The Essentials of 360° Branding

At MSLK, we examine all facets of a brand when forming an overall strategy. Whether a brand needs to be built from top tobottom or reinvigorated through an individual marketing campaign or brand extension, it is important to implement a consistent message and visual theme across every touch-point. This is vital towards building brand recognition and overall brand equity.

After all, consumers are quite busy, which means you have limited time to engage with them effectively. Whether it’s your identity, packaging, website, store experience, mobile application, or social media campaign, every facet should reinforce why customers should choose you. We call this total implementation of a single theme, 360° branding. Read more to get a comprehensive tour of all the major media and learn how each should reflect your company message.

Visual Identity
A visual identity or logo is the single defining image of an organization that you see on every piece of branded material. Your logo is one of your most important assets. It needs to capture the spirit of your brand and be highly adaptable. It is the cornerstone of your new brand. You can learn more about our thoughts on Designing Logos and when to use a Wordmark vs. a Symbol here.

Tagline, Campaign Message, Tone of Voice

Before setting out to design, it is important to establish a consistent message. What is the one thing you want to tell consumers about your brand or this campaign? This will be infused into everything that you do.

In addition, it’s important to establish a tone for your content. Consider the manner in which you want to speak to customers. Are you formal, laid back, friendly? Do you need to use insider language for your customer to know you mean business and communicate that you really know them?


Online Presence

In many cases, your online presence is the single most important touch-point of your brand. Occasionally, it is an organization’s only existing marketing tool. It is imperative that your site is easy to navigate, keeps consumers interested, and works with social media to build an online community.

Unless you run your own brick & mortar retail store, a website is your virtual storefront to the world. Consider this as you plan how much to invest in your online marketing. We believe a good rule of thumb for an e-commerce business is to consider how money might be spent on leasing a store front of comparable size for a year.


Social Media Plan
Working in tandem with your online presence, is a social media plan. How will you harness the power of facebook, twitter, and blogs to maximize your marketing efforts? It is critical to create a content plan and ideas for campaigns throughout the business cycle to ensure that customers remain excited about your brand. Once they’ve liked, shared, and tweeted content from your website and blog, all of their friends and followers will see it too, further widening your audience and reach.


Packaging & POP’s

If you’re an apparel or beauty brand, great packaging is essential to compete in the retail space — one of your hardest working marketing tools. Everything you want to say about your brand and your product must be communicated on that tiny package face. At the same time you do not want to overwhelm customers with information. Overall mood, image, and graphics, must do the heavy lifting. Every element on a package face must be relevant and working towards the larger cause.

We analyze shelf sets to make sure you stand out and grab consumers’ attention while clearly conveying your product differentiation.

If your retail space is highly competitive, you may want to enlist in the aid of point-of-purchase material to further convey some of your key benefits and features. Some retailers clamor for intro POPs, product glorifiers, header cards, and shelf talkers to help them move product.


Signage and Retail Experience
When crafting overall retail experiences, it is critical to establish zones and use wayfinding signage to guide visitors towards what they need. Key displays and merchandising can help create consumer demand. In addition, certain tools such as testing stations, resting areas, and carts can encourage visitors to feel comfortable and spend more time in your store. If you are lucky enough to have a proprietary retail space to showcase your brand point-of-view you want to be certain that the experience reflects your overall brand vision.


Sales Materials

Even in today’s virtual world there’s still a place for printed materials. In fact, rather than seeing print as dead we see the opportunity and importance of these leave behinds and keepsakes for your brand to be even stronger. Effective printed sales materials clearly educate retailers, sales reps, share holders and/or consumers about your product or service offering. They can navigate through the information at their leisure and reference it again later. It’s important to create materials your audience will hold onto. We like it to see it on their desk or on their book shelves so that it’s there when they are ready.


Promotions and Giveaways

Further more, great promotions are essential to keep consumers excited about your brand. Certainly you want to create giveaways that consumers hold onto but rather than focus on items that have a meaningless connection to your brand, promotions that support your campaign and are tied to your messaging are always best.


Mobile Apps

With people spending more time than ever on their smart phones, apps are a great way to interact with consumers. From shopping aids to games, there are many ways you can use an app to speak to consumers on new levels. The important thing again is to reinforce your brand messaging and try to create something that is either useful or incredibly entertaining to keep them coming back.