I dare you to design your brand without reading this: 3 do’s & don’ts of brand strategy

If you're thinking about launching a new company or rebranding your existing company and you haven't thought about your brand strategy yet… you're walking on thin ice, my friend.

But you don’t have time to rethink everything. Let’s scan through Emerald Design’s 3 do's and don'ts of brand strategy.

These golden rules are gathered from years of experience, countless rebrands and brand launches and way too many post-its. Here we go!

Do delight your customers

In our brand positioning and strategy, we always encourage our clients to start at the heart of their business – the customers. They aren’t just wallets with legs. They're people with feelings, aspirations and daily struggles.

Finding simple ways to make their day is a beautiful way to show you care. Small gestures can go a long way. Maybe it’s a handwritten thank-you note, a surprise discount or a fun animation in their dashboard.

In a sea of automated emails and faceless corporations, the bar is low. Delighting your customers is easier than you may think. Be the brand that brings a smile to your customer's face.

Do vary your visual brand

A good brand is like a chameleon. Well, in one way more than another.

  • Your brand shouldn’t camouflage or blend in with your competitors.
  • Your brand should adapt to its environment without losing its essence.

Don't get me wrong, brand consistency is crucial. But being too rigid can make you look outdated – or worse, boring!

Your visual brand isn't just your logo or color scheme. It’s the visual representation of your brand's personality.

How do your emails come across when your customers see them? How do they feel when they walk through your offices?

Switch up how your customers and prospects experience your brand. Differentiate your social media posts and change your website banner regularly.

But always stay true to your brand’s vibe.

Do factor in the people your decision impacts

Every decision you make as a brand has ripple effects on the people who interact with your company.

Employees, partners and customers. Before you take a big step like launching or rebranding, consider what impact this strategy will have on them. What will they think?

If you don’t already have personas for each of those audiences, use our field guide to establish then. This will help you understand your audience's needs, wants and pain points, so you can create a product and brand that resonates with them.

And apart from predicting who your audience is, get out there and talk to them. Focus groups, 1:1 conversations, feedback surveys. This data is sooo important to shifting how you show up.

Empathy is the guiding principle here.

Don’t assume people are the way you think they are

As an organization, your primary role is to serve your customers. And to profit, you need to serve them well. To serve them well, you need to understand them.

Never assume people are the way you think they are (especially in a digital context where body language is absent). Because it doesn’t matter your perception of them. What matters is the fact of the situation …

  • the problems they encounter,
  • how your product helps them overcome those problems
  • and if they’re better off having used your product than an alternative.

Facts are currency.

So invest some time in researching your audience. Talk to your customers, send surveys, run polls. Gather data and let it guide your brand strategy.

This is the way!

Don’t be someone you’re not

In a world of copycats, hustlers and trend chasers, authenticity stands out like a rare gem. An emerald, if you will 😉

We humans have a natural bias toward other humans. The more your brand acts like one, the more you’ll attract prospects and paying customers.

Don’t sacrifice your team’s uniqueness for the sake of being trendy. Don’t foresake your values. Relentlessly pursue your mission and do you!

Your audience can smell authenticity from a mile away. So be who you are – unapologetically.

Tip: This is the reason we recommend sending emails from a real employee’s profile, photo and name. It makes a huge difference on open and click-through rates.

Don’t rush something you & your customers won’t like

So you’re launching or rebranding your organization. Not an easy task, we totally understand. The pressure to produce and launch quickly can be overwhelming.

But don’t let the complexity of a new brand bother you. Especially if you’re considering pushing something you and your customers don’t enjoy.

Say no to half-baked brands!

When it comes to brand strategy, quality > quantity. Your company will be around for awhile, right? What’s another month or two in the grand scheme of things.

Your audience is more perceptive than you may think. They’ll notice if you cut corners. Take the time to make something great and I promise, your audience will appreciate it.

Launching or rebranding doesn’t have to be the hardest project of a marketer’s career. After designing upwards of 50 brands with my own two hands, these 3 do’s and 3 don’ts have guided my career:


  1. Delight your customers
  2. Vary your visual brand
  3. Factor in the people your decision impacts


  1. Assume people are the way you think they are
  2. Rush something you & your customers won’t like
  3. Be someone you’re not

Need help designing your brand’s next iteration or a special campaign? We’ve got you.