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Reflections from NCAD 2017: Branding First

By Kelly Farrell | August 29, 2017


My reflections from NCAD? Branding first. Web next.

While at NCAD, I noticed there is more chatter around branding today than there was two years ago, which is great! Though branding is part of the conversation today, many still aren’t sure where branding fits within the process of marketing a new or evolving organization. CEO’s constantly come up to me and ask, what should I do first? And the answer is simple: Branding.

Why Branding First

Branding is the core foundation of an organization, supporting every facet of both internal and external marketing. When leaders hear this, it makes perfect sense that branding must come first. Knowing your brand – who you are, what you stand for, what makes you special – provides clarity, focus, and consistency across every single touchpoint.

This consistency is critical today, where  90% of consumers expect a similar brand experience across all touchpoints. If you skip the branding process, your foundation is more likely to crack, causing inconsistencies and inefficiencies in media efforts.

If done right, however, success follows. And you have a strong position from which to communicate and to market your organization. According to Salesforce Research’s 2016 State of Marketing Report, “Customers want one experience whether they’re interacting with marketing, sales, or service. High-performing marketers are breaking down barriers to deliver a unified face of the business.”

I understand the importance of building awareness through all media channels, especially on a website and in digital, social, and SEO. I also realize that many feel an urgency to get their name out there quickly. But the process shouldn’t be rushed, and the critical step of healthy branding cannot be skipped. Once the healthy branding is complete, your organization will be unified, moving in the same direction, and speaking the same language when you unveil that shiny new site.

Build your foundation, and see how easily the rest of the pieces fall into place.

Yes, it’s simple: healthy branding first.


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Kelly Farrell

Kelly has a unique talent for uncovering what's special about her clients. It’s her specialty, and the heart of how designRoom approaches branding.Kelly learned design and branding while working in advertising as an Art Director, Designer, and Account Representative for several national/regional brands; Cellular One/Ohio, Northfield Park, National City Bank, and Mr. Hero. Her future, however, included a more passionate approach to the work and more direct engagement with her clients.In 1990 designRoom was born. One room. One designer. And lots of room to grow.Today, under Kelly’s leadership, designRoom is a national, award-winning branding and design firm. With her innate ability to see the right solution and her passion for helping clients reach their goals, Kelly is a fierce brand advocate for behavioral health organizations across the U.S.Her unique approach makes her a sought after national speaker on the importance of branding in behavioral health. Kelly focuses on how branding can unify an organization internally, amplify their unique market position, and help them move in a positive, sustainable direction.

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