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Modern brand design is more than just beautiful aesthetics. Branding, rooted in strategy, has the ability to propel a business forward, create a connection, and bridge the gap between a business and its consumer in ways that only good design never could.
Brand strategy is fundamental
A branding strategy is based on the who, what, where and why of a company. It sums up a company's mission, brand adjectives, ideal target audience profiles, and overall visual identity. It helps define what sets a company apart from its competition and keeps a company consistent. It helps define everything from how a company is presented to how its team members work.
Most importantly, a well-crafted branding strategy is critical to a company's growth. According to a 2019 Lucidpress study, a company's revenue is likely to increase by up to 33 percent if its brand identity is displayed consistently, while inconsistent branding will damage a company's reputation, according to 18.6 percent of respondents.
A good business owner understands the importance of making a lasting first impression on your ideal audience. Creating a great first impression starts with brand strategy and ends with brand visualization, brand voice, and brand interaction.
The lack of a branding strategy affects all other aspects of a business, making it a crucial part of a company's overall success. A branding strategy is a solid foundation for everything that comes after and creates predictability, which in turn bridges the gap between a business and its consumer.
Related: 5 Steps to Make Your Brand Identity More Consistent
What is a brand strategy?
A brand strategy begins with a brand designer, whose work usually begins with a customer questionnaire, a customer call, and customer research. These first steps give the designer a closer look at a company and its owner so the strategy they put together is relevant.
The most important insight gained from a customer questionnaire is who, what, where and why of a company: Who is this company intended for? What do you do and what problems do you solve for your audience? Where are they located or where do they do business? Why is the company or the owner doing what they are doing?
Once the above questions have been thoroughly answered and clearly understood by the designer, the designer uses both the client's answers and market research to put together a detailed branding strategy that covers everything from a brand's mission to its visual descriptors.
A completed branding strategy sums everything up in a succinct, easy-to-understand way that serves as the foundation for brand visualization and any subsequent business decision, making it an important part of any new business.
Related topics: Creating a blueprint for your branding strategy
Brand visualizations aren't just about looks
A brand identity is never just a logo or a set of colors. It is a collection of brand values that relate to a company's original branding strategy and link all of them in terms of meaning and appearance.
There are three main reasons a company should invest in a brand identity that is ingrained in strategy: attractiveness, competition, and loyalty.
Brand visualizations are designed to attract a company's ideal customer, help a company differentiate itself from its competitors, and retain an audience that will in turn become repeat customers.
However, brand visualizations without a strategy tend to be flat and do not provide any of the above requirements. A successful brand identity uses a strategy to create visuals that subconsciously attract ideal customers through thoughtful (and sometimes psychology-based) colors, fonts, photographs, and wording.
Related: Create a Compelling and Magnetic Brand Using Storytelling
Strategy over visuals
When a brand's visual elements speak directly to their ideal audience and attract those they want to do business with, the company is likely to succeed and create an instant connection with the intended audience. Keep this in mind: If your ideal audience is women ages 15-25, you don't want a brand identity that appeals to men ages 50-60 because they won't buy from you and your business will fail. It sounds like common sense, but there is a lot of planning and strategic decision-making involved in choosing brand visualizations that are both relevant and consider consumer psychology.
The key and goal of a brand designer is choosing graphics that will have a positive impact on the right people. And the only way to know who the right people are is through thoughtful branding insights.
Related: 5 Easy Exercises to Find Your Brand's Voice
Fit in, but stand out
A company's brand shouldn't just talk to its audience. it should also stand out from the competition.
A brand designer helps a company find (and fit) the line between relevance within an ideal audience without fitting into the competition. When that sweet spot is found, a brand has the leverage to engage its audience without feeling out of place on the shelf or during a web search.
Overall, a successful brand identity is based on a strategy, subconsciously helps convince a consumer, and helps a company find its place in the competition.