START WITH THE BASICS
Whether you’re a start-up thinking about the creation of your first logo and a business card or an established business who wants a fresh approach for your website and wider marketing campaigns, these three core principles can help take your communications from mediocre to marvellous, without eating up your budget.
1. Value proposition
Ultimately, the purpose of a brand is to communicate a consistent, memorable value proposition across all of your customer touchpoints. So bringing that value proposition front and centre is key. Don’t assume people already know what sets you apart. Be sure to articulate it. Determine what your core USPs are and use those as an anchor for all of your communications.
Nothing builds a solid presence like consistency. Consistency says ‘reliable’. It says ‘polished’. But it also says ‘memorable’. Every touchpoint a consumer has with your business should build upon the last, creating a seamless impression. Here are a few things to keep an eye on.
Distinctive and memorable, your logo is an essential part of your brand. Well implemented, it will prompt recognition and even drive brand loyalty. Crafted to convey your individual style and character, it’s worth remembering that your logo should differentiate you from your competitors, not from yourself. Avoid the temptation to use multiple alternate or previous versions on your collateral if you want to avoid confusion.
Aim to have a strong, (limited) colour palette that’s immediately identifiable with your business. Far from being confined to your logo, your colours can be a critical component of your brand, prompting recall and even influencing buyer behaviour. Research suggests that up to 90% of snap judgements about products can be based on colour alone, so don’t underestimate its value.
The kind of imagery you use says a great deal about who you are and can have a direct impact on how your customers feel about your brand. People are instinctively drawn to brands they relate to and your visual language plays a crucial role in triggering an emotive reaction. If a picture is worth a thousand words, you need to make yours count. If your business prides itself on quality, then clip art or amateur design will undermine you. Similarly, if you’re a tech-savvy enterprise, low-res images communicate the opposite. Is it your personal touch that sets you apart? Using no images at all makes it harder to demonstrate that emotional connection to your target base.
Do you have a typeface (or two), you consistently use throughout your materials, or do you regularly switch it up? While you may think that constant change is a sign of innovation, when it comes to your typography, the opposite is true. Far from adding to the overall impact, the use of too many fonts (and styles) suggests you’re not quite sure who you are as a brand – and if you don’t know who you are, then how will your customers?
Does your business have a distinct tone of voice and language that gets used across all of your channels, or does it vary? Whether you want to be perceived as friendly, approachable, technical or experienced, using a consistent tone in your materials is crucial if you want your customers to connect with you. From your brochures to your website, talk to them in a voice they understand.
Hand-in-hand with consistency is simplicity. Do you know that catchy tune that always gets stuck in your head? Chances are, it’s a pretty basic one. Similarly, a strong brand is pared back and to the point. Too much complexity and you’ve lost your chance of becoming an ‘earworm’.
Start with your logo. Is it a streamlined mark, or does it try to ‘say it all’? How about your homepage? Is it crammed with information and imagery, or is it calm, restrained and easy to navigate? Don’t underestimate the impact that ‘white space’ can have – you don’t want your customers to feel that they can’t see the wood for the trees.
Look at your ads, flyers, or brochures. Are you focusing on the most crucial information (for your customers) or have you shared everything and the kitchen sink? You should always try to be concise and give your customers clarity. Think about what action you want people to take as a result of your communication and tailor it accordingly. Don’t be shy about reminding potential customers on how to engage with you.
– Customer Experience
Look at your marketing collateral. Can readers scan for the key takeaway within five seconds? Does your website make it easy for users to find exactly what they’re looking for in a click or two? If they feel they have a minefield to navigate, then you’ll lose them.