Branding 101.

Author:Hammond, Michael

Adynamic and memorable brand strategy must include both the brand personality (visual: graphics, colors, images, etc.) and the brand positioning (messaging: the words used to bring brand to life). It is essential that these two components are synchronized and that all brand interactions are consistent from both a visual and messaging perspective.

The brand personality is how the brand is represented visually, which includes the colors, fonts, logo, graphics, image style and other visual elements. The brand personality is the foundation for brand standards that must be deployed across the enterprise to ensure visual consistency in all marketing materials and interactions with prospective borrowers and current customers.

Memorable brands deliver a unified theme that is leveraged in every interaction with the company. In today's marketplace, it is becoming more difficult to differentiate between competing companies. Products and services are becoming increasingly similar and buzzwords used by many lenders are creating noise that often confuses borrowers and dilutes brand differentiation.

Undoubtedly, this means a lender's brand--its identity--will become a significant factor when borrowers are choosing between one lender and another. Strategic messaging that produces true differentiation is vital in the development of a dynamic brand identity.

Brand positioning is the language used by a lender to skillfully differentiate its offering in the marketplace, and more specifically the value that it delivers to its target audiences. How a lender conveys this message, both internally and externally, has a significant impact on how others perceive that organization.

Brand positioning establishes the foundation for the messaging that will be used in all interactions with the lender's target audiences, including prospective borrowers, current customers, employees, the media, partners, shareholders, investors and other stakeholders.

This foundation enables lenders to deliver consistent messaging in all communications media, whether it is a website, on social media, in sales presentations, through content marketing, press releases, and the like. Consistency is paramount in building a memorable brand image and positive customer experience for the lender.

Brand messaging should be written from the perspective of what's in it for the borrower. Many companies beat their chest and focus solely on the features and functions of their products/services, which...

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