What is your company about? How does it make people feel? Does it stand out? Finally, why will people use it?
All of these questions are integral to a company and how it’s viewed by the public. But does your company communicate these answers?
A Logo: The Face of a Company
Every professional company needs a logo. According to Tailor Brands, logos consist of images, texts, shapes, or a combination of the three that depict the name and purpose of a business. Kris Decker of 99designs explains that logos are important for five different reasons– it reveals identity, invites new customers, distinguishes from the competition, facilitates loyalty, and can tie everything together.
A Brand is More Than a Logo
Seems like if a logo can do all of that, you don’t need anything else, right? Wrong. Deluxe Enterprise Operations describes a brand as the sum of people’s perception of a company’s customer service, reputation, advertising and a logo. A logo is a “hello” to the company, while the brand is the rest of the conversation.
Touchpoints fit into this conversation. Hank Brigman defines a touchpoint as “an influential action initiated by a communication, human contact or sensory interaction”. Examples include a spectrum of items, such as signage, video, business cards, newsletters, websites, advertising, packaging, and direct mail. A brand is not only how the company looks, but how it interacts with the world.
Functions of a Brand
Brands serve more than one function. David Haigh of Brand Finance states that the three primary functions of a brand are Navigation, Reassurance, and Engagement.
Navigation: Whether you know from having your own business or from having simply entered a store, it is apparent that the market is flooded with choices. Having strong branding systems helps differentiate your business. This in turn brings in new customers.
Reassurance: In order for a customer to use your business, they need to establish trust. A brand can help communicate the intrinsic value of a company–the quality of your product, the authenticity of your company, and that your establishment is the right choice.
Engagement: Good design creates awareness, evokes emotion, and encourages action. Whether it’s strong text, bright colors, or interesting imagery, a brand can excite and foster loyalty.
How Do I Look?
Visual cues draw people in. We know that customers decide if they are going to use your brand within the first 3-7 seconds. So how do you influence them positively? Michael Bierut of Pentagram outlines the visual basics as design, imagery, sensory, color palettes, and typography.
All of these work together to create a visual style system.
Principles That Go Beyond Visuals
Branding is the overall feel of your company. While the look and design of your touchpoints play a huge role, perception isn’t limited to visuals. Whether it’s your company’s name, tagline, or communication style, audiences gather information from everything you put out. What does a customer experience when interacting with your company?
Next, let’s explore a few touchpoints that go beyond visuals. When a consumer walks into your store, how are they greeted? Do they feel welcomed? How are their questions answered? The way employees communicate can be another extension of your company’s culture.
Next, what is your tone of voice? Old Spice’s tone varies greatly from Target’s. According to Phrasee, a brand voice is the consistent expression of a brand’s core messages, values, and personality through the purposeful use of words and prose styles. This comes out in avenues such as brochures, tweets, commercials, or product descriptions.
Are you active on social media? Do you have a current website? With the advancement of technology, people use their phones constantly. It’s no surprise that the web may be the first place they come in contact with you. Because sometimes people buy online, your website should be in tip top shape. SWEOR shares some eye opening statistics.
70% of small business websites lack a Call to Action on their homepage. Does your website speak clearly to potential visitors? Are you communicating what you need to?
88% of consumers who search for a type of business on a mobile device call or visit within 24 hours. Your website could be the difference between choosing your business or someone else’s.
A Strong Brand Experience
Nathan Williams of Wolff Olins breaks down the principles of a strong brand experience and what they mean.
As you can see, a strong branding system can help make the difference between success and failure. Why leave it up to chance?
Who are your favorite brands? What makes them successful to you? Let us know in the comments below!
Information used in this article was influenced by Alina Wheeler’s book Designing Brand Identity.