Key Principles of Effective Branding
Branding your business is a truly exciting venture! Successful branding will elevate your company’s image, and if done properly, create a recognizable and permanent bond with your customers. Some key points to keep in mind when launching the branding process, to insure your identity has the maximum impact:
Consistent branding across your company’s collateral is extremely important. When creating your identity, make sure that everything your business puts out to the public incorporates the look, feel, logo, colors and style of your branding portfolio. Establish a set of branding guidelines to be used within your organization and by those entrusted with your representation, like advertisers, marketing companies, etc. Do not dilute your brand by modifying your logo (or allowing others to do so), and by using a hodge-podge approach to marketing material creation. Consistency is key, and helps create a brand that is powerful and instantly identifiable by the public. For example, look at some major company’s that you see on a daily basis – where you get your coffee, burger or buy your clothes. If you use a major retailer or nationwide franchise, the chance is that each of these entities has a consistent look and feel, even down to the layout of their businesses, packaging, product displays, etc. You become comfortable with these brands, and that helps you, the consumer, in your buying choices by recognition of terminology, logo placement and floor layout/displays.
Focus your brand on what your company does best. Being too much to too many can have the adverse effect on your company’s growth and market share. The principle of a restaurant’s menu offering applies: place less on the menu and serve specialties you do well; a cluttered menu with tons of choices that have limited appeal takes up more revenue with storage and purchasing than a streamlined and effective menu of crowd favorites. Keep your company’s focus on the areas of your market share where you have dominance, reliability, strong sales and presence – take that principle into your logo and branding design so that your product or service becomes synonymous with your graphic style and image, therefore creating a recognizable connection with your company and a brand that speaks to your strengths, target appeal and demographics.
Having an elegant design covers more than just the symbol itself – it’s the use of space, negative space, color, and composition that makes for a stellar aesthetic. Your design is be an “avatar” of your business, embodying the style of your company and those who give you business. Visual appeal can make or break a product or business – products that are packaged in a dense, cluttered or harsh style will be passed up in lieu of those with an elegant appeal and slick design. We as consumers are very picky about what we buy and which businesses we support – products, services or company’s with dated, old-style or unprofessional branding will not sell, and your company will bear the negative scars of visually unappealing branding with a loss of revenue and market share.
An elegant logo with streamline, sleek design is more powerful than one trying to incorporate 20 different things all mashed together. Simplicity is extremely important when it comes to your design. Keep your color palette limited, your font selection consistent, and your overall design simple to increase your appeal and keep your brand contemporary and relevant.
One of my favorite book titles is “Differentiate or Die: Survival in our Era of Killer Competition” by Jack Trout. This title sums up this concept perfect: keep your brand unique and identifiable to your company – don’t copy or emulate the competition. Knock-off ideas are just that – cheap copies. When designing your brand, tap into the strengths of your business and design an identity that is yours and creates an intimate connection to your customers. Use a fresh approach. Study market and consumer trends, and know your client base. Speak to them directly in an appealing way with a brand that is uniquely yours, and protect that brand vigorously. In a sea of billboards, online ads, print marketing and social media posts, a brand that is cool, unique, fresh and modern will stand out, and your customers will look for that brand again when making future buying choices. If you provide good products and services, brand loyalty is a given, as you will earn trust. Trust marketing is not a fad, but creates lifelong customers as long as your business, services and offerings are associated in a positive way and remain consistently of high quality. Having a brand image that differentiates you from the sea of competition will be a huge asset in retaining customers and attracting new ones!