This has happened to me multiple times. I start a new role or on-board a new client and they hand me a folder with an .ai file, a few fonts, and some notes on color usage – proudly proclaiming that they just “rebranded.”
No. No, you haven’t.
What they’ve done is just put different clothes on the same old tired brand and called it a day because it looked different. And I promise it started because a graphic designer said, “Hey, your logo is old / lame / not my taste. Can I rebrand you for a completely unreasonable fee for the generic trendy icon I’ll provide you?”
And that’s where the problem begins. How do you tell a company that has a nice new logo mark that they still have almost all of the hard work of rebranding to do ahead of them. Or even worse, that there’s a good chance they haven’t even started.
That’s because brand strategy go way beyond the visual expression (Logo / Colors / Fonts) of a brand. In fact, the visual expression of the brand is the final piece of a multi-step pyramid that comes together to complete the “Rebrand.”
So with that, what does it take to create a successful brand strategy?
Well, to start, a solid foundation would be nice.
Step One: Define Your Purpose
Someone at your company took this crazy step of launching a new company. Bringing the idea from vision to products, free drinks, and Christmas parties. And while when they don’t give you the day after Thanksgiving off it may feel like it – they didn’t start with the idea of making money. There was a purpose, a dream, a vision.
What was it?
Write it down.
Then teach it to new employees to help build a foundation for your culture. From there your brand will follow.
Step Two: Declare Your Mission
Like from the rooftops in the middle of the night with fireworks… EVERY chance you get.
Because businesses with a mission drive customers with passion – i.e. Chick-Fil-A’s dress like a cow day.
In fact a survey of 8,000 customers around the world found that they were 4x more likely to purchase from a company with a strong mission and 6x more likely to protect them from criticism.
So what does this have to do with my logo?
Almost nothing. That’s the point.
Your brand is so much more than the mark on the top left of your website.
Step Three: Find Your Voice
“Let me get a number one, animal style, with fry well and a lemon-up.”
That’s my order at In-N-Out and its not “on” the menu but it is. It’s a language, a shared understanding, a set of terms and a way of speaking that unlocks a community and life giving (to a certain extent) meal.
It is also a core part of In-N-Out’s brand – the secret menu is culture building, identity building, and part of a brand mythos that goes far beyond any tangible value.
So why not add them to the menu?
Because then its no longer a “secret” club – even though everyone already knows it anyway.
When it comes to brand strategy, these sets of terms, ways of speaking, stories we believe about ourselves, the stories we tell our customers, and the vision behind them all form a foundation for who you are as a brand – the rest will follow if you dedicate yourself to building that foundation.