20th July 2017
Building a great brand doesn’t happen overnight.
It’s a complex process that takes a strong development strategy and a multilayered approach to result in success, strength and long-term credibility.
Once created properly, it’ll drive your business to bigger and better things. The art of smart branding consists of enticing your target market into a sweet love affair. A good branding strategy will charm them and spark interest, and lead them to fall in love with your products or services, over and over again.
Thus, successful branding takes time and hard work. Your audience isn’t just going to come running to it. You need a strong strategy to boost your company’s visibility and value in the eyes of the right people. And then you need to keep them interested. Your brand is how your target market perceive you, so it pays to make it positive. Getting your branding right across all your channels is paramount; from your printed stationery to social media, and everything in between. They work together to reflect who you are, what you do and your core values. Here’s how to establish a smart and successful brand:
Design to Impress
Business branding is all about how you make your customers feel. Sure, you want to get your name out there as much as possible too. But a name means nothing if your target market doesn’t remember or trust you. A great brand is more than just a logo, website or a business card, it’s an all-inclusive experience. Quality graphic design must be a part of this to effectively impress your audience. This involves designing everything for maximum aesthetic appeal.
Invest in good visual representation of your brand and keep the design consistent across all channels. Brand consistency is key to familiarity, which is essential to gaining trust from your audience. Your brand should be unique, appealing, attractive and relevant. Consider what you want to say to them through design, and what you want them to say about your brand. Incorporate key personality traits, like innovative, friendly, fresh and bold to help create the right experience for them.
Integrating The 6 P’s
Whether you’re building your brand or rebranding to something better, there are key elements that must be integrated into your design across both offline and online channels:
Who is your target audience? Without a clearly defined purpose, it’s impossible to create a smart and successful brand. You’ll need to make sure your message speaks to all of them and conveys the right emotion to reflect who they are (and you are).
The brand promise is the message that speaks directly to your target market. It should clearly tell them what to expect from using your services or purchasing your products.
What do you want your audience to think of your brand? Consider how your brand is perceived, from past perceptions to what it is now, and what you want it to be in the future.
These are your company values and are vital for all business decision-making. Define the core values and ensure your brand embodies them.
The way you present your brand is crucial. Create a distinct voice that’s unique to your business, and deliver it consistently across all mediums. Incorporate unique selling points or a catchy, memorable phase throughout print media, website and social media ads. Messages and the tone of your brand’s voice should be equipped with personality, speak the appropriate language and be easy to understand. The way you use your brand’s voice helps people to become inspired by your business, which ultimately makes them want to utilise it.
The positioning statement of your business brand determines where it sits in the industry compared to its competitors. How your brand is positioned helps set it apart from the rest of the market, who it competes against and what the benefits are of using it to your audience.
Corporate Style Guide
A style guide is important for establishing procedures for print media and online channels. These guides formulate the correct way to use the corporate logo, colours, fonts and images across everything. Without it, it’s easy for businesses to lack consistency or distribute promotional material with deficiencies.
A successfully designed logo is the anchor or your brand and thus, it must represent its philosophy. Invest in hiring a professional design it to give your brand a strong image which can be applied to everything produced. Your logo should express the brand’s personality, spark visual interest and connect with the right people. It must ooze credibility, set your business apart from others and be the most recognisable element of your brand identity.
Colour consistency is essential to branding. Choose two main brand colours, and add an accent colour which can drive your palette to the next level. Different colours convey different emotions and communicate multiple messages so it’s important to choose your tints wisely. Designers frequently use the 60-30-10 rule for colours, which suggests three different colours are used in the ratio of 60%, 30% and 10%. It’s a simple rule for creating a professional colour scheme for your brand.
Once the colour palette is chosen, it’s vital to utilise the right printing techniques for colour matching and consistency. Offset printing is best for achieving exact colour match to brand for business stationery, as these items can be printed in spot/PMS (Pantone Matching System) colours. On websites and social media however, RGB is utilised for computer monitors and scanners. Colour consistency must be maintained across all materials and be matched exactly to benefit the brand. For promotional materials and signage, CMYK is ideal for its ability to produce a range of colour and vibrancy. HEX Colours are used for websites.
Similar to colours, you want to limit the number of fonts to as few as possible. Words aren’t directly part of visual branding but with the use of typography, they become pictorial and artistic, and help create the tone of your brand. Sans-Serif fonts are generally easier to visually navigate through for content body, because they’re modern and streamlined and usually favoured for web use too. Consider context and audience when choosing fonts and stick with versatile options that are readable. You want it to mesh with your logo too. And – size does matter.
Your brand’s identity isn’t just made up of a logo and type, consider the visual elements like graphics to complete the package. Images are just as important for communicating messages, especially with special deals and ads. If you’re using different images, make sure there are elements of consistency to the with ‘image rules’. It could be in the way the image is taken, for example, only using overhead shots. These image rules can be as simple or as complex as required.
Branded business stationery is crucial for adding authority to your brand. Successful print design is a staple to your brand identity, and should consist of a simple layout without unnecessary clutter. Clean designs create better brand awareness, driving the focus to your content. Effective business stationery will have branded colours and fonts, logo, contact information and clean space. Premium paper stock will showcase quality and professionalism. For impact and individuality, consider incorporating printing techniques like foiling, embossing, spot UV and different sizing options – especially for business cards.
Social Media and Online Channels
With 79% of Australians active on social media, it makes sense for businesses to put their brand there for full engagement. Companies can no longer ignore the impact of social performance and its powerful way to reach new leads. Consistency is always key. Thus, your cover image and profile picture must be uniformed across all social channels to reflect your brand.
Think of each channel as virtual shop fronts and familiarise yourself with the rules for each. Every profile, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn must align with your values, core message and brand voice. Be relevant – social media is about what’s happening now, so make your brand reflect this. If you’re launching a new product, include it as your cover/banner picture so when people visit, they know they’re in the right place.
Use these platforms to provide valuable and shareable content relevant to your audience. Every single thing you share on social should support your brand image. Use a mix of both visual and written content too. Articles with images receive 94% more views, with Twitter image content gaining nearly twice as much engagement as text posts. Utilise contests and social media campaigns to gain visibility and generate leads too. Use your brand on social media to show you’re human too!
Other vital online channels your brand should spread consistently across include your website, e-newsletters, emails and videos. All must work effectively together to reflect who you are and what you can offer your target market in a strategic, smart and streamlined way. Combined with your print resources and a solid brand strategy, your business will be driven in all the right directions.