Whether you are a startup looking to define your brand or a well-established company wanting to breathe new life into yours, there are a number of key aspects to keep in mind. All too often, businesses settle for logos, color palettes, taglines, and other branding elements that simply look “pretty good” or read “pretty well.”
Your branding can have a HUGE impact on how your company, and the products and services you sell, are perceived. Pretty good is not good enough… you want, and need, GREAT! When defining or updating your branding, be sure that it is:
- Memorable — Obviously, ensuring that people can remember your brand should be your top priority. Eye-catching visual elements and text that is easily committed to memory are what you’re looking for.
- Unique — It goes without saying that your branding must set you apart from your competition. It should also differentiate you from non-competitors so that your prospects are not confused.
- Descriptive — It doesn’t help you if your branding is unique and memorable but people still don’t know what you do. If you are a veterinary supply company, having a logo that looks like a stylized zebra might make perfect sense. Not so much the case if you are a building supply company. Be sure that the images and words you choose help people understand what you offer.
- Simple — There is such a thing as being too descriptive! Yes, you want people to know what you do. No, you don’t want to try and tell the entire story in a logo or a tagline. Find that sweet spot where you are saying just enough for people to understand who you are without boring or irritating them.
- Authentic — The best branding accurately reflects what a company is truly about. What drives it, what it’s goals are—not what it ought to be or what it used to be. Before you even start down the path of creating or updating your brand, it’s wise to spend some time defining your core values and your mission statement, as these things can, and should, influence your visual identity.
- Appealing — While your branding should not be ONLY about looking or sounding good, those things are still important. Colors that clash, odd or mismatched shapes, poorly worded taglines, etc. can leave prospects with a less-than-positive first impression of your company. And yes, first impressions do matter!
- Universal — If there is any chance your company will one day be doing business outside of the U.S. (and for most companies, there is certainly a chance), you want to be sure that you understand how your branding will be perceived in foreign countries. There are countless marketing horror stories about how an innocent English tagline becomes embarrassing or offensive when rendered in a different language. (Call me some time and I’ll tell you my particular favorites!)
- Legally Yours — When done right, branding involves a significant amount of time and effort. Be sure that the identity you come up with doesn’t infringe on someone else’s intellectual property.
In the eyes of your prospects, especially those who have not yet engaged with you, your branding IS your company, so be sure to give careful consideration to all of the above. And if your company would benefit from the insights of an agency that has helped organizations establish and maintain impactful branding for more than 20 years, we'd be honored to help!