Once upon a time there were three little pigs. One pig built a brand of straw while the second pig built his brand with sticks. They built their brands very quickly and then sang and danced all day because they were lazy. The third little pig worked hard all day, dug deep and built his brand with bricks and strong foundations.
In our digital age where first impressions often happen online, visual identities play a vital role in shaping perceptions. A brand's visual identity can either strengthen or undermine a reputation. The nuances of visual elements from logos to layout, built on foundations of unsteady straw-like strategy, can inadvertently contribute to misrepresentation.
This misrepresentation creates a gap between perceived image and actual values.
However, by thoughtfully clarifying and building brand foundations, and designing a coherent visual identity that represents the essence of a brand, businesses and individuals can not only foster trust, but they can also attract their preferred client.
The Problem: Missing the Point
Visual identities form the face of a brand. Unfortunately, this visual power can be a double-edged sword and it’s common that the misrepresentation is unintentional. When visual elements convey a message inconsistent with the true nature or values of the business they represent, trust is eroded and confusion is created.
The Solution: Solid Foundations
The third little pig knew what he was doing!
To avoid misrepresentation, it's crucial to clarify the direction of a brand by digging deep and solidifying brand foundations. Strong foundations consist of the following six blocks:
Brand Message. Using vision, mission and purpose statements to articulate the framework in which the brand is operating. They are essential tools for defining, communicating, and achieving the fundamental identity of the business.
Positioning statement and value proposition. These two principles address market position and customer needs, helping clients to make informed decisions.
Brand values and behaviours. Important in shaping identity, building trust, and fostering meaningful connections, with clients and employees.
Clear services and customer journey. These two fellas have a big impact on brand experience and when crystal clear they help clients understand the offer and enjoy their time whist in touch with your business.
Tone of voice and language. Ensuring a brand is memorable and recognisable will help clients identify and relate to your offer.
Brand narrative. Fostering differentiation, and creating a lasting impression that goes beyond products or services.
To solidify and make strong foundation stones, the best approach I have found is to simplify. The above points all contribute to the personality of a brand. This may sound strange but clarifying how your brand shows up in different scenarios is helpful when cultivating the essence of the your brand identity and managing the meaning of your endeavours!
Questions to Consider for strong brand foundations
The following prompts present some of the previous points in a slightly different way. I hope it helps…
What is Your Core Purpose?
Define the fundamental reason for your brand's existence. Why does it matter?
Who is Your Target Audience?
Clearly identify and understand the characteristics, needs, and preferences of your ideal customers.
What Values Define Your Brand?
Outline the principles and values that guide your brand's decision-making and behaviour. Make them active, rather than connection, an active value could be Listen to learn: Sharing your story – with an open mind.
What Sets You Apart from Competitors?
Identify your unique selling propositions and articulate what makes your brand distinct in the market.
How Consistent is Your Messaging?
Evaluate the coherence of your brand messaging across various platforms and communication channels.
How Well Do You Know Your Brand Personality?
Define the human traits that characterise your brand, helping establish an emotional connection with your audience. Is your brand lighthearted and humorous or do you want to be know as creative and innovative.
What is Your Brand’s Story?
Craft a compelling narrative that communicates the history, mission, and vision of your brand to build a stronger connection with your audience.
Be More TLP
In conclusion, a carefully considered strategy and thoughtfully curated visual identity, is a powerful combination for building trust and attracting the right kind of people. By selecting visuals that align with the true essence of a brand, individuals and businesses can navigate the potential pitfalls of misrepresentation. In doing so, their visual identity becomes a compelling representation of who they are, laying the foundation for lasting connections and success in the marketplace.
The moral of the story, be more third little pig.