Strategy plays a vital role in identity design. Business strategy, marketing strategy, and communications strategy not only direct identity work, they often inspire it.
The Signs of Promise
A great logo embodies the spirit of the strategic brand promise. The type of business or name can be helpful threads to follow as identity designers work to express what makes the company unique.
Good graphic identities, like good strategies, stand the test of time. A company that changes its logo frequently reflects a lack of commitment in the boardroom. Firms that understand the value in building brand equity, starting with a logo, recognize their graphic identity as a strategic choice and an important investment.
Marketing and communications strategies inform the tactics that make up most identity programs. A deep understanding of audience needs and goals is the basis for this work.
As designers develop program components, the right mix of media, products, services, and information works together to meet the needs of this audience and help them achieve their goals. Immersing the audience in an identity program requires sound planning and perseverance.
Too often, organizations see positioning as a linguistic exercise. But the perfectly worded positioning statement should not become a pursuit on par with the quest for the Holy Grail. Developing positioning and writing a mission statement are two different exercises. While spending time carefully crafting the appropriate mission statement is well worth doing, it should be done later.
Positioning—whether it’s for products or companies—is a strategic exercise. Useful models developed by the Harvard Business School, Kellogg School of Management, and other credible sources are readily available. These simple templates demystify the strategic positioning exercise.
Positioning is all about making tough choices. Being all things to all people is not a strategic position. Something’s got to go. An effective brand identity requires clearly identifying whom the target audience is for the brand, what the brand’s primary differentiator is, and how that claim is justified.