I don’t often hear about the brand strategy when starting new digital projects, unless I bring it up. I consider it to be integral to nearly every new project and discussed every time. “By doing this are we supporting the brand mission?” and “Now it’s done, does align with our values and does help support the mission?”
Most of us know that it’s the brand and its vision that makes each company or organisation different and successful. It’s what sets them apart, gives them personality, attracts customers and supports growth. The work environment, the ethos, the products, the employees and even customers are all part of it.
If a brand were a person the logo would just be part of their identity, like a dress style or the dialect they use. It would suggest what kind of personality they had. But if they acted in a way that went against their appearance you may mistrust them.
Being a successful person requires a set of values and personality traits. Looking the part but not delivering the goods creates a confused character – they don’t make sense and so they lose our trust and friendship. We look up to people who wear their heart on their sleeve, are ambitious, who want to change the world, and so we follow them and support their goals. Shouldn’t this be the same for businesses?
So, with every customer touch point a company should be delivering on both their values and brand strategy. We can’t just design things that meet the customer’s needs. They need to adhere to the brand too. The language that is used, the products that are delivered and the services that are offered should all align. You wouldn’t send a bill by post if you have environmentally conscious ethos, even if that is how your customers wanted to receive them.
If part of your mission was “to have the greatest variety of food in one grocery store”, you wouldn’t put all your most consumed products at the entrance so customers would never experience the full range. It may be easier for the customer initially, but they may never get the opportunity to see the breadth of your range and possibly go somewhere else for unusual grocery items.
An agency project I worked on was for LA Fitness (now bought by a low-cost gym chain) approached the agency I was working for at the time to help with recruitment and retainment of staff. I took this as a brand development opportunity. Their staff were hired to persuade audiences to join the gym, but ultimately the vision was to help their members meet their fitness goals and improve the health of a nation.
If staff understood this ambition, then we could move the role from being ‘just a job’ into (almost) a vocation. Seeing members become better versions of themselves physically and mentally would give purpose to the role and that should feel rewarding.
We developed an identity, SPARK, which was a concept that related to the employee being the person that dispatched that kick-up-the-arse members needed to fall in love with the feeling of being fit. The letters stood for the brand values which included support, preparation, attitude, resilience, and knowledge, all important in delivering the vision for members.
A staff incentive and awards ceremony scheme were devised which celebrated the achievements of staff that ‘sparked’ members to get fit and helped them to achieve.
The identity was youthful, energetic, and explosive with an aim to engage and motivate this young workforce. And, of course, to look a bit cool and enticing for candidates. It was well received and worked well amongst staff and supported a fresh approach to their recruitment drive.
- Brand development
- Concept art