I see mismatched branding at least once a week. It’s surprisingly common. Recently, shopping at the mall on a busy Saturday, I saw a Branding Identity Crisis live and in person. Even though I was casually shopping in a large department store, my branding hat was still on. What struck me immediately was the mismatched brand messaging throughout. Different areas of the store were almost unrecognizable. There was no consistency. For a few moments, I asked myself if I was even in the same store.
The mistake companies often make is not realizing that every department design, email, social media post, marketing message is part of a whole. And every one of those elements needs to sync to create a consistent, cohesive message.
A brand identity crisis is what happens when they don’t sync.
As discussed in Is Your Brand Suffering from an Identity Crisis, this is a mismatch of visual and messaging elements that hurts your branding. And, unfortunately, it’s more common than you think.
Here are a few mistakes that can lead to a brand Identity crisis
- A small (or non-existent) design team struggling to cope with creating all branding assets for large campaigns/product launches/marketing strategy.
- Miscommunication between teams in a larger company
- Creation of certain assets (for example, social media) and then years later creation of additional assets that don’t match
But let’s get to what you can do about it. Once you realize your brand is not in consistent alignment, here’s what you can do to turn things around
Steps to fix a brand identity crisis
1. Assess the present
Everything starts with assessment. That’s always step #1. Think of your branding as a journey. Before you can get to where you want to go, you have to know exactly where you are. Not approximately. Not in a roundabout estimation. You need to be precise.
*What are all of our current branding assets?
*If you’ve recently rebranded, take stock of where you’ve come came from. How did the most recent rebrand play out? Was it well-received? What were the results? Was it successful?
2. Understand your reputation and market image
How are you seen in the marketplace? This can be tricky. Just the same way it’s difficult for individuals to know how they’re perceived, it can be hard to know how your company is perceived.
A few things that can help:
*Survey your current audient/clients customers
*Search social media
*Search for articles and other mentions
3. Be clear on what your clients expect
Over time, you clients come to expect a certain image of you. Do you know what that image is? For example, if your most recent marketing campaigns have been based on your Jester branding archetype, and then suddenly you create a branding suite that’s formal and corporate-style, your clients will be confused.
It’s vital that all new branding elements match what your audience already expect.
4. Explore your options and decide to work with an in-house designer/purchase a package software or custom design
Let’s go over best options for package creation:
a. Use an in-house designer. Of course, this is only an option if you have an in-house designer – and you’re happy with their work.
b. Hire a designer. Do your research -or ask around- to find a professional designer.
c. Purchase software. This last option has many advantages. It’s affordable, yet you still end up with a design that’s cohesive. It’s also your fastest option. There’s no long, drawn-out process like hiring a designer, yet you still have get to choose what’s best for you.
5. Let the process begin!
Once you’ve decided what you need and how it will be created (by an inside team, hiring out, or purchasing a package), it’s time to get started. No matter which option you choose, you will still be involved in the design process. And going through the process is highly valuable. It gives you repeated opportunities to get clear on your brand messaging and style.
6. (Bonus step) Identify what success will look like
Before you start a brand overhaul, be clear on what success will look like. How will you know when you’ve reached the result you’re aiming for? What’s your destination?
Knowing where you want to go, will help you set off in the right direction. It also helps you know you’re on track along the way.
Remedying a brand identity crisis can be an immense undertaking. But if you follow these steps, you’ll have a guide to help you along the journey. You’ll walk away from the process with a cohesive brand and the reassurance of knowing your branding is doing it’s job: helping you stand out and build equity in the markket place.