At the beginning of the brand development process, we are often asked, “How will we know this brand is successful?” The expectation is data and metrics that justify the time, effort, and money spent on brand building to demonstrate a return on investment. The short answer is “You can’t measure that until you begin using it.” We call this Brand Implementation.
What is Brand Implementation?
Brand implementation is just what it sounds like: how your place’s brand is represented through its various channels and touchpoints. That can mean social media, community events, emails, websites, newsletters — even the signs that guide you through your community. Deciding how you implement your brand requires a plan.
Creating your Brand Implementation Plan
We have identified four essential pillars of brand implementation for communities and place-based organizations: identity, communication, storytelling, and experience. Each area works together, plays off each other, and directly reflects your brand in action.
Most folks understand this when thinking about branding – your logo and associated visual elements. Where does the brand identity show up?
- Social media posts
- Community event marketing
- Communication materials
- Email communication
- Signage, banners, and flags
Communication is one of your most crucial brand delivery systems. When paired with identity and true to your strategy, your communications will look smart, sound professional, and meet your audiences where they are. Your Brand is represented in communication through:
- Website user experience and messaging
- Social media voice and tone
- Newsletters and email communications
- Press releases
- Speeches and presentations
Your place has distinct advantages over other places. Brand Story will help you take the things that resonated with audiences and find new ways to turn them into targeted key messages and engaging stories. You can find Brand Story in:
- State of the City Addresses
- Promotional videos
- Social media campaigns
- Newspaper or magazine articles
- Economic/Community Development presentations
- New project/initiative announcements
Brand experience is the culmination of how people interact with your place. All these pillars have a role in the brand experience. We have a philosophy we call the Engagement Loop. It helps catalog the touchpoints and interactions that people have with your place – as they learn about your place, visit your place, or choose to be a continuous participant in your place. How you deliver each moment affects how people feel, perceive, and remember their experiences. Brand can be found through experience in:
- Community events
- Board/Council meetings
- Interactions with staff
- User-friendly website
If building a solid brand is the destination, brand implementation is the map AND the road trip we take to get there. It will enable you to identify resources (human and financial) that will be responsible for each piece, and organize and prioritize the order in which you need to work — giving you direction on how to launch, roll out, and essentially begin to bring your brand to life.