“The stronger the dialog, the stronger the brand; the weaker the dialog, the weaker the brand.” Larry Webber
I used to think, when you have a reasonable story to tell, along with a catchy, smart name, one was doing quite well in the branding process. However, there are many other smaller elements which need attention to develop a consistent and strong dialog between your customer and business. The key word to summarize today’s post is consistency. Without it, one could pour millions of dollars into brand development and yield very small returns. Consistency builds trust, which inevitably takes your business to the next level. Looking or saying something different every day confuses your target audience. We need to think through the finer details with a fine tooth comb to ensure that our projections in the workplace as well as the market place are aligned.
A couple of key brand elements are:
1. Logos & Word-Marks: In today’s information rich world, we are constantly bombarded with advertising messages. I prefer word-marks over logos. The reason being, I would rather a potential customer remember our name, rather than a logo. In some cases however, logos work well. My first company had a very interesting logo of intertwined rings, signifying the bond between our agency and our customers. A lot of our customers remembered the logo, and forgot the name of our company which was more complicated. I learnt my lesson the hard way.
2. Tag-Lines: Often, well crafted tag-lines can convey a business philosophy or company focus in a most succinct manner. Let’s take Mercedez and BMW for example. To differentiate themselves from the prestige appeal of Mercedez, BMW chose the tag “Defining Innovation”. That one tag line has the ability to tell potential customers about their positioning strategy, competitive edge and key differentiating factor when deciding between the two. I am not a fan of long winded tag lines. Keep them short, focused and to the point. They need to be consistent with the image you want to portray.
3. Colors: In the past, if someone had talked about the importance of colors, in relationship to the persona a company wanted to portray, chances are, I would not have paid too much attention to it. It is only recently that I have been paying greater attention to the importance of something as simple as color selection. Another lesson I learned the hard way, stay away from gradient based colors when you are designing logos or word-marks. These create a lot of problems when printing on different colored backgrounds. Choose a color you feel reflects your business’ persona. Research how different colors put us in different emotional states, and decide what state you would like your customer to be in. Another piece of advice, don’t choose Red or Blue, choose a pantone color whose shade will always be consistent.
4. Typography: In order to maintain consistency, decide from the very beginning, which font to use for the website, marketing material, emails, invoices, newsletters and any other communication that you may have with customers and internally. Avoid changing font styles on a whim, this is not recommended! Pay attention to minor details and make sure that everything has some baseline logic, and is in accordance to your brand personality & identity.
I would recommend getting help from a creative design firm, if this skill set is not available in the team. I believe these are necessary expenses and need to be incurred to ensure that the brand is built on solid foundations. It helps to remain consistent, and to understand why a certain color or font was selected. All of these elements, along with the factors discussed in earlier posts, provide a basic structure and help start the thinking process about the importance of brand building.
Since we were talking about BMW and their “Defining Innovation” tag line I thought this video will help get across, how all the elements come together to create something truly memorable.