If you are an ’emerging’ organisation you will want to make a really strong impact in your chosen market, particularly amongst target customers.

What you call your business, and the visual communication of your brand identity (logo, typeface, colour palette, look and feel) will be a critical factor in getting people to sit up and take notice as you promote yourself via a multitude of different channels.

But despite the typically early priority given to naming and logo development (usually driven by the need for business cards and websites), if it is developed on a whim to an unrealistic deadline, rather than built from well-researched foundations, it will soon fall short of needs and expectations.

Time spent at this early stage is time saved further down the line remedying fundamental mistakes that can cost you dear. You have an opportunity to create something with substance which will evolve naturally over time.

For established businesses with an existing brand identity, it is slightly different. How your brand is perceived – both externally and internally – is influenced by a myriad of variable factors, as highlighted on the previous page, some of which are hard to control.

If you understand what contributes to your identity, you’ll be able to manage those factors more effectively. You’ll also be able to talk about them more articulately, telling your story as it evolves via marketing materials, blogs and social media in a consistent manner.

You’ll then stand a better chance of attracting not just customers, but like-minded people who want to be part of your organisation and contribute to the very identity for which it has become known. People who will deliver their best for you because they believe in you and your company – strengthening the brand and customer loyalty still further.

Image: ‘Boat Race’ by Andrew Redden

Gaining the competitive edge is down to a complex blend of factors – the strengths and weaknesses of the people you have on board and how well they work together, training, equipment, morale, what you say about yourself, what others say about you, the prevailing conditions and what you have to offer on the day. The better you understand the contribution that each element makes to the success of your business, the more authentic and engaging your identity can be.