Branding with purpose

The power of a brand is in telling the story of what your company stands for. It’s one thing to know what your company sells, it’s another to know its mission.

“Businesses are brands, and brands are businesses.” I’m sure you’ve heard this idea in some form or another before. And it’s true, but as all things in the world right now, this is changing.

Patrick Hanlon, writing for Forbes, argues that “Brands are no longer products or services, but the communities of people that surround those products and services. Today “Brands” are social and participatory, created not by companies but by consumers.”

So, how do you control something that is built by your customers? Focus on what you can control.

  1. Focus on your mission
    Today, branding isn’t just about finding “the look” that breaks through all the noise, it’s about meaning—building a company, and a brand, around a purpose. The power of a brand is in telling the story of what your company stands for. It’s one thing to know what your company sells, it’s another to know its mission. A brand’s mission is what differentiates it. Whether that mission is “empowering communicators,” or “saving the planet,” keeping it at the forefront of all marketing and sales efforts makes it clear to consumers just who you are.
  2. Stay consistent
    One of the easiest, but most overlooked, methods of building your brand is to simply stick to your brand. Respecting brand rules around fonts, colors, imagery, voice, etc. will strengthen recognition amongst consumers. The more recognizable a brand, the more connected a consumer will feel.
  3. Know when to flex
    A good brand should flex and grow with a company. If your story changes, your brand may need to change too. It may be as simple as an evolution of a logo, or more complex to include variations in messaging and mission. Sometimes companies grow in surprising ways, but being transparent with consumers and purpose-driven in your communications will protect your brand even as it grows.

Once you’ve identified your purpose, it becomes easier to sift through all the options and decisions around creating branded materials. Colors, fonts, and messaging are decisions you need make only once. Maintaining a curated library of assets and materials that are on-brand simplifies simplifies the process further still by making it easy for content creators to choose appropriate assets. Creating reusable templates around these principles makes your marketing more intentional and in sync, and lets you focus on growing your communities instead.

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Author: Stephanie Beighley
Stephanie Beighley, Creative Director for Inkbench, has been defining and developing brand experiences for both clients and agencies throughout her two-decade career. Her creative aesthetic and communication style are heavily influenced by her experience in front-end development and UI/UX design. Prior to joining the Inkbench team, Stephanie was an Inkbench power-user, and brings her skills and experience to helping subscribers with everything from implementation to design direction, as well as being actively involved in crafting the overall user experience.
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