It’s such an important part of branding, one that should take place early on in the life cycle of a brand, yet plenty of organisations clearly haven’t taken brand definition seriously. We happily take our clients through the process as not only does it make our life easier, it also increases the likelihood that the work will align better with the brand and, crucially, work better too.

 

This is the general outline of what we would do when we begin to define a brand:

 

First and foremost, identify the idea that sits behind your organisation, informing everything (no matter how disparate) it does. This unifying concept is informed by what makes you stand out, making your organisation and your service/product different. This idea should be something that is also very closely linked to your vision of the future for the organisation. Imagine the brand in ten, twenty years time – does the idea still hold? Once you have articulated this ‘grand idea’, you can implement it across the organisation (personnel, design, executive, decisions et cetera).

 

Values stand apart from the action as they do in our lives. Whatever matters most to your organisation, recognising this will help the organisation (and the brand) pull together in the same direction. The values can sometimes dissolve into a generic corporate speak (when oil companies, agencies and coffee shops have the same values you know something is up), but expressing brand values is a vital aspect of brand development. Having key values allows everyone inside and outside the organisation to know what your brand aspires to. Actually following through on your stated values rather than merely stating them is, if it needs reiterating, vital.

 

Expression is the final aspect in brand definition. You know why your organisation exists, expression indicates how it will. Expression is the way we show the world who we are. Whether you want to come across as approachable, sleek, smart or traditional (other traits are available) will depend on the idea and values you have identified. Expression occurs through visual identity and overall tone of voice (including all copy and interactions with customers).

 

We love this stuff. If you need any help at any stage of your branding project, get in touch and we’ll help clarify any questions you might have. Brand definition really matters, and to prove that we’ll leave with the words of a brand that has proved over the decades just how much it matters:

 

“If Coca-Cola were to lose all of its production-related assets in a disaster, the company would [survive]. By contrast, if all consumers were to have a sudden lapse of memory and forget everything related to Coca-Cola, the company would go out of business.”
Coca-Cola Executive

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