WRITTEN BY: ALISON JOSHI, DIRECTOR OF JWJ DESIGN
Big businesses invest thousands in to their brand image to make sure it’s consistent across all channels and communicates the right message to the right target market. As a small or medium business, we need to make sure we are portraying the right message to the right client. We may not have thousands to spend on marketing but there are some small things we can be doing to make a huge difference to how we are perceived.
You have a logo, do you have a brand?
You have invested a bit of money in getting a decent logo, but do you have a brand image with that? Do you know the difference between a logo and a brand?
In a previous blog post I have talked about this, but to be clear a logo is a symbol or mark that represents your business. A brand is your logo, fixed typefaces, colours, image style, service experience and tone of voice. All of these items need to remain consistent and fixed, whether you are creating a small ad in a local magazine to a social media post.
Create your brand assets
If you don’t have these items fixed yet just spend a bit of time putting them down in to a document you can refer back to when you want to create anything. Hopefully when your logo was created your designer told you what typefaces might make up your logo plus also the colour breakdowns. You can then decide on what other colours you might like to add to your palette, these colours could be complimentary and used as highlights to add more interest.
For typefaces it is good to have a headline typeface and a body copy typeface. Headline faces can be more interesting, whether its a script face or a big blocky face, it doesn’t matter but it should sit easily with your logo. For body copy try and go for something simple and easy to read. Large areas of script or italic faces are difficult to scan and read so people just won’t bother, think the simpler the better for body copy. The more creative faces can be used in your headlines and call out information.
Think about the style of imagery you want to use, do you want photographs or illustrations or a mix of both? Whatever route you choose try and make it original and keep it consistent. If you decide to use black and white imagery then keep to it. First Direct has created a strong brand image by keeping to a simple colour palette and black and white imagery. Stock images are a cheaper alternative to getting your own shots created but it is dangerous as you are using the same stock images as lots of other small businesses. Investing in a photographer for half a day can give you lots of original images to use as and when you like.
Tone of voice
Tone of voice can be a tricky one and you might need the help of a copywriter to ensure you are using the right language for your target base. If you are a B2C business you can often be a bit more relaxed in your tone when you talk about offers / promotions or what your business does. B2B clients need to be more professional and if your product is of a higher premium then the tone of language is key to make sure you are talking to the right target base. Too colloquial and you can cheapen your brand, too high end and you might make people think they can’t afford your services, getting it just right can be tricky but is key to your marketing.
Consistency, consistency, consistency
It is all about consistency and repetition. We often remember someone or something because of how it looks and if we keep on seeing that message over and over again then it will stay in that person’s brain if they like what they see and they connect with it.
We talk to clients/potential clients in many different ways depending on our type of business but here are a few areas that you can make sure are looking consistent:
• Business cards
• Social media posts
• Packaging of your product
The reason consistency is so important is because it is all about recognition in a saturated market. Many of us work in highly competitive fields and so when someone wants a nutritionist, accountant, graphic designer etc.. they come and talk to you as you are the first company that comes to mind. They trust you because you have taken the time and effort in making sure your business looks and feels right and so you are more than likely going to do the same with them and their business. We are an emotionally driven species, we often go with our gut feeling, “does that business look right, can I trust them?” Create a connection and hopefully you will establish a loyal client base that will go on and refer you.