Quality offer of products or services: check. Bullet-proof business plan: check. Solid market strategy: check. But how about your brand identity, is it by the book? Are all requirements met to persuade your potential customers that you’re the partner they’re looking for? Is your brand convincing and visually captivating?
Tell an engaging story
… that attracts the attention
Does your brand have a story? Some brand stories are so well-known that they’ve become part of popular culture. We all know the story behind Facebook, how Mark Zuckerberg came up with the idea as a student. Or how Richard Branson founded virgin at an equally young age. We’ve seen their companies and products evolve, and it’s almost like we know them – we’ve made an emotional connection.
Brand stories for consumer goods can be just as enthralling. Is there any marketer who hasn’t felt sympathy for their marketing peers over at Samsung, managing the rollout of the Galaxy Note 7?
… that touches an emotional chord
But brand stories aren’t just for companies with rags-to-riches plot lines and high-profile CEOs, or consumer goods that are combustible enough to end up in the news. Even in the B2B environment, people seek an emotional connection with the products and services they purchase and use. Brand stories create and strengthen that emotional connection.
… that highlights your added value
So what’s your story? Have you ever given any thought to that?
Start by thinking about how your product or service adds value and helps people.
- Does it help them do something more easily, or more cost-effectively, or faster?
- Does it help their business increase revenues?
- Perhaps your product or service benefits multiple stakeholders – by helping hospitals treat patients more effectively, for example, does it help more patients to sooner receive the care they need?
In other words: Does your technology help your customers help their customers in some way?
… that makes you unique
Then think about why your product or service is uniquely suited to helping in this way. No other company does it better because ________. Fill in the blank, and your brand story’s starting to take shape.
… and tell it over and over again
Your brand story is part of your brand identity. Share it on your website, in your marketing collateral, even in the boilerplate in your press releases. Switch between long and short versions, depending on your medium and audience.
Appearance does matter
… and there’s a lot to see
The story behind your brand has taken shape? Then it’s time to shift your attention to your visual identity. Isn’t your visual identity just your logo and a letterhead? Well, it is, but it’s also a whole lot more.
Think about all of the opportunities you have to highlight your visual brand ID – websites, business cards, office décor, digital and printed brochures and newsletters, signage, trade show booths, banners, products, product packaging, t-shirts, pens, mugs and other swag … the list is practically endless.
… and demands ready-made imagery
Given all the different places and formats where your brand might appear, it’s important to figure out in advance how your visual identity should be used in all instances. It’s also important to have all the right formats and graphic elements at hand so you can easily provide vendors and colleagues with the files and images they need.
… and goes beyond shape and colour
So beyond a logo and a letterhead, what should your visual brand identity include?
These are the key elements:
- Logo → This might be your company name only, or a graphic along with your name, or just a graphic. You’ll need a horizontal version, a vertical version, and a black & white version.
- Fonts/typefaces → These are for your logo, and for all marketing materials, websites, signage and company correspondence.
- Colors → You’ll want a first and secondary color palette, which you will use for just about everything, including the paint on the walls at your HQ.
- Graphic elements → These might be swishes, swirls, lines, circles, images, or photos.
- A photo style → Your photos don’t have to all look the same, but it’s best if they are similar in style, ie. high key or low key, black & white, close-ups of faces or wide angle shots … a similarity in style will unify all of the images you use in your marketing collateral.
… and looks better in 1 piece
As you develop your brand identity, one of the most important deliverables will be your style guide. This extremely-detailed book will contain specifications and rules that outline exactly how your logo, typefaces, imagery, photography, etc., should be used, with all the information your graphic designers and co-workers need to use your visual brand elements.
Let us help you
It sounds complicated, but in the hands of the right marketing specialist, the process is quite smooth, from drawing up an engaging story that strikes an emotional chord with potential customers to creating a visual identity that perfectly embodies your company’s spirit and message.
Living Stone becomes the partner of your choice to advise you and guide you towards a branding and market positioning that are perfectly aligned with your target customers’ demands and expectations? Then you might qualify to enjoy the SME wallet.
Find out how Living Stone created a new brand design for Tobania by defining its business story and affirming a strong, compelling message from it before delving into logos, colors, designs and similar visual tools to drive the rollout.