It’s no secret that there are a million and one brands out there in every type of industry, and it’s also no secret that reaching through the clutter to grab the attention of your target audience is becoming more and more difficult.
On a daily basis we consume hundreds of pieces of information – videos, images, text, it’s a constant barrage of communication day in and day out, so if you’re a brand trying to connect with your customers, making a lasting impression can be hard.
Now more than ever branding and a strong brand identity is an important part of your marketing strategy – so if you are a small business with a small budget, how can you ensure your brand is getting noticed in the market place? Too easy. Let’s take a look at our 3 step guide to effective branding.
1. Create a branding style guide
You may not have heard of a style guide before, or you may think it’s only for big corporations, but the truth is any business can and should implement a brand style guide no matter how big or small.
Think of your brand style guide as your rule book. It’s basically a guide that can be given to business suppliers like your graphic designer, web designer, signage company and businesses you collaborate with, which outlines the rules about your brand.
What rules you may ask? All the necessary rules about how your brand looks – its visual identity. It will dictate your logo size and placement, your brand’s colour palette, approved fonts and any rules about iconography and photography. It can also contain information about printing and web based assets.
It may sound like a lot of work, but when you are working with a professional graphic designer to create your branding style guide, they will fill in a lot of the gaps and once it’s completed, you then have a document that sets the boundaries for your brand to always ensure branding consistency – keeping your brand strong and undiluted.
2. Have your brand assets handy
When working with third party suppliers such as graphic designers, signage companies, web designers and printers, it’s a good idea to have your brand assets handy to supply to them. This will not only save time and money, it will also mean there is no room for error, as they’re not having to recreate for example, your logo from scratch.
What should be included in your brand assets?
1. A high resolution version of your logo on a transparent background, also know as a vector file, or an outlined file.
2. High resolution font files.
3. A curated selection of your brand’s colours with CMYK, RGB or Pantone numbers.
4. A one pager on what not to do with your logo.
5. And of course your style guide.
3. Think about your brand’s personality
Whilst it’s important that there is consistency with how your brand looks, it’s also important that there is consistency with how your brand sounds. Where to start?
Think about your brand’s personality – start by jotting down the descriptive words you use to describe your business to people. Next, if your brand was a person, write down three personality traits that would best suit to describe your brand.
The next step is to build a plan around those key words. Outline your brand’s tone of voice (how it speaks), and what your brand sounds like across different mediums, such as your website and social media platforms. It’s helpful to include ‘word for word’ examples of how your brand speaks across different mediums, so you can refer to them when needed.
Understanding your brand personality will help you when you’re trying to communicate to your customers, or when you’re working with third party suppliers writing communication for your brand, as it ensures there is consistency with how your brand sounds when speaking to it’s customers.