Brand

6 of-brand

Digital brands are embodied in your corporate culture, infused in your products, and are lived out in your vision and values. It’s this internal belief system that propels your brand, but ultimately it’s the external cultural collective that adopts it and makes it their own, independent of the organization.

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Inputs:

Mission, Vision, Values, Customer Knowledge

Outputs:

The output of the Brand is a series of deliverables both visual and written that fully articulates visual as well as digital guidelines that give a face, a voice, and personality to a mature organization’s digital footprint.

In the digital landscape, brand is much deeper and much broader than color, photography, font treatment, logo, and many of the older more traditional guidelines that have historically defined an organization’s brand.

In the digital landscape, brand is much deeper and much broader than color, photography, font treatment, logo, and many of the older more traditional guidelines that have historically defined an organization’s “brand.” It’s this added dimension, this new depth and breadth of capabilities that comes along with living in the digital world; that give brands new meaning and new opportunities for connecting with people in unique and engaging ways.
Take the choreography of motion, the way sound can give subtle affordance to an experience, the tactile nature and the response to touch, or even the way in which we are greeted when we enter into a physical or digital space —it’s within these nuances that we see the hallmarks of digital brands beginning to emerge. It is here, within those intentional moments of engagement through movement, sound, touch, and proximity, that we begin to see the subtle nods of a brand’s personality develop. These are the moments where brands emotionally connect with the world and have the ability to elicit desired actions and garner loyalty to their story.

Mature digital brands do not regard well-crafted experiences as project-based work, but rather a product of the culture they serve.

Mature digital brands have three main characteristics:

  1. They are experiential by nature: Mature digital brands live with the mantra that great experiences as well as great brands have the ability to change the way people view and interact with their world. They are intimately aware of how and why people choose to engage and understand the importance of creating relevant, intelligent, engaging touch points throughout a user’s journey.
  2. They understand that culture is their catalyst: Mature digital brands understand internal as well as external influencers on their brand. No longer does Marketing own the brand, rather it’s owned by everyone, including the culture they set out to serve. The cultural catalyst of one’s brand starts with internal adoption first. It’s much easier to sell an idea, a product, a story, to the world when the people building it truly believe in what they’re doing. The fastest way for a brand to fail is having internal people chasing money instead of chasing a dream that what you’re doing truly matters and will make an impact on the lives of those you serve.
  3. They have an intimate understanding of their brands characteristics: Related to their brand, mature organizations begin by asking two questions: ‘What is it?’ and ‘What is it like?’. These are the unique characteristics of an organization, their products, and services. Personality in the digital space then equates to how their products behave, feel, and respond to a user’s need within the appropriate context. You can look at personality this way: How would you describe a person if you just met them on the street? Are they loud or soft spoken? Do they walk fast or take their time? Are they more hipster or teenybopper? In turn, when you engage with a product or a service: Is it fun, edgy, mysterious, complex or even moody? When a brand can answer trait-identified questions, those characteristics are/should be infused within their products and services.

Common Pitfalls

Even with the best of intentions, mature digital brands can fall short and run into problems with their brand if they’re not careful.

Here are several common pitfalls to consider with your brand or the brand of a product you’re developing:

  • Thinking that ‘brand’ is synonymous with ‘logo’: Today, logos, like Google, morph and change regularly. In doing so, this tells a bit about the personality of the brand. However, their brand is not their logo mark. The daily switching of the Google logo is part of the brand personality, which is fun and inventive. Brand is embodied in your people, delivered within personality of the products, digital or physical, that you build and deliver. It is through sound, movement, color, and proximity that those very products enable, engage, inspire, and elicit action within the communities you seek to serve.
  • Not fully understanding the needs and desires of your audience: Most well intentioned brands that fail, do so based on the fact that they have a great idea, yet never seek to get valid feedback from those they choose to pursue.
  • Inconsistent across multiple platforms: This is the brand killer in today’s landscape. ‘Digital’ is not a single-threaded experience relegated to one device, one platform, or one journey. Digital experiences live across an ever-increasing landscape of devices and touchpoints, both digital and physical. From in-car displays, to watch faces, to tablet devices, to predictive systems, and in-home, in-business, in-context automation systems. When these experiences are inconsistent from one touch point to another, loyalty of brand and adoption of your products and services will become much harder to find and almost impossible to keep.
  • Creating generic products instead of personalized experiences: The expectation that users have is that the experiences they bump up against or they choose to engage with will inherently come with certain levels of personalization that will fit their individual needs. When companies deliver generic products instead of personalized experiences, they are much less likely to share it within their respective networks. What they will do instead is tell people not to use it, buy it, or keep it. Creating personalized experiences inspires loyalty and adoption.

Tools

There are multiple tools and/or methodologies leveraged during the Brand process; below are some of the standard tools we utilize:

  • Industry research
  • Competitive analysis
  • Segmentation audit
  • User studies
  • Market interviews
  • Interaction studies
  • Animation studies
  • Sound studies
  • ‘Brand Man’ exercise (characteristics study)