What was the biggest challenge of your life? How about the biggest challenge of your career? What about your biggest challenge in marketing?
I have the same answer to all of these questions: BRANDING.
Many view branding as a name, a catchy headline, a logo or just about everything you picture about a company (business cards, website, online advertising, public relations etc.), but things are not quite so simple. Branding may seem like (relatively) easy team work: you meet with the client and talk, establish a name and possibly a slogan, then the designer comes up with a proposal for a logo, the client accepts, you quickly build the website and everything is ready, the brand is created… nice, but that’s not branding.
To create a business identity, before anything else, you need to understand that business, the area in which it functions and the way in which it works, how that market fluctuates, what are the trends, the way your competition and target audience behaves. You must get to know your client, to see what he likes or does not like and which is his “philosophy” of life. Why all this? Because, before any name, logo or other identity element, you must create the brand personality. Here comes the big challenge; you have to set certain rules, long-term rules referencing the entire concept of the business and by which future actions will be guided.
Based on these brand lines, you choose a brand name, a slogan, you create the visual image. Now is the time when your work begins to take shape and your project gets to have a well defined identity, which you present using a brand manual.
Okay, okay … you have personality, you have visual identity, brand manual, but what next? Challenges lie further as well, because you must establish the strategy that you intend to approach, the marketing and communication planning. All of these have to be in accordance with the brand that you’ve built and must be adjusted to meet the market needs and its trends.
Ultimately, remember this: the client must identify himself and his values with the brand. Nevertheless, he’s the main ambassador of the brand and he should keep this in mind.
Although it is a challenge and may, at first, seem difficult, nothing compares to the joy of creating a brand and seeing it flourish.