Your brand identity is one of the most important components of your marketing engine. Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon, has a great quote describing the importance of a brand identity.
You want people to talk about your brand and express their thoughts or feelings towards your products or services. But the onus is on you as a brand marketer to help people understand who you are and what value you bring to the table.
The content you produce to promote your brand is how you establish and reinforce your identity. Your content is the gatekeeper between you and your prospective customers. Your content is what people see and how they interpret thoughts or feelings about your brand, your products, and your services.
Each piece of content you promote must capture people’s attention and inspire them to learn more about what value you can provide in their day to day lives. Content is a means of inspiration as much, if not more, than a means of communication.
That’s why you need a strong brand identity to ensure each piece of content is consistently expressing value to the people you want to become your paying customers.
Think about all the attributes that shape your brand identity. There’s your company name, your logo, your tagline, your voice, and your tone. There’s your fonts, your colors, your photos, your videos, and your promotions. There are all of these factors and so much more.
Your identity is a reflection of all the attributes that collectively define your brand as perceived by your audience. Content you create for your website, your signage, your social networks, and your digital campaigns should align to one consistent set of visual brand guidelines.
Establishing a consistent style to influence content creation is how you scale your brand’s visual identity.
Mobile’s Influence On How You Communicate Your Identity
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re well aware of the impact mobile technology has on how people view and consume content. People download social apps and access near endless streams of content every time they view their social news feeds.
Studies have found that millennials will check content on their phones as many as 150 times per day. Each time a person checks their phone and enters a social app, they use their thumb to scroll through feeds of new and (presumably) interesting content. This is one of the biggest obstacles facing brand marketers today.
A quick flick of the thumb is literally all it takes for a consumer to decide whether your content is interesting and relevant to their needs or values.
Think about how much content you see each time you enter Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other social channel. If you have a large network of friends and follow many brands, all of the content shared by each of those connections is fed into your social news feed where you view that information at your own discretion.
Due to the sheer number of posts appearing in social news feeds, it’s incredibly challenging for brand marketers to stand out from the clutter. After a while, all content that appears in your newsfeed looks the same. It takes visuals that are very bold and very unique to truly make an impact on thumb-scrolling viewers.
A strong brand identity ensures your creative talent is consistently and frequently producing on-brand content that’s bold, encapsulating, and intriguing enough to move consumers along the buying journey with your brand.
Content Isn’t Consistent Without a Defined Brand Identity
This is how you need to approach content creation. You can’t create content that’s consistently aligned to your value propositions as well as the interests of your target audience without a clearly defined set of visual brand guidelines. These guidelines ensure your entire creative team understands what types of content to create and what types of content to avoid.
You must identify your core values, your company’s vision and mission, and the capabilities of your products or services. Now you need to decide what types of content will best communicate those messages to your audience while laying the foundation of your brand identity.
Begin by conducting research into your target audience. Ask yourself and your teammates probing questions such as:
Where do people who fit your audience persona spend their time?
What types of content capture their attention?
When are they spending time on social media?
What are the channels where they spend their time?
How are they engaging with the content?
Are there calls to action embedded in the content
Do people take the next steps and click through those links?
Verify the responses you receive from your team with data. Collect data from market research, competitive analyses, and successes from early marketing campaigns. Any factual evidence you can acquire about your customers is an insight into their interests, and what aspects of your brand resonate with those interests.
Once you know more about the behavioral habits of your target personas, you can determine how those patterns best align with your brand. Remember how you identified your company’s vision? This is how you want people to see your brand.
Your vision is how you want to build your brand identity.
This will help you establish a consistent creative template and allow you to ramp up production so that you create content at scale.
Consistent Processes Increase Creative Frequency
Once you have a creative roadmap, you can determine how best to execute. Remember that your creative template should influence each piece of content created on behalf of your brand. This ensures that all content promoted to prospective customers is aligned to one consistent narrative.
Now you can decide what content you need and where you need it.
Think about what channels you’ll use to promote your content. Each social platform has its own features and content best practices. But approach each of those platforms with a two-pronged strategy.
How is your audience interacting with content on those channels?
Is there a particular type of visual in terms of color, size, or scope that generates greater engagement?
What’s the impression you wish to make across these platforms through your brand identity?
Once you have informative answers to each of these questions, you can translate that data into best practices to create visual content for your brand. Share each of these creative insights with your entire team to improve the consistency and increase the frequency of your content.
Use Structured Briefs to Help Execute at Scale
You now have the foundational attributes that will inform your brand identity and you know how you want to promote the content you create. Now you need to create it!
Suffice to say, building your brand identity will require a ton of content. You need to get your brand into social news feeds as frequently as you can to have any long-lasting impact.
Structured briefs help you translate your data into technical visual requirements for every member of your creative team. These requirements are an extension of your visual brand guidelines and ensure all content consistently matches these creative best practices. Briefs articulate the goal of the content, display creative visual examples, and differentiate between do’s and don’ts for creating custom imagery that enforces your brand identity.
But how do you communicate these briefs to your entire creative talent? Suppose your in-house marketing team is a small group and you collaborate with external creative talent to help produce more content at faster rates. Each one of those creative specialists must understand your visual brand guidelines to ensure the content is consistently on-brand and reinforcing your brand identity.
In short, you need technology. You need a platform that can host these structured briefs and provide easy access for all creative talent regardless of geographic location. You’re always in need of more content and creative resources that help you achieve your objectives at scale.
As you increase the frequency of content created on behalf of your brand, you’ll provide thought provoking and entertaining visuals to your audience that empower a solid brand identity.
Are you ready to establish your brand identity? Download our “Establishing a Unique Brand Visual Identity” eBook for advice on how to establish visual brand guidelines, best practices to translate marketing guidelines into technical visual requirements, and examples of brands with strong brand identities.