How to create a unified brand experience
A company’s brand is their first chance to make an impression on both existing and potential audiences. It helps convey defining aspects of a company, like its values and vision. Because of this, it’s important to fully consider all angles when creating a cohesive brand strategy. To learn more, we sat down with Killer Infographics’ art director, Chris Munroe, to see what he had to say about creating a unified brand experience.
What is the first piece of advice for anyone looking to improve and or create a new brand?
No brand should cater to every audience. The key is to know your market and who you are trying to reach. This will help you generate your mission statement and value proposition. Similar to how data in motion graphics and infographics generates art direction of a project, your mission statement or value prop can help you generate your brand. Take this into consideration and make sure these ideals are carried across all other mediums, including social media and anywhere else your brand is visible.
What are some ways that having a unified brand strategy can improve your business?
Recognition. Consistent colors, fonts, art direction, and tone all lend to a more visible brand, especially if all these elements are implemented across multiple platforms. An example of this are the yellow and red colors McDonald’s has in their brand. The sight of just the McDonald’s colors can be a reminder of those golden arches or the packaging of a Big Mac. Recognition on that scale requires a unified brand strategy over time.
Having an established brand can also give security to your audience. It should be clear what you’re offering and what they can get from you. Inconsistencies can leave your audience confused about what you are communicating, while consistency builds trust — this is obviously important for client retention and acquisition.
Another improvement could be for internal efficiency. Create templates for documents that are part of your process so everyone on your project team (including your clients) can easily comprehend the purpose of those documents. You’re creating an internal visual language that employees can start to understand. For example, over time a specific header treatment for each form can lead to recognition of the form by employees, who immediately know which one to grab based on that treatment.
When choosing a logo, what are some of your first considerations? What would you suggest to those interested in creating a brand identity?
Distilling the complexity of your business into its most simple form shouldn’t be easy. First and foremost, be true to what your brand represents. Nike is the Greek winged goddess of victory and also a highly recognized brand. Some have associated the Nike logo with one of the goddess’s wings. The Nike brand gives a nod to that while also being representative of motion and speed in a beautifully distilled mark.
Keep your logo simple and focused so it can easily translate across different mediums and different scales. The logo should be just as recognizable on an envelope header as it would be on a large billboard. Stay away from visual accents that don’t contribute to what your logo is trying to communicate. Implementing just the details you need will help you attain that focused concept.
When choosing brand colors, what are some of your first considerations?
I think it’s important to revisit your mission statement and define what mood that sets. An exercise you can use in defining brand mood is to apply traits that describe an individual’s personality to your brand. Let the personality traits of your brand define color choice. Is your brand fierce or is it calming? A fierce brand may adopt warm colors such an orange or red, while a calm brand could be a better fit for cooler colors like blue.
What are some considerations to think about if you are planning on rebranding?
It should be very clear what space your brand wants to occupy. If that message is lost in the midst of a rebrand, that can have a negative impact on your client base. If you have established your brand as a quality provider of internet security services and your rebrand fails to communicate that, your customers may end up questioning why they still use your service.
Measure the risk of a rebrand. Take a close look at your brand equity (essentially the public’s perception of your brand as a whole) when evaluating risk. If your brand equity is nonexistent, then more dramatic changes may not impact you. If you’re a highly visible and recognized brand, dramatic changes can mean higher risk.
What are some best practices to translate branding across social media channels?
Create concise and impactful content that resonates with your brand. Social media is constantly changing so having content that is easy to interpret is essential. Having content that resonates with an audience and is easy to interpret increases the likelihood of that content being shared. That translates to more exposure. Branding each one of your social assets can lead a user back to your brand if an asset does get shared elsewhere. Don’t miss any opportunities due to lack of branding on your social media assets.
What is the best way to maintain consistency and unity throughout your brand?
Acknowledge that your brand is more than just your logo and your colors. It is the overall public perception of your company. This means the tone and voice in various communications, web and retail environments, and client/customer relations should all be considered within a brand as well.
Establish brand guidelines that create consistent type treatment, color, art direction, mood, and voice across all mediums in which your brand will be used. Have your team reference these guidelines when creating branded collateral or any experiences your brand will be associated with it.
Your brand is the face of your business and it’s important to ensure you are providing the proper structure to strengthen your business’s goals and values. These are only a few considerations and not all will always apply. The most important element of creating a unified brand is an awareness of your business’ goals and values – from here it’s all a matter of tailoring the right brand that meets your needs.