Back in the day, building a brand was really important. Selecting your logo, choosing a tag line or catch phrase – these were the only things that people would see on your sign outside of your shop to entice them in to shop with your brand. Making sure that all the messaging fit what you were selling and who you were selling it to was paramount. If your branding wasn’t cohesive, nobody would know what/who you were!
Moving through the years as new media emerged, new ways to utilize it came, too. Radio, TV, billboards all became places that businesses could advertise. Brands had to stay consistent, though, so consumers could recognize them from location to location.
As we move into a digital age, it gets easier to lose sight of the fact that you still need to build a brand identity. Even though your presence may be entirely online, there are still different places that people can find you on the web. Your twitter must match your facebook must match your website must match your youtube, and on and on it goes. You want to make sure that anyone who visits any one of your networks gets an immediate impression of who you are, what you do and how you do it.
Picture CVS. You see the giant red letters spelling out CVS or maybe CVS/pharmacy. You walk in. The arrows on the ground lead you back to the pharmacy. The aisles are arranged starting with makeup by the door and moving on down through hair care, house wares, seasonal items, greeting cards, candy… Every CVS you enter is basically the same at heart. So whether you are at “your” CVS, or a CVS 500 miles from your regular spot, you will know what you can find, where you can find it, and probably about how much it costs. That’s because their consistent branding and store layout makes each one easily recognizable and navigable.
When Yahoo! recently unveiled a new logo the internet went nuts over it. Some lauded the site for releasing 30 days of 30 logos before announcing the official new logo. Some criticized it for having inconsistent messaging and looks. No matter what side of the debate you are on (personally, I think it’s amazing that they had 30 logos for 30 days – but it still doesn’t help me know what “Yahoo!” is as a brand – news? email? entertainment? what ARE you?! [that, plus I don’t love the new font]) it’s clear to see that a new logo will not solve an identity crisis. New logos are great and invigorating – as long as they still reflect the brand and personality underneath.
You want your audience to understand fully who you are and what you represent. By having a solid brand identity, you will prevent your audience from becoming confused and will ultimately build trust. Keep your cover images, profile pictures, voice, and tone similar and you will be building a great brand identity. If you ever wonder if what you’re doing is adhering to the brand identity you’ve established, look at the content. Does it reflect your beliefs? Does it make sense to your audience? Is this something that people will see and say, “Yep! That sounds like them, alright!” If you answered yes, you’re doing it right. If not, go back to the drawing board and see what you can come up with that reflects who you are as a brand.