A strong brand is one of the most valuable assets you can add to your company. It’s often over-looked and under-estimated, but branding is one of the most effective tools for marketing, communication, and general increased business value.
Your brand image is how your audience recognizes you, and how they differentiate your products or services from your competitors’. It serves as a visual promise and reminder of the quality and mission of your business. On top of that, branding also has the ability to influence the way people think about your business, to create an emotional drive, or to prompt a specific action.
“It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.” John Williams, Entrepreneur
Think about it. A good brand instills trust in your customers and inspires people to interact and buy. It drives and directs the emotions of your audience and creates a unique distinction between you and your competitors.
That’s an extremely powerful motivating force.
But brand development is a science as well as an art form, and needs to be given due time and thought. A bad branding job can be as bad as, or even worse than no branding.
An effective brand design brings together a logo, color palette, typography, voice, and brand collateral into one cohesive image and personality. These design pieces need be consistent, memorable and relevant to the target audience. Along with being intentionally designed, a brand needs to be strategically employed. By choosing relevant media channels and advertising styles, you can use your brand to engage your specific audience. In order for your brand to truly support and strengthen your business, it needs to be designed to resonate with the target audience and positioned to get in front of them.
Once all these elements are understood and brought together, your brand will have the ability to impact people’s lives and influence the way they think about your business, products, and industry!
How do you get started? There are 5 essential elements that should be your primary focus as you seek to grow your business through brand development.
A logo is a mark or icon that identifies your business. It’s essentially how your customers remember and recognize you. A logo should be specially designed to use shapes, symbols, and colors that represent your business and are relevant and memorable to your target audience.
Colors are one of the most powerful brand elements. People associate deeply with colors, and they work subliminally to affect our emotions, actions, and appetites. While it’s tempting when choosing a color palette simply to pick your own favorite color, it’s important to consider the hidden messages that each color conveys. You don’t want a color scheme that indicates you’re a fast food restaurant if you’re really a kraft coffee bar! In order for your colors to work to their full potential, they need to accurately reflect your business’ values and resonate effectively with your target audience. Choosing a meaningful, appropriate color scheme for your brand can be difficult, but having a color scheme that works for you and supports your values will be a priceless asset to your business in the long run.
Typography includes everything from custom typefaces for logos or headlines to complete font packages for body copy. While this may seem like a basic aspect of brand design, it’s actually extremely important. Think about some of the most well known and recognizable logos: Google, Pinterest, Aveda, Coca-Cola. What makes them so great? These logos are simply a form of Typography. Typography is also involved any time you see a letter or word on a screen or page, making it an extremely impactful communication tool. When choosing any form of Typography, it’s important to consider both the legibility of the typeface and determine if it supports your company image and resonates with your target audience.
Your companies’ voice is the way you communicate with your customers, and includes both your copy style and your vocal branding. Your copy is the way you express yourself on your website, social media channels, or print materials. Vocal branding is specific to any time the human voice is used— whether it’s face to face, over the phone, audio clips, or videos. When used strategically, voice and tone have an incredible ability to enhance your brand experience and engage your audience.
“Vocal Branding is the strategic and purposeful use of voice to strengthen and enhance brand experiences – so your products, brands and user experiences sound as compelling as they look and feel!” http://timnoonan.com.au/consulting/vocalbranding/
Brand Collateral includes everything from your business cards and flyers to your social media pages and your website. Basically it’s anything that you use to promote your business and as such the individual pieces needed will vary a lot from business to business. But no matter what your business, every piece of brand collateral should be consistent to your brand and incorporate your colors, fonts, and logo!