The term “brand” is one that you often hear thrown about, and has been used in so many different ways that we can sometimes lose its meaning.
Originally, the word “brand” was used to indicate the mark cattle ranchers would place on their cows to differentiate them from cows belonging to other ranchers. Over time the meaning has evolved – while it has always been associated with logos and symbols that represent your company, it now also can include the underlying perceived values and truths of your organization. Or, in the most basic sense, it can be everything and anything that represents your company as well as everything and anything that people think about your company.
How can we start to create the branding we want?
When looking at what you want your customers to perceive as your brand, you need to decide what the important values of your company are. Do you want your customers to know about your professionalism and your reliability? Or are you more concerned with your customers knowing your success rate as selling properties, or that your focus is solely on premium or commercial properties?
Focus on what is most important that people know about your company when looking at how you want to represent your business.
If a brand is what other people think about my company, why are design and marketing still important?
Design and marketing are still an important part in getting brand familiarity across to the public. Working with designers and marketers can help you create a strategy to develop the brand that you want your company to have. These are the people who are going to be able to help you develop the tools to create and support your company’s brand.
Why is brand consistency important?
Consistency with the messages that you send out to the public are is a big part of building your brand. Whether it’s a blog post, an advertisement, or even just an update on Twitter – you always want to be supporting your values. Sending conflicting messages out can confuse your customers and actually negate the time and money that you’ve already put into building your brand.
Consistency with imagery is just as important. The phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words” is used for a reason – pictures can help convey ideas and feelings that can support the messages you are bringing across.
Consistency with logos, fonts, icons and symbols help potential customers relate all the different messages they are seeing, and help people remember that all the messages they are receiving are coming from the same source.
How can we create brand consistency?
This is where a style guide can come in handy. If you don’t have one yet, I definitely recommend that you take the time to work with someone who can help you develop a set of brand guidelines.
If you already have a style guide at your disposal – familiarize yourself with it. It’s meant as a tool to help you develop a brand for your company.
Style guides can be used to remind you, your employees, and anyone who may be working to develop some of your marketing materials (such as your website) how your company is to be represented. Oftentimes, a style guide will include how your logo can (and cannot) be used, as well as how fonts, imagery and colours should be used. This is important to help build materials in a manner that can best build and support your brand.
A brand is everything that your customers perceive your company to be. Giving them a positive, consistent representation of your company will help you build your brand, and help you build your business.
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