Brand is one of those ambiguous words that gets tossed around casually, and most of us think we have a handle on what it means. Take something as simple as what we call “pop,” or “soda,” or even a “Coke,” depending on the part of the country you live in. Midwesterners associate the word Coke with Coca-Cola, an iconic brand, while to a Southerner, the brand is so ingrained that a Coke is any soft drink. It means something unique to each of us because of our life experiences.
So, just what are the elements of a memorable brand? The American Marketing Association defines a brand as the “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” The first thing consumers might associate with a brand is a logo or a symbol, but it’s much more than that. Your brand is your promise to your customers, your voice – and you want to establish its unique identity so that it stands out from the pack. Words are powerful, so choose your message wisely.
Every design element is also a part of your brand, including the colors, shapes, images, and language you choose to convey your messaging. Your visual elements should be streamlined and cohesive, from your business card to your website. You want consumers to see your uniqueness and value, and have confidence in what you are offering. Familiarity begets confidence. Back to Coca Cola again, how many of us can automatically visualize the distinct logo and design?
Ideally, it’s important to devise a brand-positioning statement up front, which is a sentence or two that clearly states your product or service’s value and how it can potentially benefit your customers. This should lend itself to a visual representation. But just how do you maintain consistency in your branding? Here are some quick guidelines.
Choose a color scheme. This palette sets the tone for your brand, so select your colors wisely. Your design needs to reflect your brand’s values and voice.
Font selection is also key: No more than two or three fonts, so that your brand maintains its consistency.
Establish your style guide. The overall look of your visuals say a lot about your brand.
Incorporate brand elements that reinforce your identity, including images, styles, logos, trademarks and any variations. These will be used in all communications and media representation.
Define your tone: Is your brand serious, playful, honest, a maverick? This needs to be maintained throughout all your communications, from your press releases to your social media and even consumer interactions.
Overall, think about your first impression; you want to establish a lasting emotional connection, so your customer keeps coming back.
Not sure how to establish your brand identity ? We can help.