Staying Top of Mind in an Economic Downturn

Why It’s Time to Get Your Brand House in Order

An authentic brand identity is a rock solid foundation that can sustain a company through tough times.

Very few businesses are thriving in the midst of this global pandemic. It goes without saying, that budget cuts are crucial to survival. Media buy scale backs are grinding awareness to a halt. That means companies with strong, standout brands will be in the best position when the economy ramps back up. Smart businesses are using their time wisely and investing in a tidying up their brand or overhauling it altogether. By investing in the right brand image, companies are able to position themselves as industry leaders and optimize their competitive advantage. When the crisis smoke clears, more market share will be up for grabs, and well-positioned brands will have a better opportunity to compete on a national level. We witnessed this during the Great Recession. Companies with the forethought to invest in their brand in 2008 and 2009 recovered more quickly in the aftermath of the downturn. Take advantage of these slow times to reflect on your mission, revisit your value proposition and strategically rethink your image. If your current brand doesn’t align with your forward-facing goals, now is the time to get your brand house in order and prepare for the recovery ahead. Businesses need to stand up in the face of this crisis if they want to emerge stronger with a steadfast and enduring brand. At the end of the day, your brand is the connection point between your company and your consumers. Gaining a competitive edge now can help accelerate and sustain your company’s growth for decades to come.

Start by strengthening the most pivotal pillars of your brand — messaging, visual identity and experience. 

Pillar One

Brand Positioning & Messaging

Develop an unshakable brand position that clearly defines your mission and purpose. 

How businesses connect and communicate with their audiences is essential to their recovery and relevance in the post-pandemic world. Brand positioning helps define where your company fits in the marketplace. This is how organizations find their voice and articulate their purpose. Carefully calibrated messaging can put businesses at the forefront of their industries. Authenticity is key here. The overarching narrative must be a true and transparent reflection of your company. It is important to establish an approachable and credible tone that is ownable. Clear, concise and straightforward communication is always the most impactful. By refreshing messaging, you can raise awareness, appeal to new audiences and strengthen ties with existing customers. Simple, memorable messaging never fails to inspire and ignite change. An empowering brand position can propel expansive growth and momentum for organizations.

Pillar Two

Brand Identity

Establish a cohesive, well-constructed brand identity symbol to visually represent the strengths of your company. 

Identity is an intrinsic part of both company culture and public perception. There is perhaps nothing more important or influential than how an organization chooses to present itself to the world. Visual identities help solidify the reputation of high performing companies as the most iconic, industry leading brands people love. A well-designed logo symbols forge an instant connection and foster a deep sense of loyalty. Logo symbols should have meaning and create favor in the marketplace. The current economic climate has presented a unique opportunity for out-of-date brands to modernize their image while furthering their mission. As the world continues to adapt to a new reality, it is essential for brands to do the same. This is the perfect season for organizations to consider a visual refresh. The strategic effort could be as small as streamlining the original typeface and evolving the logo or as big as rebranding and replacing the old identity system altogether. Whether refreshing or reinventing, the outcome should be an original and ownable solution. The most recognizable trademarks are concept driven, and the design is timeless. Ideas are distilled down into the most basic form to create simple, memorable icons. Great design relies on subtly and nuances to send a consistent and coherent message. Cohesive visual languages help unify one’s image and improve public perception. Strong brand identities can provide a powerful blueprint for success.

Pillar Three

Brand Experience

Build on the foundational elements of your brand identity to create touchpoints that engage and excite audiences. 

Brand experience describes all of the ways that companies interact with their customers. The most successful organizations align their culture and their operations to create a unified experience across all touchpoints. Comprehensive branding allows companies to seamlessly integrate their purpose and personality with their offering. Every brand extension, from sales materials and videos to websites and mobile apps, helps shape a harmonious customer journey. Now more than ever, it is crucial for brands to engage the public to stay top of mind. If you have already established a solid brand identity framework, this is a prime opportunity to expand your influence in the industry with systematic brand extensions. A new branding initiative could involve anything from refreshing sales materials to completing a website redesign. Most often, the logical first step is to identify the weakest customer touchpoint and work on building a better brand experience from there. If your presentation system or RFP template is outdated, for example, consider modernizing it with cutting edge designs that set you apart. Every customer connection point is an opportunity to differentiate yourself. People should enjoy participating and engaging with your brand — and that only happens when you contribute something of lasting value to their lives. Great design has the power to change the trajectory of organizations. Through strengthening the brand experience, companies can transform the future of their business and the culture of their industry. As the economy finds its footing, take the opportunity to get step ahead and be well-positioned for the comeback. 

Here’s How To Get Started:

• Objectively evaluate the effectiveness of your current brand
• Study brands of your competitors to see how yours stands up
• Identify brands, inside and outside your industry, and note what you like and dislike.
• Establish goals and identify your needs.
• Set a realistic budget. Save time and money by doing it right the first time. 

What To Look for In A Branding Partner:

• Remember branding design is not decoration, it is strategy. Spend your investment wisely with a qualified firm. 
• Search for an experienced branding firm with a robust portfolio of nationally recognized work. 
• Study their work, and make sure each project is comprehensive, cohesive and delivers at every brand touchpoint. 
• Pay attention to your emotional response to the work. This is a good indicator of your future satisfaction. 
• Evaluate each firm’s ability to solve business problems with creative solutions.
• If a firm defines a “brand” as a logo, look elsewhere. A brand is so much more.
• Look for specialization and expertise. Web design, PR and digital agencies are not branding firms. Neither are sign shops.