If you’re a marketer for a startup or growing business how do you decide what to do first? The answer might be at the bottom of your to-do list.

We tend to prioritize the things screaming the loudest for our attention. The sales conference is in June, so the website’s gotta come first. After all, it was built back when the business was nothing more than a gleam in the founder’s eye and it’s woefully out of date (it’s still got Jack listed as the CFO for God’s sake—didn’t he resign before COVID?). Once the site is in the works, what about social?

Maybe your website needs more than just a new coat of paint. The copy needs a major re-write and the UX is frightening. While leadership has a clear vision of what the company does, it’s less clear on what the company stands for. When the CEO is asked about the history of the current brand identity the response is,

“The logo was done when we first started, it was designed in-house, we needed something for an investor deck. It does the job. Let’s talk about what we’d like our new website to say, we can work on the branding later.”

Yes, the identity is on your to-do list, but it’ll have to take a back seat for now (sales meeting coming up, CEO breathing down your neck, yada yada).

The partner you hire for the site redesign understands the urgency but make the argument that for them, updating the site using the current brand identity is like being handcuffed and then thrown in a pool and being asked swim. You’re not getting the full benefit of their talent and expertise (unless you hire Houdini). Having a well-defined identity and design system gives marketers and designers a rich palette to work from.

“A business without a powerful brand will not be able to compete…Brand relevance continues to be a key driver of growth – with the top brands outpacing the average growth rate in the S&P 500.”

- Prophet Brand Relevance Index

As a marketing leader you’re now at a critical fork in the road. You can either:

  1. Focus on the site redesign. You can improve your UX, the new copy will sing, the sales team will be thrilled to have a place to send prospective customers. Sales will get a bump. It’ll be a win, win, right? After all, a rebrand isn’t always in the cards, there’s a lot to be said for ‘low hanging fruit.’ But what if you addressed the brand identity now, instead of later, how much more impactful would those results be? Can you afford to wait?
  2. Or you can take a beat and use the discovery and requirements sessions planned for the website to clarify what your brand stands for. That will help you to articulate the company’s mission, and vision, and figure out the best way to tell your story. By doing double-duty during discovery you’ll save time (and money) and be ready to quickly get into identity design.

When completed, your new identity will encompass so much more than a logo. It will define the overall vibe, the tone of voice, vocabulary, color palette, typography, and how to effectively use imagery, illustration, and iconography. Now imagine having that new visual identity system at your disposal as you tackle all the to-dos on your list. 

If you think about the brands you most respect and admire, you’ll find a common denominator – their leadership took the time to carefully consider what their brand stood for and crafted an image and story that reflected that vision. They moved brand identity to the top of their list and are reaping the rewards.

What’s next on your to-do list?

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