Building a brand image is one of the most demanding tasks in the world of business. Apart from providing a great quality service or a product, you also need to have a brand people would want to identify with. You need to have qualities your prospective customers think they deserve, and you need to make sure they are aware of it. You can refer to a couple of things pointed out below to find out what it takes to do it.
What is a brand?
A Brand is a term explaining how others see you. Are you reliable, extravagant and only available to those who are well-off; or are you down-to-earth, affordable yet up-to expectations of others? This should depend on the nature of your business, your business goals, your value system, the unique trade differentiating you from others and the message you are trying to convey. Search for the answers to these within you as a business owner, among different requirements of the market, and your target audience. Seek the characteristics you have within you which is craved by many. Use expert advice to help you determine what those “cravings” tell you about your prospective customer and what they expect to get. Once you know all of this, you are ready to move forward.
What is branding?
Branding represents your efforts to make the persona you have created believable. This is the collection of your marketing activities continuously done in an effort to build a brand. It includes your visual identity, the quality of your service or your product, the way you communicate with your customers, as well as your marketing campaigns.
What is visual identity?
Your visual identity is what people see when they look at you and what it is they see and instantly reminds them of you. You can use a Coca-Cola font to write whatever you want and people will still think of Coca-Cola. Your visual identity needs to be consistent and prominent. It has to make you stand out from others. A very simple example would be a basketball jersey. Tthe moment you see it, there should be no doubt which team a player belongs to.
Elements of visual identity design – colors
The psychology of colors has an ever-growing impact on every aspect of life, including business and marketing. People need to feel good about the colors you use as your choices are likely to evoke certain feelings in them on a subconscious level. Professional designers are aware of this. I suggest you research the subject if you are set on adding your input to the design process. Warm colors such as Red, Orange and yellow are vibrant and energetic; the excitement level drops gradually left to right but they are the colors to make you happy, cheerful and playful. They can also cause an urge in people to act on something by attracting a lot of attention. Purple and black can help you be extravagant, luxurious and sophisticated. Green and Blue are safe and trustworthy; they appeal to most people so a lot of banks and medical facilities will choose this color as they are aiming at serenity and reliability. Pink is for girls, brown is for boys. If your business is closely linked to a color it will be naturally imposed on you and perhaps you should adhere to it in order to meet your audience’s expectations. This is why Greenpeace is green and Hershey’s is brown.
Elements of visual identity design – form
Quite similarly to colors, forms and shapes also convey a unique type of message to your prospective customers. Once again you will use it cleverly to evoke a certain feeling about your brand. Round shapes are warm, approachable and very inviting. They are much like a comfortable bean bag. Unlike the previous ones, straight edges seem strict and they are stable, focused and trustworthy. The pattern of lines also has a subconscious meaning where horizontal lines, like pillars, remind of strength and support, while horizontal lines, similarly to waves, remind us of tranquility.
Elements of visual identity design – typography
Typography refers to fonts you will use for writing on your logo, advertising materials or anything else that has your brand’s name attached to it. There are several different types of fonts you can choose out of, but the most effective ones are the display fonts which are unique and often cleverly drawn by hand. You will come across examples of this on pretty much every metal-band-logo. I have already mentioned the Coca-Cola font above, follow their example to create something recognizable.
Visual identity elements – logo
If you were to ask laymen about the brand identity or brand image, they would tell you that it is a company’s logo. This is your key element and you need to make sure that it is perfect. The logo should be meaningful. If you do not have a story behind it but you simply think it looks good, make up a story and make it fit your brand. It has to be distinctive and not in any way similar to your competitors’. It is quite surprising that sometimes brand leaders pay little attention to this, for example Gucci and Chanel. It has to be resistant to time and changes in trends, appealing and clear, and easily transferable onto different surfaces. Usually, companies have a version of their logo with a brand name on it and the one without it, but it is not a rule.
Visual identity elements – packaging
Think of the most appropriate packaging for your product. It should be something which is both practical and nice to look at. It also needs to support your brand image, you can have a plain or a luxurious box of chocolates and both would be found appropriate, however, trying to do the same for hot-dogs would make very little sense.
Visual identity elements – facilities
If you are selling a product, but particularly if you are providing services, make sure that all of your facilities are sending the same message and are unified. For example, each McDonald’s restaurant regardless of its size has certain architectural features which make them all look alike and very recognizable. The same applies to the interior.
Visual identity elements – uniforms/dress code
The way your staff looks and acts also affects your brand image. They should all act in a way which portrays the imaginary persona behind your brand. The clothes they wear should also represent that character and be consistent with the visual identity you have created so far. If your business is such that your personnel does not wear uniforms, there should be a dress code in place to ensure that no one puts your image at risk.
Visual identity elements – website
Your website is one of your most powerful tools and you should treat it as such. It has to be a dominant factor in your branding process and thus has to adhere strictly to your brand identity. A Web Design Sydney based company, points out that a lot of prospective customers spend hours researching and analyzing your website before they decide to contact you or visit one of your stores. By that moment they will have an idea of what you represent, so you better make sure that their idea of you fits your brand.
Visual identity elements – emails
These are not necessarily emails sent to your business partners, but the newsletters sent to your website’s subscribers and existing customers. This is your opportunity to keep them updated and reminded that you are around. These emails often go to spam so do your best to avoid that and if it happens make sure they stand out and are not tedious to go through. Make them short and well organized. Make sure your offer stands out and the readers can straight away tell what the email is about. Do not make them read through paragraphs of tiny letters because they won’t.
Visual identity elements – business cards and promotional material
Both of these should be very informative according to their individual purpose. People usually prefer personalized business cards as they like having their go-to person. If they have been given out after a service was provided or upon a purchase, it is a sign of quality guarantee as you or your staff members are not afraid to put your name to it. Promotional materials should be informative and focus on the thing they are promoting. Both of these should be in accordance with the visual design elements you have selected for your visual identity.
Once you manage to create a satisfying brand identity, you need to invest your best into maintaining it and promoting it further. If for any reason you need to change any part of it, make sure that there is a good reason, that it will take your brand forward and be sure to make your customers aware of it. They also deserve to know the reason behind it as it can make them doubt what they know about you, or you can simply escape their notice. Your brand and quality consistency are the key elements to running a successful business.