Branding: “No, it’s not just a logo!”tl:dr; There are many elements to a successful business - from messaging to content, and right up there with the most important areas is the brand. 5 min read
There are many elements to a successful business that are also attributed to a successful website. From messaging to content, and especially the products or services you offer; getting these right before you plaster them on your website is key.
But right up there with the most important areas is the brand. And this is where so many businesses fail to see true value.
Brand is more than just a logo. Way more!
Branding is more than just design
Let’s start this consideration right at the most important part.
Branding is more than just the design. A good brand will actually lead you down a journey of tone of voice, core messaging and ideal customer persona. You’ll be introduced to words like ‘ideal avatar’ or ‘persona’. These words (and exploration activities) will steer you into explaining who you help and sell to, what they really care about, and why you do what you do.
Without fully understanding this, you’ll rarely get a brand to land and that links hand-in-hand to your offering, too.
Once you know who you help, how you do it, and what’s really ‘in it’ for your customers, you’ll then be able to match up your business to their needs … and that’s where a strong brand comes in really handy.
A brand (when done well) will be the magnetic force between buyer and seller because the business – the brand – has put in the groundwork to fully understand them and then translated that into a cool brand that they love.
Colour me, blue?
Of course, once you have the messaging right, you can then move onto visual design.
There’s so much psychology involved with colour. Certain colours can represent trust or authority, while other colours can signify ideas around being playful or fresh. Getting this part right really matters as you’ll be tapping into the foundations of the human mind.
Even if your customers have no idea about the power of colour, it still works on them! It’s innate. If you’re human (and not one of those bots crawling our website, hello there!), then colour makes you feel different emotions and act differently – and that matters in the world of visual communications.
As the famous designer, Wim Crouwel once said ‘if in doubt, I always use blue‘.
Your brand sets your colour palette
When you decide on your ideal colour, you’ll then need a colour palette to go with it. A colour palette is a bank of colours that work well together, with some used in more important places than others.
Contrary to how some people ‘tinker’ with their websites, you can’t just have any old colour shoved in any old place. And just because you like the colour green it doesn’t mean you can start using green buttons everywhere. These days, many bespoke websites allow you to drop in the colour palette which will help you stay consistent across your website as you add new pages and posts.
Your colour palette will of course live around your logo, and you’ll have some colours for other areas of your brand, too. But the colours from your ‘brand’ aren’t always in your logo. Just looking at a logo as the brand is like some form of colour blindness for business in some respects!
As we mentioned, there’s more to your brand than the logo – way more.
This is not a typo – it’s a typography section
Oh yes, even the kerning (the spacing between letters or characters) is set by the brand. The way your words flow on the eye might not be the thing you dream about, but branding folk really get off on this stuff. The fonts and typography will be set at the point your brand is created and this should mean that all future graphics, headers, and more will follow this style.
The difference between a brand that places importance on the consistency of this stuff and one that doesn’t is huge. It’s the difference between a big company and a small one … but a small one can easily be ‘on brand’ and look way more professional by getting it right.
“It’s all elements-a-varying, darling!”
Invest in quality elements. Please. The design elements that can be used across your website and printed or digital material can really lift a brand to the next level. Having some little icons designed with your brand can be the difference between a website that is on brand, to one that simply looks like ‘Just Another Bloomin’ WordPress Website’!
Elements can be used on business cards, leaflets, website banners, digital graphics, social media videos … the list goes on. Keeping it all consistent doesn’t just look great either – it continues the strong brand message created by someone who knew what they were doing. And if you look like you know what you’re doing with your branding, you’ll be considered to be more trustworthy in all areas of business.
Seriously … it’s the little things that matter with branding and not just the logo. OK?
To be a true Jedi, you’ll need a guide young padawan
Get some brand guidelines created with your brand. An experienced designer should do this for you alongside the branding exercise. Brand guidelines help you understand how and when to use the elements, the colours, the typography and everything we’ve mentioned above. There will be some rules about where and how you can share your assets, like for example you probably wouldn’t want it to be presented in a different colour or too near unrelated text. These guidelines keep you on brand, not off brand and can be your brand bible for all future content, builds, marketing and all that good stuff that drives home the bacon.
For super bonus points set yourself up with an Brand Asset Management system so you can share the brand assets with any stakeholders and third parties that need them. As well as saving them time and effort it’ll make it much easier to have a portfolio of ‘on-brand’ assets. It saves them guessing and also shows that you’re serious about brand. And you are serious about brand, right?
Put it on expenses!
Oh … and you can claim all this back, too. The lovely government see the value in a brand (they’re not all bad, you know), so you can claim back spending on your branded stuff.
All the money you spend is a business, not personal, expense – so claim it when you have printing done as well as the entire rebrand, uniform, banners for networking and digital content for the website and other places online. We’re happy to discuss this with you if you need further guidance, or you could chat to your accountant who should know the score.
Branding: more than just a logo – way more!
Don’t believe us? Go look at a company like Cadbury who recently rebranded. It cost MILLIONS and the final results were … well a bit ‘spot the difference’ if you only looked at the logo!
But it was way more than ‘just a logo’. They had everything redesigned from packaging to messaging, and that does need a lot of thought, planning, and cash!
Your brand (we hope) is more than just a logo. If it is just a logo then we’re afraid to say that you don’t actually have a brand … you’re the proud owner of a JPEG, sorry, BUT get in touch with us and we can put all that right. Today!