What Creatives Need To Know To Communicate Your Brand Consistently
Put all of these things in place and communicating your brand gets a whole lot easier.
The perfect brief is the Loch Ness monster of the creative world. Some claim to have seen it, some are still looking for it and some sell their house and live next to the Loch for over 25 years to catch a glimpse of this majestic creature - like this guy, Steve.
Anyway, what we're trying to say is, the perfect brief isn't perhaps as tangible as everyone would like. Why? Because people are totally different and what might be the perfect brief for one person, could be pretty far from perfect for someone else (no winning with these creative types, is there?)
However, there are certain things that you can put in place that make the job of creating any form of asset for your brand mahooosively easier for the people - whether designer, copywriter, developer etc - who work on it. The means less time going back and forth with revisions and best of all, a brand that looks and feels consistent across everything you do and everywhere you are. So what are these things exactly?
Knowing Your Brand Getting that gut feeling about an idea only happens when creatives know your brand. But in order for them to know your brand, they need to learn about it from someone who really knows your brand (that's where you come in).
Usually, this knowledge sits within your brand foundations and guidelines, which hold the stuff that really helps creatives do their thing, such as brand personality, values, tone of voice and visual identity.
We better break it down, Oo, oo. Oo, oo (c'mon, you know the song!)
Brand personality helps to guide the creatives in terms of how the brand might act, what activity would actually suit and fit in with the brand? For example, if considering an experimental piece of marketing activity, does that fit naturally with the brand? You can't imagine an insurance brand hiring a helicopter to throw toy cats out of, a la Brewdog but that activity fits the Brewdog brand personality (in saying that, insurance brands, if you fancy doing that sort of thing, you do you!)
What brand personality involves: Thinking of your brand as a person and giving it identifiable personality traits. Is it playful? Is it professional? Does it sit somewhere on that scale? That's where brand personality comes in.
Brand values again reflect in the behaviour of (you guessed it) your brand, it gives a moral compass to base work on. If a brand believes in pushing boundaries, then work that might be more edgy could be appropriate. Similarly, a brand that values something like being humble isn't going to be shouting from the rooftops.
What brand values involve: Again, just a like a person has values, a brand has values. Think about what's really important to the core of your business and the people within it. These become your brand values.
Tone of voice only impacts copywriters, right? Wrong. While from a practical implementation point of view, yes the copywriter does own this. But, designers have to make sure whatever visuals they are creating work alongside the tone of voice of any copy. If the visuals and copy seem out of sync, then there is un big problemo — there's no consistency, but there needs to be.
What tone of voice involves: See those personality traits you absolutely smashed (we knew you would) - how do those traits sound? If your brand's personality trait is 'caring' - how does that come across in language? Think of key words (and scales) that would really help a writer to get into that voice and write as your brand.
Visual identity is similar, everyone needs to know it even if the designers are the ones making it happen. If the visual style is big, bold, brash and the accompanying copy is milder than a korma, is it going to convey the brand personality correctly? Which aspect (bold versus korma) is right for the brand?
What visual identity involves: It's more than just a logo. Think colour palette, patterns, fonts, icons, photography treatment - you name it. All of these elements help designers to flex their creative muscles for your brand and for everyone else to really get a feel for it.
Knowing your brand to this level and developing your brand foundations and guidelines creates a ripple effect across everything. It's an anchor for every single creative output of your brand and stops a lot of unnecessary meetings about meetings from happening (they're never fun, even with biscuits).
Your Briefs Should Be Full (Ahem)
Firstly, and not everyone does this, it's really rather handy if the people working on the creative outputs understand the brief. And by this, we don't just mean the assets needed, we mean where the brief has 'come from' — the problem it's looking to solve, where this has come from, how it fits in with the brand, is it part of a wider strategy and what is the creative ultimately trying to do?
This is typically the type of information an account manager or marketing manager will know but it is information that should be shared. While it may not directly influence the work being done, it helps the creatives themselves to understand where their work sits. And this knowledge can help them get to know the brand/client better, helps them to buy into the work and the strategy, it can even prompt them to play a larger role in this strategy.
In other words, no information is too much information. If you were watching Blue Planet and the way the penguins work together to live a long and happy life in Antarctica inspired to think more about your company culture, tell us! Seriously, this sort of thing really helps to get our creative gears going.
For those leading the briefing, be it an internal account manager or external marketing manager if an agency is being used, communication is key. The success of any resulting work hinges on the information that is provided. Ultimately, everything combines together to form one big cohesive brand. Or it should. And it can only do this if everyone is aware of all the 'parts'. By including all of these parts, you make creating anything your brand a success, which in turn helps to make your brand a success. It's the circle of life, if you really think about it.