Strategic definition describes current perceptions, audiences, and communication channels. It directs well-crafted messages and a bold identity to express the brand’s positioning.
Positioning follows strategic definition
Quick recognition of an identity, supported by concise messages, will motivate your target audiences. Positioning will help your audiences understand and recognize who you are and what you offer. They can then take the next step towards becoming a client or customer at each point of choice.
Test your positioning
Are you noticed and recognized? Does the identity guide and reinforce the brand persona, support who you are in business?
Do audiences “get” what makes your organization or your products or services better than the other choices?
People want stories. They want to understand. They want to know enough to share. They want to see at a glance what you stand for — find your identity on the street, on the shelf or online.
With the foundation of positioning, a brand program will have long-term impact. Positioning unifies internal and external messages and adds energy and excitement to the visual system.
Visual identity and a messaging hierarchy summarize the organization’s unique position.
Messaging architecture summarizes and informs
A hierarchy of messages summarizes the organization’s unique position in the market. Messages are prioritized to distinguish the ideas that resonate with your audiences. Messaging is the blueprint for all communications, from website to literature to advertising and social media.
When we build messaging architecture for a brand, we address:
- Positioning: What is the organization known for? What do you want to be known for? What’s unique?
- Value proposition: What value is offered to the target audiences? Why should audiences choose the organization/product/service over another option?
- Brand promise: What can audiences expect? The tag line sums it up and is the promise to the target audiences.
- Key messages: The top three ideas/concepts/messages audiences must “get.” Different messages may be crafted for each target group.
… distilled the intricacy of our organization and helped us focus our message to reveal a better expression of important services.
—Jody Christensen, McMinnville Economic Development Partnership, Job Growers Incorporated board member
Identity system builds visual character
The logo is the thumbprint of the brand. The full identity system — logo elements, colors, fonts, design elements — must reflect the character, culture and personality of the organization. And it must be designed for use in all channels. An optimized brand establishes a system with standards, guidelines, templates and visual assets.
- Identity design: The logo sets the stage and is the first glimpse of the brand persona. Its design guides how a complete brand system is crafted. It must be created to work in black and white and color, at various sizes and in online and offline applications.
- Visual system: The brand identity is a defined system of elements — color palette, fonts, support elements — that provide structure and a recognizable style. It can include a chosen visual style for graphic elements, photography or illustration.
- Standards: Guidelines and standards direct use of the brand — colors, fonts, personality, tone, appearance and versions — to help everyone maintain consistency. Standards demonstrate best and primary uses of the logo, as well as unacceptable applications.
- Resources: Digital asset files are provided for all applications and variations — colors, formats and refinements for size and legibility. Multiple sizes and file formats ensure the logo is applied consistently, whether by an in-house department or outside vendors.
In this phase existing logos can be used; a logo design refreshed and updated; or a new logo created to reflect the positioning. A logo “organizational chart” can be designed to accommodate departments or sub-brands and fully define their hierarchy and relationships.
… helped us organize the many levels of logos within our overall brand, and create a cohesive look and feel that still offers flexibility in its final execution.
—Sherryll Johnson Hoar, Manager of Marketing and Communications, Salem Health
Positioning — messaging and identity — are essential components of an optimized brand. The next step? Planning brand implementation, where and how the brand will be applied at each point of choice.
Ready to talk logo design? Or messaging? Ready to refresh and update how you present your organization, products or services? Let’s talk.
For examples of the many award-winning identity systems we’ve created or updated, please see our case studies in the Work section.
Define your position in your market with our positioning worksheet.
To talk further about optimizing your brand, creating a new logo and identity system, or developing a messaging hierarchy to guide communications, give us a call toll-free at 866.363.4433.