Brand: “a person’s gut feeling about your organisation, service or product”.

Is your messaging coherent? It sounds an odd question, but probably the most vital one of all to be asking.
When they launch, most businesses and charities don’t have a complete branding package in place. As the organisation naturally evolves and takes shape, so does the message and the creative design – the two core influencers in establishing your brand.

It takes a while to find your feet and your voice and as the business grows, so does the overall message that you want to communicate to exisiting clients and prospects alike. But there comes a point in any burgeoning business that you realise that the creative, the message and marketing have all evolved separate lives and no longer really fit together. Nothing seems to make overall sense, leaving the clients unsure of what it is you stand for anymore. And that harms the brand.

To give a personal example, when I launched Audacious I devised a simple set of creative that I knew would see me through the first year or so, but I alwayd knew it was placeholder for what was to come. But I let things slip and realised that I was using a different green on my print to my website and the wording I was using was inconsistent. My business cards were black but my website was white.

It was time to take a long hard look at everything and come up with a coherent message that was communicated visually and in the spoken and written word. It was a message that reflected who I was and the passion and vision I have for my company. The message needed to be understandable to me, my clients and my prospects and it needed to connect across all channels: my print work, the website, my social media, the blogs, my BNI 60 seconds and every piece of digital, print and verbal marketing that I do.

So here are the 3 elements in establishing a coherent approach to influencing your brand:

1. Is your message understandable??
Don’t use jargon or blind people with science or the language of your industry unless you are communicating to people who understand what you mean. Tailor the words you use to the audience you are communicating to. What is your core message? Highlight and promote that across all platforms and people will know what you do and what you stand for. Which leads me nicely on to…

2. Does your creative design make sense??
The point of all core creative (font, palette, icon etc) is to highlight the personality and values of the organisation. Does yours reflect who you are and what you stand for? Can people look at your website, Twitter icon, logo, Facebook timeline, email signature and favicon and get a sense of you and the values that drive you and the organisation.

3. Do all your communication streams feel connected??
This is a biggie and we’ll look at this in more depth next week when talking about Consistency, but there has to be a flow, a connection between all of your communication channels. Some organisations do this visually whilst others do it through certain words or tones of voice.

If you can begin to get these simple elements in place, you will be in a much stronger position to influence your brand in the way you want to. And that can only be a good thing!