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Tips for Creating an Effective Brand

When you think of today’s top brands, which ones come to mind first? Maybe you think of Apple and its reputation for leading the world in innovative technology and beautifully designed products or Nike for inspiring and clothing today’s top athletes.

Developing your brand is the single most important asset to an organization. “Brand is not just the tactile service your company is offering, it’s way more than that. It’s essentially your image,” said Nikhil Deshpande, Director of GeorgiaGov Interactive. And branding isn’t just for products or consumer companies; government agencies are hoping on the bandwagon and developing their own brands too.

So what’s your agency’s brand?

In GovLoop’s recent online training, Meeting the Demand: How Government can Improve Citizen Engagement through Digital Branding, topic experts including Deshpande, Ted Ross, CIO of the City of Los Angeles, and Dan Katz, Technical Director of Acquia, discussed how digital branding is improving citizen engagement.

The Digital Engagement Trends Report for 2015 reported that 46 percent of 600+ government organizations are looking to increase citizen engagement through their digital communications. But what agencies don’t realize is that they can’t improve digital engagement for their citizens without creating their own digital brand first.

Tips for creating your own brand:

  1. Understand the brand. Before you define your brand, you need to understand what a brand is and what it isn’t. A brand is NOT just the seal or logo, a welcome message, mission statement, or the website, explained Deshpande. The brand has to be cohesive – something that’s an aggregate of all these elements. A brand encompasses the name, term, design, symbol, content, and features that make an organization unique.

To develop the elements of your brand you need to know your agency’s voice. What is your mission or service you are providing?

  1. Discover your audience. Branding is all about the perception of the public. Before you can capture an audience, you need to understand who your audience is. The service your agency provides will determine who your audience is. Narrowing down your audience base will help you create your communication process throughout your entire landscape. You can also use customer experience feedback to help you improve your service, and subsequently improve your brand.
  1. Be consistent. Establishing a consistent brand for your agency builds trust between you and your customer. Have a consistent look, a consistent feel, and a consistent voice. When your audience trusts you and knows you will deliver the service they need, they will continue to engage with you and build on your community, explained Katz.
  1. Be visual. “Design is not what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works,” said Steve Jobs. Every interaction your audience has with your agency’s service is an opportunity for a positive or negative experience and impact, explained Ross. Audience members have high expectations for digital services based on experiences they have with private companies. If their digital and visual expectations aren’t met their experience may have been negatively impacted. Maintaining visual engagement throughout your landscape will also build on your brand’s consistency and trust.

Discovering your brand is critical to improving audience engagement and agency success. To learn more about creating your own brand, view the on-demand training here.

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