One of the foundational elements that we audit during a marketing consulting engagement is the company brand. Brand elements encompass the logo, company colours, how imagery is used and we check for consistency of application, appropriateness to the audience and if it accurately represents the company. Roughly half the time we find ourselves with enough inconsistencies that need to be addressed before we can move to other tactics because if we don’t get this right, other tactics can’t be completed properly.
Brand is an emotional or subjective connection with a company and its products or services and because of that it’s difficult to get a group of people together to agree on a logo. Many of the elements of a brand are subjective – someone may like blue while another on the team strongly dislikes blue. There is no valid business reason to move one way or another as those subjective elements of the brand have to come together in a way that builds the entire brand. Thus, we build the brand in stages from the ground up.
We first start with a brand personality. We run through an exercise to determine 3-5 adjectives that describe your company. Think of some common consumer brands and how you would describe them. For example, Disney would be described as familial, magical and fun and all elements of their experience for consumers support those adjectives. If most people agree, then the company has done a good job of defining and operating true to their personality.
Next we select a colour palette. We like to have 2-3 primary colours and then select up to 5 more that work well and have a compliment of bright and neutral colours to be used to highlight or tone down the visual representation of a company. Font is next – and we make sure we have an exciting web font as well as a complimentary common font that can be used in day-to-day documents.
Now we’re warmed up and are used to working collaboratively and making subjective decisions with a group. Its time to build a logo. We provide the brand elements we have just created to a designer or sometimes a group of designers via a logo contest – we have received great results from both. Then it’s refining the results we receive until we have a new logo. Trust the marketing consultant the designer and the personality you have created and try not to be too directive in the early stages of creation. In our experience, most logos are selected by intuition and then perfected. Most of the time, the logo is different than the expectations set by the group at the beginning.
The final element of the brand is imagery. Will you use stock or original photography? Or animation? Or a combination? If we are using stock photography, we like to provide a sample of 9-12 stock images that we feel match the brand personality, the company and/or industry and the customer personas. This allows us to quickly learn the direction of how the images will work and usually we can finalize this last element pretty quickly.
So now that you have all of the elements, what happens next? And why is it important? We use these elements to build the website, corporate videos and sales collateral. The consistency across each tactic reinforces the visual association with the company.
65 percent of the population consists of visual learners.1 which means that the majority of the population learns and responds to information visually. Therefore brand identity connects with the majority of the population. And, when taken in stages, it’s easy to get it right.
Contact us for help building your brand identity or other important foundational tactics or read past blogs.