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When do you need a brand identity expert?

It's been speculated that the average American encounters approximately 6,000 pieces of marketing in a day. It's safe to say that marketing has become deeply engrained in our society. But have you ever stopped to think about the science behind these marketing messages? Unless marketing is part of what you do for a living, like me, chances are you haven't given it much thought. But you can bet that smart companies have thought about it. They spend millions each year on professional creatives that research and create marketing campaigns that build customer recognition and generate demand for their brands. Let's talk a little about why these companies place such high emphasis on creative professionals that can shape public opinion towards their brand.

We're Getting Close

Think Tank's new identity should be launching in the next couple weeks. We've spent a good part of the last two weeks adding projects to our new portfolio, scrambling for final bits of text, migrating blog posts and completing final testing.

We have a new found respect for our web clients. Let's just say that we feel their pain. We put ourselves in their shoes and experienced our service from the clients point of view. It keeps you on your toes. It allows you to empathize with clients and anticipate potential problems. It's one thing to say, "Send over you content and we will add it." It's another thing entirely to have to create that content. And we do this for a living. Content creation always takes much more time than coding the site itself. Successful websites are driven by quality content. If you don't have that, you've got nothing.

How Identity Works

Vision plays an important role in all of our lives. And repeated exposure to a strong visual identity can help consumers make an association and perception about a company, their services or products and their values. Even more effective connections are made through repeated exposure to specific colors and symbols. If we take a moment to reflect on some of the most successful brands we think of companies like Apple, Nike, Target, and McDonald's.

So strong are these company's symbols that many of them are able to drop company name from their logo on advertising. Opting to rely instead on the power of their symbol for consumer brand recognition. Other companies such as UPS, have gone even farther, associating themselves with just a color. When you think of the power of "brown" you think UPS.

Designers who work with identity are adept at managing perception through a combination of color, meaning and form. These skills, along with a strong understanding of how people take in and remember information are vital for creators of brand identity. It has everything to do with perception. Perception deals with how people identify and interpret the information presented to them.

Why is branding and identity so important?

The term "brand" is often thrown around but does anyone really know what it means when they use it? Alina Wheeler in Designing Brand Identity describes a brand as "...the promise, the big idea, and the expectations that reside in each customer's mind about a product, service or company."

For many years now, companies and communities have used branding and identity to present a positive and consistent public image, while demonstrating their corporate values and ideals. It doesn't stop there though. People have always used symbols to show their individuality, declare their affiliations and to demonstrate their pride. Many personalities have even turned themselves into brands.

So with this in mind, it's not very difficult to understand how these symbols can trigger very real human emotions like nostalgia, happiness and worry (to name just a few). From a marketers perspective, it's always been about how to leverage this knowledge.

Anatomy of A Rebrand

Anatomy of A RebrandEarlier this year Robin and I began to wonder if the time hadn't come for a new identity. Although our current identity served us well for over 12 years we both felt that we had clearly evolved past it. We came to the conclusion that it no longer represented who we are now and what we want to do.

Along with this realization came questions of positioning and where we want to be long term. Questions about which types of clients we want to work with, what type of projects we enjoy working on, what industries we'd like to serve and how much we charge for those projects.

Let me just say that we have spent most of this year working towards our new positioning. Now we have arrived at the final stages... the actual redesign of our identity.

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