Most businesses struggle to set themselves apart in a crowded market. We all live in a time where unique products are few and far between and almost everything has already been done. With consumers being subject to hundreds of different messages a day and having endless choices when it comes to products and services, it can be difficult to stay ahead of your competitors.
To overcome this problem, you must build an established brand. By improving your
branding, you’re selling a story that your customers want to be a part of. This is what
will make them want to invest in your products and services, over your competitors.
The key to a great brand is creating a strong visual identity that is consistent and reinforced across all of your marketing collateral. Ikea is a great example of a brand that uses consistency throughout its branding, with its iconic logo written large on the side of its blue buildings and even down to its pseudo-Swedish product names. Their use of distinctive colour is instantly recognisable and this results in an incomparable increase in brand awareness for the company. Nailing their branding has had a hugely positive impact on the company and it is now known as one of the most recognisable brands in the world.
Another example would be McDonald's which reinforces its brand at every opportunity, is famous for its golden arches logo and even has a simple whistled tune in its adverts that immediately says McDonald's. Consistent uniformity is key to their brand which is familiar wherever you are in the world. No matter what branch or place in the world you are, McDonald's will provide the same experience, quality and food.
You may not be planning to create a global brand like Ikea or McDonalds but to help you grow your business, we’re going to provide you with advice to help your marketing to be consistent and which reinforces your brand. This recognition in the reader’s mind will set you apart and ensure your print marketing converts.
The importance of consistency
Inconsistency is arguably the number one mistake that many businesses make in their marketing efforts. Creating content and collateral that is inconsistent can confuse your customers and cause them to shop elsewhere.
When your brand is consistently represented across all of your printed marketing, customers become familiar with your brand and begin to prefer you over time. Coca- Cola is a fantastic example of a brand that has a unified presence across all of its marketing. It’s recognizable and consistent, and for this reason, the brand has become a household name.
Brand Guideline Documents How do you know your logo is used correctly at all times? There is a great risk that it will be used incorrectly, whether one of your employees uses it in their documents and stretched the logo out of proportions or someone takes a low-resolution logo from social media or your website and uses that versions. I have even known printers scan a business card and use that instead of having a decent original. So, with the ongoing risk of your brand being ‘bastardised’, how do you ensure coherence across a broad range of marketing? The best way is to empower your graphic designer, printer, and your marketing team, by setting out a clear, brand guideline document for them to follow.
Essentially a list of rules for your company branding, your brand guideline document dictates every aspect of your visual identity to ensure your presence is invariable. Studies have shown that consistently presented brands are 3-4 times more likely to have excellent brand visibility than those with inconsistent brands (Lucidpress, 2019). Therefore, your guidelines must be clear and reflect every aspect of your identity.
A good branding document should include clear information about your brand’s colour palette and typography. Your colour palette dictates every piece of your printed collateral, so you don’t want to misuse it. Identifying the correct code for your print colour (CMYK), your digital colour (RGB and HEX) and your single colour print (PANTONE) can help your designer classify the exact shade, brightness, and hue that you want to be associated with your brand. This ensures that your colours are consistent and don’t deviate in the creation of new collateral.
Deciding on a successful colour palette for your brand can be difficult. Colour has an emotional impact on your audience and can affect how your brand is perceived. Steering clear of colours that are hard to reproduce is a good place to start. Metallic or neon colours will be difficult to reproduce in third party publications or digitally printed items which will use CMYK colours only. This may harm the way your brand is perceived. Researching colour psychology, and choosing a colour that reflects your brand traits can help ensure you send the right messages to your audience.
Typography is far more than just the font you use in your company logo. Your branding document should include every font that you use within your printed collateral, as well as details of alignment and spacing. It’s advised to list several fonts within your brand guidelines that can be utilised within your logo, tagline, online presence, and printed collateral.
Company Logo You may be familiar with the appearance of your logo, but are you aware of how it will look in different environments? Your logo has been created to exemplify your brand, your vision, and your mission, so it’s important to ensure its always displayed correctly. Creating different versions of your logo will help maintain the principles of your brand and eliminate the risk of poor renditions being utilised. In your brand guidelines, you should include a four colour logo, a white version, an adaption that works well for social media, as well as a rendition appropriate for use in your website header. For each version, provide a vector for professional use that will be a full resolution at any size. Showing visual examples, accompanied by a description explaining when to use each one, can make it comprehensively clear and guide your Graphic Designer into ensuring your brand is undeviating.
