines, templates and a range of visual assets that will ensure brand consistency.

The messaging architecture articulates brand essence

A hierarchy of messages summarizes the organization’s unique position in the market. Messages must be prioritized to distinguish the ideas that resonate with your audiences. Messaging is the blueprint for all communications, from website to literature to advertising and social media.

The hierarchy builds from the brand promise at the top. Sometimes known as a tagline, the brand promise is audience focused. What can your audiences expect from your brand?

Supported by a value proposition, value description and three key messages with supporting proof points, the messaging hierarchy provides the ideas, words and phrases that can be used consistently and repeatedly in brand communications.

Brand consistency requires attention and ongoing adjustment

Once your brand is positioned well, the application will be smoother. Yet there will always be new issues, communications, audiences and situations to address. When the foundation of the visual and verbal brand is set, the system will be rigorous, yet also flexible, able to adjust as the brand evolves.

Ready to talk about branding responsibly? Drop us an email, or give us a call toll-free: 866.363.4433.

About The Author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer founded Creative Company with two partners in 1978 in Salem, Oregon. Her training as a graphic designer has guided the company's focus on brand persona founded in design and message, generating the brand optimization methodology. Award winning design, on point messaging and strategic positioning have generated response for clients since 1978.

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