Customers will form an opinion of your brand identity from your products, your services, your website, your logo, how you dress, how you sound, in fact from everything you say and do.
Last month I wrote about the three elements of Brand Strategy:
- Brand proposition – what you do
- Brand Purpose – why you do it
- Brand Values – how you do it
How to apply your brand identity
Once you have established your brand proposition, purpose and values it’s time to consider how you will present these to your customers. Remember your brand is your identity.
Consistency is the most important factor in managing your brand, so that customers are getting the same message and experience however they interact with you.
Let’s consider your visual identity and your businesses voice.
The foundation of your brand imagery is your logo.
Consider the purpose of your logo. Does your product need to stand out on the shelf, so customers buy it instead of your competitors? What will your Logo look like printed on white paper, a letterhead or invoice for example? If you plan to put your logo onto something small, like a pen, will it still be clear to read? Consider how your logo will look printed on a business card, flyer or shop sign as well as when seen on a screen.
Think about the font and style you want to use. I think a script font can look elegant but might be hard to read. A serif style font, with the tails or projections on the letters, can look sophisticated, while a sans serif font without these tails can look simple and more modern. Beware of the overused Comic Sans font, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11582548
Inject some colour
Also, think about the colours you want for your logo. The shade you choose can say a lot about your brand. For example, you could choose a royal purple, healthy green, premium gold, energetic yellow… think about your brand values, what image do you want to project?
Your colour palette is really importaint because it will be the basis of all of your website design, packaging, brochures, marketing, PowerPoint slides, uniforms etc. I suggest you probably need at least two main colours, then perhaps another 3-5 colours that compliment the main ones. It can be a good idea to have a contrasting colour that can be used as a highlight.
All colours have an RGB number or hex colour code so that they can be specifically identified. Use this code to make sure that the exact shade is used each time. Create a set of brand guidelines which details the specific colours, fonts and themes you use as standard. This is essential as your business grows to make sure that all of your employees and associates are using the same style.
Where to begin
Start by looking at brands you like and get an idea of the styles and colours used to represent them. Consider your target market. Who are they? What do they like and want? What will appeal to them? If you are going to get someone to design your logo create a mood board to show them all the messages, ideas and emotions you want your logo to get across.
There is a choice of websites that offer logo design services, so you can create a logo from templates in minutes, or you can engage a graphic designer who will provide a bespoke service.
Your website is often the first visual experience customers will have of your brand. Again, you can create a simple template-style website for free in a matter of minutes or have a specialist company design one for you. Think about what you want your website to communicate about your brand. Make sure the colours logo and style are all consistent.
Your own personal image is also important. If you are meeting people in person, think about how you present yourself. According to Professor Albert Mehrabian, UCLA, when meeting someone face to face our impact is 55% based on how we look, 38% on how we sound and only 7% on what we say.
First impressions count. Also, it’s thought that after a bad impression it can take us up to 21 times to re-judge someone in a positive way.
Get a good headshot – the photo for your website and social media should be you in a professional setting. Not in your wedding dress or fancy dress, with pets or other people.
Accessorise – if you plan to colour match your logo with clothing, jewellery, stationary etc. make sure you pick a good colour for your logo.
Meet expectations – People want to see what they expect, so a bank manager in a suit or a personal trainer with biceps. Think about how you want to come across.
Or challenge perceptions – Be memorable for not conforming.
Grab attention – the business cards you hand out are what people will take away. Make them look great, don’t be afraid to be different with the layout, maybe add your photo. You can use a high gloss, embossed font or soft-touch tactile finish to make an impression.
Your business voice
The keywords that you identify with and your business values will influence your business voice. You should use these keywords often in your website and other marketing material. You might decide to try different wording in your social media posts to see what your audience likes. Track your posts, to see the engagement you get with different styles.
Often the way we write is more formal than the way we speak but you might find customers relate better to a more conversational tone.
For certain products or services, you may want a formal business voice. Customers may feel a serious subject should speak in an official-sounding tone. A funeral director shouldn’t be telling jokes.
A brand voice that is more jokey might appeal; people will know your product is fun. However, be careful with humour, you don’t want to misjudge it and offend potential customers.
Mind your language
Think about the language you use. Most businesses have not thought about choosing a particular style, they simply use their own style. This is ok until your business grows, and you realise that everyone is doing something different. For example, do you write ‘Email’, ‘email’, ‘e mail’ or ‘e-mail’?
Or consider this scenario: You have made a mistake that let down a customer? Which one of these apologies would you choose?
A – I sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused by the error.
B – I’m sorry for the mistake, I will put it right straight away.
C – Oops, we messed up, sorry
None of these are right or wrong, it is simply your choice about the image you want to show to your customers. But what if your style is A and you realise that one of your employees is using C.
One of the most challenging aspects of branding as you grow as a business is consistency. Be sure to always use the same style of speaking as well as the visuals, font and colours. You can create brand standards for your marketing materials with the use of templates that mean you use the same colour scheme, logo placement, look and feel each time. If you want help with creating PowerPoint, Word or Excel templates, Contact me.
Keep the promises that your brand makes, always.