Business Branding. It’s getting a lot of press right now. Marketers are trying to sell many of the individual parts of a brand – but the fact is that your corporate ‘brand’, or identity, is the combination of all the components. These parts must work together to create a visual message representing the heart of your business and the promise you make to prospects.
Three things to remember about business identity, brand and logo:
- Your ‘Identity’ is the embodiment of attributes which create an emotional connection to others
- How others perceive your corporate image and values is your ‘Brand’ – it’s what they expect from you – your business ‘personality’.
- The key visual piece that represents your Identity and Brand is your Logo – it should identify your business Brand and Identity.
Here are some of the most important pieces:
The colors you decide upon should permeate everything in your world, so choose carefully. Does your business offer powerful software for executives who travel? Choose powerful colors, such as red or orange for your business – colors which represent power, strength and determination. These colors will be present on your website, your logo, your print materials, presentation materials, company vehicles, even in the public areas of your physical location. Take the time to study color theory – colors create emotional connections for us and can either enhance your brand or dilute it completely. Imagine a corporation that produces a breakthrough advance in medical technology, such as NeuroPace (a product which can detect when the user is about to have a seizure, and send a message to the brain, effectively interrupting it) using pink, mauves and flowers. Instead, they used blue and green – to represent harmony, safety and wisdom. Now imagine a company producing high-end baby toys using red and black.
This is where most companies put the greatest effort in branding. Your graphic designer (see below for a link to a site that explains the difference) should understand the purpose and values of your business; how you interact with prospects and clients. Your logo should relate to that purpose and those values – using color, shape and movement to convey your message. A logo is the visual representation of the concept of your business – a symbol of your Brand and Identity. Look at the Nike logo – it’s simple, but that image brings to mind motion and strength. It’s also easy to remember. If your logo is too complex, no one will remember your business.
It should go without saying that your website must represent your brand through all the ways in which your audience absorbs information – through visual, auditory and kinesthetic (creation of feelings) communication. Understanding how the human brain perceives a visual hierarchy and how the eye moves down a page just two of the key factors in designing a site which will provide the canvas upon which your business values and identity will be displayed.
Your content speaks to your prospects with a powerful message. It should always be written with your business identity, brand and values in mind. The ‘voice’ you use in your content should represent a consistent and clear message about your business. What is ‘voice’? It’s the character and personality of the storyteller, speaking directly to the audience – the imagined sound the reader ‘hears’ in their mind as they read. Your business has a personality – character, values, and vision. From your website content, to marketing pieces, books, blogs, and even inter-office communications, your voice can create a dynamic and persuasive auditory and visual message.
Unless your logo is so simple that anyone who looks at it can tell what you do, your tagline should explain in just a few words what you offer. It should support the visual of your logo with the words in a way which allows the combined message to be crystal clear. Even some of the biggest companies fall short here – they are too cryptic or try to be clever – and your reader won’t take the time to analyze the information.
Letterhead and Collateral materials:
Business cards and letterhead should be represented by your brand. This should extend to collateral materials as well. Examples of this are books (print and e-books), rack cards, brochures, etc. Everything you produce should represent your business identity – in both visuals and content.
Not only should your packaging contain all the visual components of your brand, it should encourage your purchaser to come back for more. Do you have a sustainable or ‘green’ product? Make sure your packaging represents your business values. A good example of this is Green Way® Eco-Friendly packaging. They offer custom biodegradable or re-usable packaging for retail products. Nothing is worse than ordering a green product and having it arrive wrapped in Styrofoam.
Vehicle and structure signage
If you have company vehicles, they need to be an extension of your Brand. Using your business colors, logo, tagline and contact information can be an effective way to stay in the minds (and hearts) of your prospects and clients. For example, an alternative energy company whose colors are green and yellow might have a fleet of Hybrid vehicles painted (tastefully) in the company colors, with the logo and tagline clearly visible. Your physical location should also have signs, which visually represent your company, as well as waiting rooms which convey your visual image. A good example of this is a commercial olive tree nursery, whose logo was an olive branch with leaves in (predictably) olive greens and golds. Double glass doors were etched with the logo. On an 80 square foot area in the entry, the concrete floor was dyed with the logo. The room was created to bring the outdoors in, and not only permeate everything with the brand, but make the visitor feel as if they had been transported to an ancient olive farm in Catalonia.
The use of video to brand your business is an essential part of your marketing efforts. The majority of people are primarily visual learners – meaning that they understand and retain information more quickly and for a longer period if they can see it illustrated in pictures. Your brand – the combination of all the elements we’ve discussed here – should be seamlessly integrated into your video presence. Video can visually tell a story – the story of your business and the promise you give your customers. You can make yourself memorable by hiring a professional Videographer who understands the concept of Inbound Marketing.
Do you use a jingle on your radio or television commercials? Have it designed especially for your business by a professional Sound Design firm who specializes in ‘audio imaging’ and use this in your advertising and in your podcasts. A well-designed piece of music will help personify your business. People should hear it and think of your business every time.
If you pay attention to each and all of the components which, make up your business ‘brand’, you will reach your target audience more often, capture and keep their attention, develop authority, and make your business memorable.
Phyllis Orzalli is a Graphic Designer and WordPress Website Designer/Creator. Unlike most web designers, she saw the advantage of having a degree in Graphic Design as well as Communication Design. She has extensively studied visual marketing influences, including the manner in which we respond to visual stimuli and how the human brain perceives a visual hierarchy. A fascination with technology and trends ensure that Phyllis will always be at the cutting edge of visual communication.
Click Here for the difference between a graphic artist and graphic designer