Building relationships between your small business and potential clients, maintaining relationships with existing clients, and showing that you are a consistent expert in your industry that your customers can trust is what ultimately drives your success. Without consistency and trust, your business relationships can suffer just like any other relationship would without them.
In this series of blog posts, we have taken a deeper look at both logos and photography and how making sure that you work with a dedicated creative professional to produce those elements helps keep your business’s collateral consistently high quality. In reviewing both of those topics, we have been leading up to the broader topic of brand standards and how maintaining them with the help of creative professionals like us can help you reach your goals.
The most important piece of the branding puzzle is your logo. There are hundreds of brands that I could show you a logo for and immediately you would know what company that logos belong to, even if you couldn’t read the name of the company. We know when we’re seeing an Apple store from across our favorite mall despite the fact that none of their storefronts say “Apple” on them at all. But why? It all starts with consistent use of a logo or logomark for your business. Apple has been using the same logomark (the apple with the bite taken out of it) since 1984. Many of us have seen that same logomark so many times throughout our life that it’s become almost second nature to us that if we see that image, we automatically know that what we’re looking at is something that Apple produced. This is called brand recognition and big businesses like Apple spend a lot of money every year making sure that their company’s marketing and products are cohesive to help drive this facet of their marketing efforts.
If you have a logo designed by a creative professional, you’re already well on your way. But part of using that logo effectively is making sure that it is represented consistently every time it is placed onto a piece of marketing. As much as possible, your logo should not be altered in any way once it’s been finalized. Never let a novice designer or marketing professional skew the shape of your logo to make it fit better on a piece of collateral they’ve designed for you. Your logo and the power it has to drive brand recognition is so important that the rest of the collateral, be it a postcard, web banner or anything else, should be built around your logo and not the other way around.
Aside from your logo, there are still a couple of other things that you need to be sure are consistent if you want to drive your own brand recognition with your current and potential clients. Fonts seem like a pretty inconsequential thing to most people. We have a lot of fonts to choose from on our computer and some of us are happy just using the default Helvetica or Times New Roman that pops up in Word. Or maybe you’re putting together a one-off, fun email or flyer and you want to use a font like Comic Sans or Papyrus to add a creative element to your collateral. This is a big mistake and something any seasoned creative professionals will tell you is a bad idea when it comes to maintaining consistency in your branding efforts.
When we produce a logo and a set of brand standards for our clients to help drive their use of that brand, we provide them with a list of a couple of different fonts they should be using consistently across both print and digital efforts that compliment their logo and the way they communicate with their audience. We don’t do this to limit our clients’ creativity in their marketing. We do this to help build trust in our clients as experts by the audience they are targeting with their marketing. If your logo is consistent, and the way your content appears on your marketing is consistent, you’re well on your way to driving good brand recognition for your business. There are other ways to make a piece of marketing stand out than by using fun fonts to try and spice up your marketing. Use some good, creative custom photography or fun design elements to make it pop.
So now that your logo and your fonts are all consistent, what other elements can help to drive your business’s brand as unique and recognizable within your industry? Colors are what really help draw your audience’s eye to your marketing so they can learn more about you and what you do. Without it, you’d likely pique nobody’s interest enough to give your marketing collateral a second thought. But it’s not enough to just use color in your advertising, you need to use it consistently if you want to help it stick. You know you’re seeing a bottle of Coca Cola in the convenience store as you walk by, even if you’re not looking for or paying attention to it directly. That’s because the famous Coca Cola red they use on all of their products and marketing is bright, bold, and consistent. They don’t just use any shade of red they feel like on their marketing, they use the exact same color every single time.
Your colors are what make your brand come to life. Even if you decide that you want to stick with the elegance of a black and white aesthetic, you are still making a conscious decision to use a consistent color palette on your collateral that will help maintain your business’s brand integrity and recognition over time. In those brands standards that we create for our clients, we make sure to provide them with the exact color codes for their color palette to use in either print and digital reproduction. This helps to ensure that every time their business creates a new piece of marketing collateral, those exact same colors from their brand palette are being used.
By following these steps to make sure your brand standards are being met and satisfied each time a new piece of marketing is created for your business, you are driving towards the same high quality approach to branding as larger companies who have spent decades and millions of dollars to perfect their own. Why does working with a dedicated creative professional matter? Because we know exactly how to use all of these pieces to the marketing puzzle effectively and consistently to help drive your business’s brand integrity and recognition within your industry.