I think branding is a business’s most important asset.
And, as I’ve detailed with steps 1-4 in this series, branding is waaaaay more than a pretty little logo slapped up on a slick website.
You’ve created your unique business vision, discovered your ideal customer, created a positioning statement, and started writing your copy. Wunderbar!
Now it’s time to correctly align your brand and visual branding elements. And do so in a way that clearly represents your business. To start focusing on key elements that will showcase your brand.
Here’s a list of items to take a close look at.
- Company name
- Color palette
- The tone of your copy
- And any other materials you plan to use to showcase your business
Do these elements reinforce your primary message? Do you think they’ll resonate with your ideal client?
With each item above, go back to your business vision, ideal customer profile, and positioning statement, for everything you produce must support your core message and be created to appeal to your ideal client.
Note: If you don’t possess design skills, this is the time to bring in a professional who does – a graphic designer. But the key is to have the following inline and ready to go before you talk with them…
Let’s dive into your primary visual branding elements.
I love graphic designers. You need them! And when I started my own business, graphic design was my focus, so I know how crucial it is to a business’s success. But, a logo, business card, or brochure do not define your brand.
Your business brand—its identity—is really how your customers view your business. And what they see is a combination of website copy, including the main messaging on your site’s home page, your logo and tagline, copywriting, emails, your social media channels, blog posts, podcasts, videos, etc.
You get the picture, right? Your brand is a fusion of elements but it needs to be a mix that works to clarify what you do. That is why initial steps like writing a positioning statement are so vital to your marketing success.
Now that I’ve made my point, let’s take a look at your key branding elements…
1. Company Name
A name that conveys what you do and appeals to the right people can help you more than you might think.
But the most important thing to keep in mind is this—does your company name support the brand? Does it help clarify what you do? Have you simply slapped on a name or have you given some thought to the process?
If your name has been around a while and is very recognizable, you might consider keeping the name and just creating a tagline.
If you want to create a new name or think you need to change your name, this post on how to pick the perfect name for your business will help.
2. Logo Design
If you’re creating a company logo it’s very important that you hire a professional graphic designer to do this right. As long as the logo supports your brand and doesn’t look like a $5 logo, you should be in pretty good shape. But please do yourself a favor and hire a professional to do this right.
If you’ve created a positioning statement the type of logo you need will be much clearer. In fact, all the work you do up front will make all your visual branding elements easier to create AND they will become that much more effective.
A great company logo can mean a basic, clean, but appealing design.
It can include an icon or simply be font-based.
A basic play on a font can work extremely well. ReadWrite.com is a good example of this, as is Moz.com. Or look at big brands like FedEx and Amazon. Fairly basic but fully aligned with the brand.
Consider a colorful, icon-based logo. Twitter anyone 🙂
And some logos make creative use of negative space like The Guild of Food Writers.
Logos are one component of branding, but obviously a very important one. Doing the upfront work, especially positioning, will ensure you have a logo that truly represents your business.
If it’s used correctly, color can be a powerful part of your brand, especially if it’s used strategically.
You probably know that certain colors have a physiological impact and this impact can work to your advantage. I won’t go deep into the psychology of colors but I will point you in the direction of a few good articles on this very topic…
How to Use the Psychology of Colors When Marketing
Color meaning and symbolism: How to use the power of color in your branding
And, one of my favorite tools when combining colors, Adobe Kuler. Our site is primarily orange and gray/black, but I’ve used a complementary blue/teal (discovered via Adobe Kuler) as a highlight color, for buttons, etc.
4. Print design
Start with your business card…
I know, it’s 2018, but some old school things don’t die easily. And one horse and buggy brand tool is the good ol’ business card. It doesn’t matter if you’re meeting someone for lunch or attending a conference, if you’re not armed with business cards how are you going to represent your company?
When you create them, don’t make it an afterthought. Put time and attention into the design of your cards. Use a quality paper stock, hire a designer to create them, and work with a good printer.
Then move to…
Business papers, brochures, and other print materials…
Letterhead and envelopes are certainly not dead.
You probably still need a small brochure as a hand out for certain situations.
You might even consider a sales folder or kit for new customers.
And, direct mail is still a very effective way to drum up new business, so maybe a postcard mailer will help you more than you think.
The important thing is to take a look at all traditional print options, decide which are best for your biz (business cards are a must), hire a professional graphic designer to create them, and then a quality print shop.
And with any visual branding piece ask yourself…
1. What do I need to design?
2. How can I improve it? What is missing?
3. Does it reinforce our brand?
Get busy answering these questions, brainstorming ways to improve your visual branding, then hiring a pro to get it done.
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Do you want to bring your brand to life? Taking a few minutes to complete our brand audit will help you think about your current marketing efforts and what might need to change. It will also help me suggest several ways to improve your branding and marketing now: Brand audit.
After you complete the form, we’ll contact you to schedule a time to go over the results and see how we can help.