Your brand is defined by what your audience thinks of when it sees your logo or hears your company’s name. It is the voice and tone that drives every creative decision in your marketing strategy.
You can increase the revenue by up to 23 percent if you maintain a consistent brand presentation in marketing collateral. For a complete brand identity, it’s not just the logo that matters.
From product packaging to social media, advertisements to the website, the tone, the color schemes, and the overall aesthetics of your brand should set a unique position for your business identity and its core values.
A well-defined brand style guide helps to establish trust with your audience. Within your company, it ensures that every single person is on the same page and knows how to implement your style in all the work they do.
From designing packaging to creating a video, your brand style makes the difference. It’s the sum total of how your brand looks, feels and speaks to an audience.
Identify the core of your business
Gather information to identify your brand’s key personality traits and create your brand’s story. Brainstorm with family, friends, co-workers, employees, and survey as many people as you can.
Is your brand trendy and modern or more classical and old-school? Is it artsy and creative or more formal and businesslike? Are you sophisticated or casual and quirky? Figuring out your brand personality is crucial in determining how to brand your company.
This process of collecting information from surveys, questionnaires, brainstorming sessions, etc. may be laborious but it provides the foundation on which your brand style will be built.
Challenge your team to dig deep, poke and prod until you arrive at the core of what your company is all about. If you go beyond the obvious, you may find an approach that makes you excited about what you have to offer and forms the basis of all your marketing strategies.
As per the survey by Adobe, 32% of people will stop engaging if your website’s layout is not interactive and is unattractive. This is where images and videos play a big role in engaging people on your website. A high engagement rate on your website ensures larger brand visibility. Everything here is correlated, and your team should leave no stone unturned when it comes to developing a strong brand building strategy.
Collect brand style inspiration
Collect stylistic elements that you feel represent your brand. Get your team to contribute so this becomes a collaborative process. Concrete examples will help you define the look and feel you want to go for. Make specific notes about what you like and don’t like. For example, the image might be right, but the text may not be.
Images, graphics, videos, typography, examples of brand stories that resonate – using the right elements all contribute to formulating your own cohesive brand style. See what your competitors do that you like and don’t like.
You don’t want to copy anyone else but using concrete examples helps you to identify your particular style and voice. You may even end up using some of the materials you’ve collected in the brand voice or imagery sections of your brand style guide.
Define what makes you different
Identify your company’s mission, values, goals and what sets you apart from the competition. If you can identify what makes you different, you don’t have to worry so much about what your competitors are doing.
Strong brands are unique in some way – they either say or do something different. If you have memorable values as a company, it helps your team to stay on-brand. 64% of consumers say that it’s the shared values that helps them build a strong relationship with a brand.
Pay attention to how your competitors represent themselves in terms of trends, common visual elements, brand personalities, etc. You can learn a great deal from them but don’t just copy them.
This is a mistake many companies make – they take all their cues from other players in their industry, mimicking their strategies and therefore never becoming a strong brand in their own right.
Create a strong visual identity
Looks matter when it comes to capturing the essence of your brand. Your visual identity incorporates your logo and graphics, typography, your color palette, the design of your website, your packaging, etc.
Your logo needs to be simple, timeless, memorable, versatile and appropriate. Think about Apple which has such a strong visual identity that they only need a logo on their products.
Every font has a personality, and you should stick to two (or three) font families for a cohesive look. Decide whether your font choices suit your purpose and your audience. For example, a vintage, flowing font isn’t the right choice for a business manual.
A study by the University of Loyola, Maryland, color increases brand recognition by up to 80 percent. It’s that important.
Choosing the right colors is a big part of creating meaning and emotion. For instance, if your niche is newborn photography, you would be wise to go for soft pastel colors.
A good color palette will give your team enough options to be creative while keeping within a framework. In 2011, the video platform Twitch used all purple at a time when competitors were using reds and greens. The color became a hallmark of the brand which was sold to Amazon in 2014.
A new graphic designer on your team should be able to use your visual guidelines to create anything from custom thumbnails for your videos to a new landing page on your website.
Find out what resonates with your audience
To stand out amongst all the ‘noise’ of the marketplace, you either have to have a huge marketing budget, or you need to find ways to resonate with a specific audience. This involves building out a customer persona, incorporating all the demographic and behavioral information you have gathered.
Always remember that what consumers say and what they mean may be different and you have to listen very closely to find out what they really mean.
When you create anything that represents your brand, whether it’s a video marketing campaign or simply creating a new CTA button on your landing page, you should be able to clearly say “This is geared towards Charlie, the young entrepreneur.” You must empathize with your customers if you want to uncover their triggers, beliefs, and behaviors that will form the foundation of your marketing.
Find a unique voice, tone, and personality
Use creative design and copy together to reel in leads. Your words are important and to make sure they resonate, you need a clear purpose and positioning and a consistent tone and voice. You need to define specific adjectives that describe your brand voice, such as educational, quirky or business-like.
It helps to include snippets of copy that sound the way you want your brand voice to sound. From your copy guidelines, a copywriter should be able to create any piece of content, from a 1500 blog post to an Instagram bio.
Develop your brand story
If your brand has a story, it becomes possible to create narratives that convey your brand vision. This can make all the difference between your company and another branded company with a similar product to yours.
Your content will convey to users why they should care about your brand. A powerful brand story increases the perceived value of products or services and clearly communicates your purpose to the world.
The most relatable brand stories address the issues, struggles, beliefs, and wins that occur during the journey you take your audience through. Your story should address directly or indirectly what your brand stands for and why. It should convey how customers lives can be transformed by being part of your story.
Allow for scalability and flexibility
Almost 62% brands fail with Facebook ads. The problem is related to the logo, the colors, the content, the overall layout, etc. With over 10 million small businesses on Facebook pages, you need to create a strong position for your business to stand out from the crowd.
A big spend alone on marketing alone cannot bring you loyal customers. It’s that simple. You have to invest heavily everything that forms a good brand. Building a strong brand identity does not happen overnight. It takes hard work, and you need to keep tweaking it.
It means being able to stay true to your core values while adapting to changing market forces. This is not easy, and even large companies can get this wrong. Those who accept and rectify their mistakes can recover their identity.
Your brand style has to grow with you as your company grows. The guidelines need to be flexible enough for content creators and designers to be creative and yet allow your brand identity to be recognizable and distinct no matter who is designing or writing.
Gauging user sentiment through beta tests and surveys before finalizing any updates to a product or service could prevent you from losing customers.
Use consistency and cohesion to build recognition
If your brand identity is consistent and cohesive, it’s easier for others to connect. Consistent content is a big part of communicating cohesively across all platforms.
Your visual identity is very important when it comes to interaction on social media, especially on visual-heavy platforms like Instagram.
If your strategy relies on video marketing on your landing pages and on social media channels, it is important that these videos convey your brand style. People should be able to recognize them no matter where they appear.
Treat your brand style guide as a living document
Make sure that you compile a cohesive document and that everyone who might need to use it has access to it. It should be treated as a living document instead of gathering dust on a shelf. Guidelines need to be revisited from time to time to make sure they stay fresh and up to date.
You will learn what works and doesn’t work for your brand over time. Try to keep new ideas that come up, new examples of what you like, etc. in one place so you can easily find them when it’s time to review.
Your brand style guide is there to make sure that everyone knows exactly who you are as a company, what you stand for, and everything it means to represent that.