Ask the Expert: The Power of Branding

Ask the Expert: The Power of Branding

ACD&B is a creative design consultancy, working with businesses to finetune their branding strategies – something that, for many businesses, can seem like a daunting task.

We sat down with ACD&B managing director, Chris Parkinson, to understand what value a good branding strategy can bring to businesses, and how the agency works with its clients to deliver creative ideas that support wider growth objectives.

Chris, from your perspective why should branding be a key consideration for businesses?

There’s often a misconception that branding is just a logo or an aesthetic. But it’s so much more than that. Your brand is the entire entity of your business, and helps to bring your company to life.

Brands help to foster loyalty – connecting people to your business and your purpose so they stay with you, grow with you and advocate your brand to others. This is important for customers, but is also relevant for employees who are increasingly looking to align themselves to a brand that has a shared purpose and values.

Your brand can also make you stand out from the competition. Customers have never had more choice, so standing out in the crowd is becoming more challenging. By having a brand that is authentic, and aligned to your purpose and values, it helps you control perceptions and makes it easier for your target customers to connect with your company.

What does a good branding strategy look like?

A good branding strategy should align with and support the overall strategic objectives of the business. If the audience can get a feel for a business’ values through their branding, then the strategy is working and will ultimately help to create more value.

It’s important when creating a branding strategy that it isn’t too rigid. It should be adaptable and be able to flex when new divisions, products or services launch. If a branding strategy is too complex or structured, it’s much harder to evolve in line with business growth.

A good tip when thinking about your branding, is to think about how different forms of digital assets and collateral would be created with that branding in the future. If you can’t easily adapt it, the chances are you’ve set too many rules or have overcomplicated the strategy.

What are some of the challenges of re-branding?

One of the biggest challenges is understanding who you’re rebranding for. All too often businesses will come to us with branding ideas that come from the senior leadership team, without clear objectives set out as to what the rebrand is trying to achieve.

However, sometimes the senior leadership team are so invested in the older branding they can also be reluctant to shake things up – particularly if that branding helped their business grow in the first place.

It is really important to start any rebranding project with a clear purpose, and to listen to customers and employees as part of the process. It’s a step that can often get overlooked but is a necessary one to ensure the brand strategy is effective at creating brand recognition and fostering loyalty. It’s best to collate all this feedback before commencing the design element of the re-brand to ensure key elements are factored into everything from the tone of voice through to the visuals.

I would also say that in my experience breaking the mould and being a bit braver with your company image can really set you apart from your competitors and demonstrate that you’re an established, professional, forward-thinking company.

What’s the best way to evaluate your branding?

Branding is so rarely featured on annual meeting agendas, but it absolutely should be. It’s probably because it’s difficult to demonstrate a ROI for brand awareness, however, your brand is one of the first things a customer or employee will see, so it’s important to get it right.

In order to stay relevant, brands need to evolve, and therefore it is important to continually assess whether your brand is supporting your strategic objectives or holding your business back.

Whilst it can be hard to quantify the impact of your brand, you can use common sense to assess whether it’s delivering. Ask yourself, is it working? Is it fit for purpose? Does it reflect our values? If not, it may be time to reassess your strategy.

I would also highly recommend asking customers and employees to feedback what they think your brand represents. This data can be invaluable in ensuring your brand is delivering what you need it to and can also stimulate brilliant ideas to help your brand evolve as you grow your business.

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