Express Your Brand & Create a Visual IdentityUnderstanding how to present your company's promise and value can be one of the most difficult aspects of brand development. Not only have you spent an extensive amount of time identifying the purpose behind your products and services, but also with your business model and processes. I recommend you don't overthink this aspect and to use all of the information you now have organized to make a executive decision. Allow me to help you ice this cake..
Expressing Your Brand.
As my recent podcasts have touched on, a lot goes into the development of a brand. You can’t simply design a logo, implement a catch phrase, and wait for the customers to swarm. Especially this day in age. You need a strong set of core competencies, a promise, a purpose, and a clear value potential customers can see. In other words, you need to show people why you’re worth their time and money instead of telling them why they should use you. Express your brand accordingly and the proof can be in your pudding.
When it comes to expressing your company, you should focus on committing to the aforementioned characteristics – as well as be consistent with what you express. No matter what you promote, share, or tell, it’s imperative that you establish a genuine look and feel for your brand. After all of the time you’ve put into solidifying your message, I’d hate to see you confused your prospective audience with presentations that lack cohesion.
Not only should your audience be able to paint of picture of their anticipated experience, but they should be able to clearly understand the value you plan on providing them with. This should be carefully considered with the first brand expression, the name
Naming Your Business with Clarity in Mind.
Although it may be tempting to establish a company with a name that means something to you, I’d highly recommend avoiding this. Not only can some interpretations be offensive, but you could end up being perceived as cheesy or low quality. Now, I’m not saying that you’ll ruin your chance at success, but a crafty and clear name tends to stick with consumers best. For example, if you love the rodeo, don’t name your extermination company “Yee Haw Exterminator.” Try something like “Buckin’ Bugs” or “Pesty Roundup.” Be creative with it and make sure you consider your customers over your personal humor first.
When finalizing a name, try to organize all of your core competencies and allocate corresponding adjectives that might help you during the thought process. If you keep your values and company purpose close to your vest, then it shouldn’t be too difficult to express your brand or for something to click. Once you’ve narrowed down the choices, use your branded persona to determine which names actually fit the human-like characteristics you’ve labeled your company with. (If you’re not sure what a brand persona is, click the link for the podcast)
If you still have a few choices, narrow things down even more by identifying which name is easier to say or understand. I’d even suggest looking up domain names or seeing if there are any other companies with similar names that might hinder your recognition or credibility. Last but not least, take the time to finalize a name that’s unique and memorable. At the end of the day, you want to express your brand in a way that’s memorable and easy to trust.
Once you’ve named your company, practice communicating the name and it’s associated values and purpose. This will help you determine if the presentation works and isn’t something that can be misinterpreted over time.
Express Your Brand with Visual Identity
Now that you’ve solidified your purpose, promise, value, vision, competencies, and name – it’s time to figure out how you truly want to present all of this information. A company name is only part of the presentation, so it’s important to find a symbol or icon that flows into your branded title.
Some companies are fine without an iconic graphic, but establishing a memorable logo should be on the forefront either way. Don’t overthink this though, you want your logo to look great small (like on a business card) and large as if it were on a storefront.
Once you’ve determined the basics of your distinctive logo or symbol, it’s time to start creating a visual identify. Although your logo’s main function is to establish your identity, there are a number of other elements that round out your visual branding efforts. Here are a few I’d recommend considering for starters:
- Typefaces – This is the distinctive font, typographic treatment, and style of your copy. Whether you’re publishing on your website, through print media, on a business card, or even in an email – all of these settings should be cohesive. If you want to take things a step further, you can also implement a template (outline and position) for company letters, emails, blog posts, social media posts, envelopes, etc.. The stronger your differentiation is, the more likely you are to be remembered. Taking the time to express your brand through copywriting specifics can really take awareness to the next level.
- Imagery Standards – This refers to specific photographs or illustrations and what perspective they’re from. This also pertains to the editing process and the way each image is presented. Do you use black and white with colorful text? Are all of the images high contrast or high resolution? Do you try to relay the perspective of someone of do you prefer panoramic views and landscapes? All of these elements play a role in the consistency and recognition of your business.
- Tone & Voice Guidelines – This is one of my favorite brand expressions. If you’ve developed a brand persona, then this is something you’ve probably already begun deciphering. Tone refers to the way you say something, voice is how you say it. Some brands prefer to have a very direct and authoritative voice that’s motivational – while others prefer to be soft spoken and encouraging. The best way to begin formulating your tone and voice is to organize adjectives (or terms) that you believe fit the value propositions of your brand. Go through them all and notate when are where you’d like to use each. Not only does this help with training but allows you to truly establish your brand’s persona. Although I believe every brand should be unique in the way they present themselves, this is inevitably up to you and how well you know your audience. Again, consistency here only creates recognition and drives trust.
Even if you only implement a few of these branding elements into your development process, I think you’ll be happy with the progress you’ve made. As someone who spent an awfully lot of time formulating my company, I can tell you it’s a rewarding feeling in the long run. Especially when pivots become inevitable and you don’t have the time to completely rebrand your company.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by! Hopefully this article helps you express your brand more effectively – remember to always present well!
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