Are you happy with the way that your brand is represented visually? As you will know, it’s important stuff. We all make go/no-go split-second decisions based on how things look – remember that house you didn’t buy because of the pebbledash?
And yet, lots of businesses do not make a big enough investment in the way in which they are visually represented. Trying to minimise costs here is not wise.
Just like Kirstie and Phil would tell you to make sure you declutter your home before it goes on the market, we’re here to tell you that getting the visual identity for your business sorted out is VITAL, before you start trying to sell things. And, if your business has been going a while, and is well-established, but, visually, your brand is somewhat lacking, it’s not too late, just get started from wherever you are now.
We know that for some people this is overwhelming, so as part of our mindful marketing series (Last week: content creation and the week before: social media, we have a set of 6 must-dos that you, er, must-do in order to get this organised.
Must-do number 1: Spend to save
Get your logo created by a proper graphic designer. Your daughter might be a whizz on Photoshop, but if she’s not a properly trained graphic designer she’s not going to be able to do justice to your precious business brand. Graphic designers know how to make things look ‘right’. This is not an area to save money. It’s an investment you have to make, just like buying a laptop or renting premises, so please get an experienced professional to provide you with the basics. The customer can somehow tell when you haven’t; a cheap and flimsy logo will subconsciously undermine his or her trust in you and might cost you business.
Must-do number 2: Get all the components
Just having the one basic logo is not enough, you will need lots of different versions of it for all different kinds of uses. If you need a checklist, here’s a past blog post that includes all the deets. Get all the bits you need upfront in case you encounter what I now call ‘The Bali Bomb’ (again you’ll have to read that previous article to find out what that is).
Must-do number 3: Ask for guidelines
Brand guidelines are like the safety card on a plane. You don’t need them until you REALLY need them and then you can’t do anything without them. This is where you keep all the critical information, like which font to use for your documents and the hex numbers for your colour palette. If you get your designer to create this upfront, when they first conceive your brand identity you’ll save your future self a whole heap of stress. You’ll probably find that you rarely refer to it yourself, but be happy in the knowledge that when you have to brief a new designer, web developer or VA, you’ll swerve 40 extra emails simply by sending them this reference guide at the outset.
Must-do number 4: Store it all online
Similar to number 3, once you have all this gubbins – logos, brand guidelines, font files etc – put them in a google drive or dropbox and leave them there. You’ll be super grateful to your past self every time you send the link to anyone who wants to reproduce your brand; this online resource saves heaps of time.
Must-do number 5: Build an image collection
These days, any business with a website or social media page (so pretty much all businesses) needs some kind of imagery to bring the brand to life. This may be in the form of photography, graphics or cartoons, but a cohesive collection of images will help to round out your brand and you can use them over and over again to represent your business and its ideas.
For our clients we put together an image bank, drawn from a blend of royalty free and paid for suppliers, mixed in with commissioned photography, if the client has the budget for this. We select images that have similar style, colour or themes so that they look like a ‘family’, to support the brand values and design style of the business. We keep them, again, in an online folder for any of our contractors or designers to use. If you invest the time upfront to do this, you’ll never be scraping about for a picture in the wee small hours again.
Must-do number 6: Stay the course
Once you have all this stuff assembled, be dogmatic in your use of it. Consistent and persistent use is they way to build a recognisable brand. Once you have generated a level of familiarity it will help your audience to start to trust in you and what you are providing. And, as you, I’m sure, know, no one will buy anything from someone they don’t trust. There’s no confidence trick here, you just need to make your content look the same, wherever it is appearing.
See….easy peasy, simple and organised. Please make it happen, or we can do it for you! Get in touch with us to find out how we have supported businesses with developing the brand identities that we’ve helped to create and roll-out over the last 3 years. Here’s one for example and here’s another and here’s a third.
Stay tuned for more Mindful Marketing, next time: List Building.