MARKETING

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  • Branding for Beginners
    Game Plan
    In-Depth

    Create a Strong Visual Brand

    Image plays a central role in branding, including visual elements. A key to this is a logo and a clearly recognizable look and feel for all your marketing materials. There are three key steps in visual branding:

    1. Create a Strong Logo and Use It Widely.
    An easily identifiable logo can have immense value, that will continue to amplify when you use it widely and consistently. More than anything else, it can instantly convey your brand. Think about McDonald’s golden arches or the Apple logo as strong examples. But the logos alone don’t carry their brands. Their equity has been built over time, with smart, effective marketing and quality products and customer service.

    2. Create Brand Standards for Marketing Materials.
    Your logo should be part of a set of visual marketing tools that, when applied consistently, sends a strong non-verbal message to your customers. Create a brand standard that is applied universally for all marketing materials. Attention to detail and strict adherence to these standards will help to build strong brand equity. Your customers should never hesitate or be confused by any aspect of their experience with your brand.

    3. Publish and Promote a Style Guide.
    To make sure all employees, contractors and advertising and marketing agencies you work with follow the brand’s visual identity, publish and promote a company style guide. This should include visual styles that define precisely how your brand will look along with content rules that spell out how the brand will sound and read. Complete consistency in your brand presentation is critical. The style guide can be fairly brief or elaborate. Either way, make sure that everyone who communicates to the public uses it.

    Game PlanGame Plan

    Game Plan

    If you don’t have strong visual branding already in place, now is the time to methodically create a strong visual identity for your brand.

    Next steps:

    • If you already have a logo, don’t be in a rush to change it. Here’s where consistency comes into play. Work with what you have and make sure it is applied broadly and consistently.
    • Brand standards are very important. If you don’t already have this element in place, work with outside experts to create strong and clear standards for your brand.
    • A company style guide needn’t be too long or elaborate. But it should set the rules for visuals and brand messages clearly, so that everyone who needs to follow a consistent style knows about it and is on the same page. If you don’t have one, create one, with input from key staff.