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Building your brand – our brand identity agency guide

Brand identity is something that should reflect your company’s identity − its capabilities and values. And over time, as your company grows and transforms, and markets evolve, your business branding needs to be refreshed in order to keep customers in touch with who you are. But making sure that their branding is strong, current and easily recognisable is something that many SMEs neglect ‒ to their cost. Here’s an agency guide to coming up with strong branding for your business.

Our brand of brand identity agency tips…

Having a powerful brand identity is one of the key things that helps any business achieve its objectives. A brand image should:
• appeal to your target audience
• clearly define what your business is about
• be easily recognisable and stand out above your competitors
• work across all mediums from social media to signage.

#1 Do your research

If you already have an established business it’s essential to review your current branding. Look at your sub-brands (if any), find out more about your current client base, and the competition. At this stage your employees can tell you a great deal about what your customers value your business for and equally, what they hate about your branding and website. When you have all this information, summarise your philosophy ‒ the core values of your business ‒ and the sort of person you typically serve.

#2 Come up with a creative brief

Start to define your new brand positioning and brand elements by coming up with:
• long and short written descriptions, straplines and slogans
• keywords
• visual elements such as fonts and colours that articulate your brand values.

These will form the starting point for logo ideas for your graphic designer. Additionally you’ll need to specify ways in which the new branding will be applied. Branding should be consistent right across every medium by which you present your business, from stationery to websites and social media to signage, and work well across them all.

 

Example of brand identity applied to direct marketing collateral

#3 Know what to ask of your graphic designer

Your designer should use any market research you’ve provided plus their (hopefully) extensive experience and expertise in colour theory to make sure your logo stands out above the noise of the marketplace. Ask them to brainstorm various typography and graphic styles, and present you with 3-5 of the best images which they’ve tested in a number of mediums. You’ll need to select the best ones for further refinement. They should then develop 2-3 of the designs further, exploring how they will appear on several pieces of marketing communications. Once you’ve made a final choice, ask them to show you how your logo will work with your brand partners and sub-brands. And in various accepted forms such as:
• reversed out
• black and white.

They should then supply you with digital files containing various formats and colour profiles so that you have everything you need to launch your new brand.

#4 Commission a brand identity manual

It’s no good commissioning a new logo and stationery with perfect branding if you’re going to drift away from it over time. Developing an identity guidelines manual will guarantee that your brand identity remains consistent right across your basic brand communications such as:
• stationery
• promotional material
• corporate signage.

It should start with an exploration of logo extensions such as size, placement, alternative colour palates and accompanying typography, and test them out in various settings. The resulting master guidelines document will ensure that your brand image is executed properly going forward.

#5 Make the most of your new branding by launching it properly

You’ve gone to a lot of trouble. So consider launching your new brand so as to achieve maximum impact with your target audience using:
• PR
• direct mail
• advertising
• websites.

You’ll need to develop a launch plan that encompasses all your communication channels and customer touch points. Make sure that it coordinates the layout, timing and production of your new branding with your launch event and marketing activities.

If all that sounds like an awful lot to come up with, remember that Oxygen is an award-winning full communications agency with expertise in branding, re-branding, PR & marketing and event management. We’d be delighted to work with you to come up with the perfect branding and launch to reach your client or customer base. Contact us today to discuss all your brand identity needs on 0845 2606 255 or email us at enquiries@oxygenagency.co.uk

Steve Lodge :Steve trained as a NCTJ journalist and is an experienced copywriter. He has over 15 years in agency, and started Oxygen in 2002.