For people who are starting a business (and those who already have one) it’s important to know how to properly use your brand. Branding is more than just having a logo you slap on each graphic for your business. Beyond having a logo, it is important to take care that your brand values are reflected in all of your graphics and advertising components.
Branding is the process of building a comprehensive graphical visualization of your company and includes the following phases: creation, implementation, development and consolidation. It must carry implicit emotional components that will help create a relationship between consumers and your brand, which, in time, will take us to the final phase of the branding process: consolidation.
But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the creation phase. Phase one should take into account the following:
From the beginning (if possible), the designer with whom you’re working must determine the color palette for your logo. Having a pallette ready saves a ton of time when designers start working on a graphic. The colors in your palette should harmonize with the colors of the logo, but that does not mean you must always use this color palette. There will be exceptions where other colors must be used, but it is important to have your basic colors decided, so the brand you eventually build can be easily recognized by consumers, which is one of the main objectives of branding.
Like colors, your brand’s primary fonts must be selected according to the image you want to create. For example, it is not advisable to use a decorative typeface for an insurance brand; a serif typeface would be much more appropriate and reflective of an insurance company’s brand values and business objectives. A decorative font used in this scenario would be difficult to read and confuse consumers who just want to know what the coverage they’re buying includes. A serif font is more serious and professional, emphasizing a message of clarity, professionalism
Adopt a style early on and stick to it consistently. Consistency strengthens brand recognition. If you change it up all the time, consumers won’t remember the brand because they see a different logo or typeface or color scheme every time they see your materials. They’ll think it’s a different company every time, at least at first glance, which is often all you’ll get from Internet users.
In short, the materials mentioned above can be found in a brand identity manual, if your company has one. If you have a brand but do not have a manual yet, you should make it a priority to create, critique, and finalize a brand manual. If you already have it, you’re on track to successful brand recognition.
Now, with a well-defined brand identity in mind and materials available for use, you can move on to the implementation phase, where you should see the work of the first phase reflected in graphics and other advertising materials. That is to say, you should see the values of the company reflected in these materials. If not, your company may be in trouble. You could lose potential customers if your brand does not reflect their values, putting your company at a disadvantage to competitors who have clearer messaging.
Keep in mind the fact that an inconsistent brand lacks the ability to differentiate itself from the competition, hindering and endangering the business’ development: its ability to gain new customers and retain them.
Throughout the development and implementation process, it is important to give and receive feedback as an organization. During the final consolidation phase, pay close attention to the reactions of your customers, as they will give you insight into where your brand is positioned in their minds. Your goal is top-of-mind awareness of your brand. You’ll need to make adjustments to optimize your impact on your target market based on their reactions. Eventually, you’ll reach your ultimate goal: instantaneous brand recognition!