Sheri Dougherty
 Dr. Sherilyne Dougherty, CEO

Although Costco and Whole Foods sell groceries, almost no one thinks of them in the same way. One is associated with items sold in bulk at a no-frills warehouse and the other with natural foods sold in an upscale market environment. The impressions we have of these businesses - their brands - are carefully curated from the language they use describing themselves to the shopping experience they provide. Whether you realize it or not, your organization has a brand and protecting it should be a priority.
In this month's issue of the Advisor, we explore the many facets of branding. Our first article emphasizes just how important a brand can be. A strong brand can drive everything from familiarity with your organization to sales to continued customer loyalty. We examine what a brand is, its value and what it can do for your organization. Most important, we conclude with advice on how to strengthen your brand.
The component most people associate with a brand is its visual identity. Our second article discusses the importance of your organization's visual identity and how to make sure yours is telling your audience what you want them to hear. Starting with your logo and extending to your printed materials, website and social media presence, seemingly small choices such as color and font can speak volumes about your organization. We consider design elements and visual cues, and take a look at the components of a successful logo. 
I hope you enjoy this month's issue of the DAI Solutions Advisor.
According to Statista.com, there are nearly 223 million smartphones in the U.S., and Digital Trends reports that almost 45% are iPhones, with Samsung phones a distant second at 28%. All makes and models of smartphones have nearly identical features, hardware and functionality, so why is Apple the leader? Branding.
When someone buys an iPhone, they are not simply buying a phone - they are buying into Apple's image of imagination, design, innovation, simplicity and excellence. These associations create an emotional attachment and loyal customers, which lead directly to sales. This is the value of branding.

Find out what a strong brand is and how to create one for your organization.

Imagine wearing a Bermuda shorts to an executive job interview or ripped jeans to a black-tie event. Despite having the best of intentions, how you present yourself affects how others perceive you. When it comes to business, the same rules apply. Your organization's visual identity - a key part of your brand - affects how your organization is perceived in the marketplace. Elements such as logos, websites, print collateral and marketing materials can impact a potential client's opinion of you, which drives their willingness to work with you. In a competitive marketplace, this can make or break your organization.

The strongest brands have designs that match the products and services their organizations provide. Visual cues need to quickly reinforce your brand, telling the customer exactly what you represent. Poorly presented information can cause audiences to pass you by. By using clear design elements - shapes, colors, texture, typography and imagery - companies can drive home a clear sense of their brand. The goal is for the visual perception to make the desired impression.

Working at DAI Solutions is more than punching a clock; it's pushing every day to reach beyond what you thought possible. 

We are executives, project managers, communicators, artists, analysts, teachers and techies. In our diversity, we share a passion for people and the people part of transformation. If you want to be challenged and stand apart from the crowd, we want to hear from you.

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DAI Solutions is a boutique management consulting firm headquartered in Alexandria, Va. Purposefully small and client-centered, we focus on the people part of transformation. 
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