Importance of brand identity and consistency
brand identity reflecting the story of a brand
To help us understand the importance of brand identity and visual communication better. Also, explain why the organisational image has to be consistent with the organisation’s values and behaviours, please read the following stories and participate.
Imagine an Educated Environmentalist who has been protecting the natural heritage for 25 years, at the same time highlighting our dependency on it. Organising community events and rallies, publishing articles and papers. Also, lobbying government while encouraging people to change their consumerist habits.
Now the person is standing opposite you.
What does the person look, what does this person wear and in which colours, fabrics and labels? What are their most used words and phrases expressed with importance? Does the person have any evidence to support their claims, values and beliefs? What hobbies and interests do they pursue?
Think about it for a while. Use your imagination and create or draw the person.
You might have a picture of the environmentalist right now. Let’s call it simply an image. The image is a brand identity (tangible) in design jargon—the one you can see and hear.
opposite brand story
Keep the Educated Environmentalist at the back of your mind and now imagine a Corporate Capitalist of a similar age. The capitalist has been accumulating profit by exploiting cheap labour and natural resources. All this in developing and developed countries while enjoying a lavish high-status lifestyle.
Describe the face of the person? And the clothes they wear – which colours, fabrics and labels? Are there particular words the person utters again and again? Does the person have anything to indicate their inclinations and past achievements? Any hobbies and interests?
There s/he is.
Do you see the difference between the educated environmentalist and the lavish capitalist?
Do you see the difference between their visual, verbal and behavioural presentation?
Organisations and businesses are using the same presentation tools to create an impression.
By now, you may have a better understanding of the importance of brand identity.
You might also see how the image we portray to others creates and maintains a perception about us, how our brand (what people think about us) enhance, or not, our relationships with others.
The visual appearance, words, behaviours and records of us are creating a brand perception, or opinion if you like.
misaligned brand identity
What happens if brand identity is not consistent with an organisation’s values, intentions and behaviours?
Keep the image of the Educated Environmentalist, you’ve just created. Assign to her/him the behaviours and values of the Corporate Capitalist.
How would it feel if you see a bookish person wearing a green eco t-shirt, yet, blowing smoke of an expensive Cubanas cigar into your face? Saying that our planet is in an ecological crisis, then having to cut the story short to drive to a grouse shooting competition with hers/his gun?
Would you trust the Educated Environmentalist and still want to connect?
The example played with stereotypes to help us understand it quickly.
However, if an organisation is applying for a grant, or bidding for a commission or trying to get a prospective customer/beneficiary involved, and its brand identity is not consistent with its values, intentions and behaviours, the chances are running low.
In some cases, even slight visual and contextual inconsistencies, picked up unconsciously, might affect the outcome.
It’s important to realise that customers, collaborators and prospective funders (especially in the fast-moving world) will form an opinion about your brand in seconds based on their senses.
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