Your logo may not be readable at smaller sizes or may benefit from a simpler version to enhance clarity. Clear guidelines for use at different sizes will help get this right.
Creating a clear brand identity is time consuming and hard work. Think of your brand identity as your company’s personality. It is how your prospects recognize you and begin to trust you, making it vital that you get it right. Hiring a professional Graphic Designer to produce your logo, including its multiple versions, and tying it all into a branding document can make it a simple and straightforward task for you. When producing printed collateral for your company, is vital to make sure you get all of your assets from your Designer. Store these in a safe place so that you are able to provide these to any suppliers when requested.
The importance of reinforcement
Not investing in creating greater brand awareness, could be detrimental for your business. Reinforcing your brand is vital for ensuring your customer’s positive attitudes and beliefs are sustained. This makes your prospects and customers much more likely to recall and recognise your brand when they require your products and services.
Advertisement To help your business grow, you need to ensure that your brand is everywhere. Advertisement is one of the simplest and most common tools for brand reinforcement. Investing in printed marketing collateral such as leaflets, flyers, posters, and business cards, and ensuring your brand has a strong digital presence, can ensure your brand is deep-rooted in the minds of your customers. The Marketing Rule of 7 states that a prospect needs to see your messaging at least seven times before they’ll take action and invest in your products or services. So, ensuring your brand is showcased across multiple platforms and mediums is critical for hitting customer touchpoints.
Colour Consistency Colour consistency is vital when it comes to marketing your business. Colours are more than just a visual aid; they have a considerable impact on the way your customer feels about your product or services. Ensuring your use of colour is consistent, and creating a colour palette for your brand, can help create a strong visual identity. Persistently using the same colours, throughout all of your collateral, can reinforce your brand and increase your brand recognition.
Many brands are known and recognised for their consistent use of colour. The orange used in EasyJet’s branding is recognisable and reflective of the feeling of enjoyment associated with going on holiday. Whereas, Coca-Cola’s red is a powerful, passionate colour that is used to add a memorable element to their brand. Your consistent use of your brand colours will strengthen your identity in your market and help you to stand out against your competition. Thus building trust, familiarity, and loyalty between you and your customers.
Maintaining a Consistent Brand One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is going off-brand to keep their content interesting. However, the key to ensuring positive brand reinforcement is ensuring that you don’t go off-brand. Consistency within all of your printed collateral helps establish brand recall and recognition and can improve favourability towards your business. Studies have shown that a consistently presented brand has an increased revenue of up to 23% (Forbes). Therefore, displaying a uniformed message across all of your collateral can help you succeed.
Promotional Merchandise Methods to reinforce your brand can stretch far beyond the realms of good design. Promotional merchandise can also offer an unrivalled opportunity to get your brand into the hands of your clients and prospects. Gifting promotional items to your clients through giveaways, or direct mail campaigns can increase customer satisfaction. A satisfied customer is much more likely to become a brand advocate, recommending your brand to their friends, family, and other business partners. Which can prove very advantageous for your business in the future. Promotional merchandise can also provide further touchpoints for your customer to come in contact with. Investing in branded workwear can help boost staff visibility and improve your customer’s impressions, with a licensed brand image. Displaying and using branded merchandise in your office, or the offices of your clients, can increase your brand awareness and thus improve the strength of your overall brand.
With the attention span of your potential customers dramatically decreasing, it is now more difficult than ever to create workable designs that grab attention. Hiring a Graphic Designer can ensure that your company’s marketing collateral is consistent, professional, and yields results for your business. Your Graphic Designer can help you create standardised design templates that can be used within all of your standard print collateral, ensuring that your brand is effectively reinforced. Creating consistency in this way will help you grow your business, by ensuring that your brand is remembered by your clients.
Branding is a powerful concept that can have a huge impact on your marketing efforts. Ensuring consistency, reinforcement, and professional eye-catching design amongst all of your collateral is key for building yourself a loyal audience who will always choose your products and services, over your competitors.
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