In today’s competitive, fast-paced business world, companies across virtually every industry must understand the importance of effective branding.
Seemingly every market is saturated with competition, meaning it’s more important than ever for your brand to stand out from the crowd. However, it’s much easier said than done to develop an effective, unified branding strategy. While it might seem daunting, creating a unified brand can be a major boon to your organization.
If you believe your business can benefit from unifying its branding efforts, continue reading to learn more about this type of branding and how to get started.
In simple terms, unified branding is a marketing approach that prioritizes a single message to create a simple and consistent customer experience. As its name suggests, a unified branding strategy aligns all of your organization’s branding efforts to achieve uniformity.
Unified branding leverages all available marketing channels to communicate with existing and potential customers. For example, modern businesses use these 10 popular marketing channels to support their unified branding efforts:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Content marketing
- Social media marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Word of mouth (WOM) marketing
- Email marketing
- Online advertising
- Offline advertising
- Community building
- Partnership marketing
A single branding message allows your customers to easily recognize and remember your products and/or services. Additionally, a unified branding strategy keeps costs down without sacrificing your company’s marketing success.
Here are some well-known companies that demonstrate a successful unified branding strategy:
Imagine you’re driving around town when you see two big, golden arches. You automatically know that a McDonald’s is nearby, right? The company worked hard over the years, specifically in brand identity and recognition, to make it the household name it is today.
Coffee lovers rejoice, because Starbucks is another unified brand we’ve all come to know and love. The green Siren, according to the company, is its “muse” and serves as the face of the brand.
Nike has two critical brand attributes that create a unified branding experience: “Just do it” and the famous, distinct “swoosh” logo. Nike focuses heavily on emotional storytelling in its branding efforts. Nike highlights the trials and tribulations athletes face, something anyone can relate to.
Last but not least, Apple is one of the Four Big Tech Giants, along with Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet (Google’s parent company). The iconic apple with a missing bite is considered the world’s most recognizable brand, with a value of a staggering $323 billion. Here’s a fun fact: the “stem” in Apple’s logo perfectly fits the size of the “bite” in the apple.
If you want your company to benefit from unified branding, consider following these steps below.
The first step to take is creating a single brand message for your company. Answer important questions to help you come up with a unified brand idea:
- What is your company mission?
- What problem are you trying to solve for customers?
- What story do you want to tell your audience?
- What approach will work best for us, formal or fun?
You can also take your company’s history, reliability, customer testimonials, customer service and the quality of your products and/or services into account when developing a unified brand idea.
After determining a single brand idea, now is time to make design decisions about your company’s logo, color schemes, graphics, slogan and online presence. All of these elements play a crucial role in branding, and all of them should align with your unified brand idea. The stylistic choices in this step should match the character of your organization or products.
Unique brands capture the audience’s attention by developing high-quality branding elements. For example, it’s very common for companies to use color psychology research to help them choose their brand’s color scheme. Different colors provoke different emotions, which brands can use to their advantage.
Your brand has to be unique, especially if your industry is overcrowded. Determine what characteristics make your brand unique, or how your products or services offer different benefits or outcomes for potential customers.
This is what’s known as your company’s unique selling point/proposition (USP). Your USP should also align with your brand idea to create a unified brand across all of your marketing channels.
Below are four key elements that contribute to a successful unified branding strategy:
All of these aspects of branding must be taken into account as you unify your branding efforts. If you use these four components as the foundation for your brand, you’ll have no problem achieving brand unification.
While every individual branding effort positively contributes to the overall perception of your company, the ultimate goal is to create a unified branding strategy. Unified branding will help create positive interactions between your brand and customer base, in addition to potential customers. Follow these tips above to develop an effective unified branding strategy.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.