Things to Consider When Updating Your Brand

Insurance Agency Branding Refresh

You’ve probably heard of branding. And you may have an idea what it is. Is it a logo? Colors? Fonts? Service? A combination of these? Yes, but it is also much more.

Branding is an identity and the individual components that make a business unique. It is the combined impression you make on others with your colors, fonts, logo, voice/tone in your messaging, and service. It doesn’t matter if a potential customer has interacted intentionally with your business yet. Your branding impacts even your non-customers. The most successful companies are aware of this, and being aware of it brings you one step closer to success. Think about what some of the globe’s leading marketers are doing.

McDonald’s: The 6th largest company in the world. They are experts at branding. Consider how you’ve interacted with the brand during your lifetime. The exterior of the restaurants generally looks the same. And their advertising? You can’t miss that red and their golden arches.

Seen an ad on TV? It probably looks similar to ads you may have seen online. Even their radio ads feel cohesive. There’s a sense that these all belong together. No mistaking it.

What about service? You probably already know what it’s like to order at a McDonald’s restaurant. This experience was specifically crafted to be the way it is – regardless of the location you visit. (Yes, the menu may vary globally, but McDonald’s commitment to service does not.) Think about the way employees greet you and deliver your order. These are dictated by the company’s brand values, which make an impression on you.

The same is true with the quality of the food. You expect the food quality to be the same whether you order at the location down the street, in an airport, or in another state. Their food is their branding!

McDonald’s, the company, has a voice. The way they talk about themselves and their products in their advertising or on their website is branding. It sounds like it’s coming from a single entity. It can be playful, inviting, and friendly. Do they sound like their competitors? Probably not. That’s intentional. A carefully crafted, cohesive voice is an important element to branding.

Netflix: What comes to mind? Maybe their logo. In days past, maybe their red envelope. Today, it may be their splash screen. Their “ba-dump” sound. Netflix’s branding makes an impression on you. That’s branding doing its job. When they put out a trailer for a new show and it features their brand elements, it’s like a book cover. It’s setting your expectations because they are confident enough to put their name on it.

What about their service? How you interact with Netflix is just what you expect from them. Even their competitors are aware of this. They might think “how can we make it as good as theirs, or better?” Or how about specifically their customer service? Are they known for their great customer service? Can you count on it? The sum of these experiences is how their service is branded and what people think about them.

Let’s look at their tone and voice. Think about how the service speaks to you, as a customer. Netflix is incredibly careful about how it words everything. After you read enough of what is put out, you get an idea of what they feel they can or can’t say — and stay within brand. Notice the voice in their interface or on their social media. Their greeting and how it suggests shows for you is an intentional part of their brand. These invisible rules shape who they are in your eyes and mind.

T-Mobile: Magenta. It’s the only magenta-colored mobile carrier. T-Mobile stands out visually from its competitors with its intentional, in-your-face color choice.

Whether you’ve had them or not – or have had a good experience or not – their service shapes your perception of T-Mobile’s brand in your mind. Then when you talk about wireless carriers with other people, you’re drawing from your past experiences and your idea of the brand as compared to others. Service is a big, defining feature of what T-Mobile has to offer. The company knows good service = good branding = good business.

T-Mobile wants to be different. And part of how it does that is through its tone and voice. Listen to its ads. Read its website. The tone is consistently more out-there, more cool-sounding. When all competitors sound one way, T-Mobile sounds completely different. Its voice leads to an impression that sets the company apart from others. Next time you see that magenta-colored billboard with catchy, casual words on it, there’s no mistaking it’s T-Mobile.

Now you know. Moving forward, pay attention to how businesses build and maintain their brands. And then be aware of how your business handles these elements – and what you can do to more intentionally direct these. You’ll be more consistent and able to achieve the results you want. Define these values. Live by them. And let them guide you and your business to success.

About the Author: Hugo Miramontes is a Senior Graphic Designer at The Word & Brown Companies. He joined the organization in 2015.

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