You could say that branding is one of the most important aspects to a business, service or product. It leads the overall perception of the company as a whole, and sets that all important first impression for customers.
Quote: A brand is not just a logo, it's the overall impression and experience you give to your audience and consumers. Your brand expresses the value you provide. It's you! - Amy Locurto (Brand Strategist)
What is a brand?
A brand consists of many different elements that work seamlessly together to create the vision that is presented to your customer. When people think of a brand identity, many people think of the more physical items. These usually include:
- Logo: a branded logo is typically a symbol/ icon/ typography that identifies your company in a simple yet memorable way, but not necessarily showing exactly what the business does.
- Tagline and tone of voice: imagine your business as a person - how they would speak, the words they would use, mannerisms and their personality. This tone of voice will flow through and impact all elements of your branding.
- Business stationery: can include a range of graphically designed items such as business cards and letter heads.
- Marketing materials: these promote your product or service to your target market. Marketing materials can include brochures, leaflets, flyers and more. A good website is arguably the most important digital marketing tool for many businesses.
- Packaging: How are you presenting your service/product to your customer? Things such as labels, tags, stickers, boxes, wrapping, bags.
But there is more to branding than the printed and digital things you see. A big part of a brand is how it makes customers feel. Are they happy with the experience? Would they return, or recommend? A great example of this is the positive feeling that some customers feel when they open a package that's been delivered to them. Yes, the package is likely branded with logos and colours etc. But that feeling of excitement when opening it, stems from the initial experience they had when ordering the product.
Good branding will stand out from the crowd, keep your customers coming back time and time again, establish your credibility in your industry and oooze confidence in what you do. Without it, you'll soon be lost amongst the crowd, scrolled through and walked past without a backwards glance.
Brand consistency - what exactly are we on about?
You want your customers to get to know you, recognise you and remember you. But how do you make them do those things without them even knowing? Well, brand consistency plays a huge part in this.
Think of all the touch points your customers have with your business. Face-to-face, printed marketing materials, your website and social media presence - all of these should be singing from the exact same hymn sheet. The look and feel, tonality and messaging should all be consistent. Your customer should have the same brand experience, regardless of where they come in to contact with it.
A way to keep your branding consistent is to create a set of brand guidelines. These can cover a range of things such as logo, typography and colour usage, tonality and messaging. Many will also include guidelines for things like stationery, brochure design and other marketing materials. But ultimately, they create consistency for everyone in the business to follow. Which in turn, will have a positive impact outside the business. Your customers will be accustomed with your brand and you're more likely to build an unwavering alliance, keeping them returning over and over.
Poor brand consistency - the story.
As a customer, you see an ultra-modern, minimal-looking advert on Facebook, featuring a cool cut-out image of those trainers you've got your eye on. You click on the ad and get taken to the website - where that same modern, minimal look and feel is replicated. You're liking what you see.
You decide to subscribe to hear about more offers. You really want those trainers, but might hold out for a better offer.
4 months later, you're scrolling through your never-ending inbox. You open some email about promotions, to be hit with a mixture of bright colours and multiple images of trainers - no cut-out imagery or minimal styling to be seen. You read no further and delete it straight away. Unbeknownst to you, this was the same website you were going to buy from months ago.
The moral of the story, you ask?
Because of the inconsistent branding, you no longer recognise the product and messaging that you originally connected with. Resulting in a loss of loyalty, and ultimately a lost sale for that business.
Now imagine the same happening for multiple customers. Poor brand consistency can be possibly crippling to a business. Always follow brand guidelines when you're putting something out into the world. If you don't have any, then it's definitely worth the investment to have them created for your brand. How do you expect customers to be aligned and connected with what you're doing, if there's a chance your own team aren't?
Does your business need branding?
We're a creative agency providing a whole range of services, including branding and logo design. If you're looking to stand out from the crowd, then we're here to help. Once you're new brand is out there and impressing customers, we can also work with you on a fantastic new web design, and our graphic design services will ensure your brand is rolled out consistently through a range of printed and digital items.