Tuesday, January 7, 2014
4 (Frugal) Steps to Brand + Marketing Consistency: Branding on a Budget Ain't Bad!
All companies can benefit from developing a consistent brand image. The brand definition and features may encompass everything from logos to color palettes to fonts, but it must be maintained consistently across marketing collateral, presentations, correspondence, and proposals. Your brand image may even influence your office décor, if you have logos or product photos as part of your furnishings. Keeping everything in sync is difficult, especially as time passes and the company grows or expands its product line.
Here are 4 (frugal) tips to help you keep your brand elements consistent.
1. Develop a logo.
In the long run, it pays to have a professionally created company or brand logo as the centerpiece of your company's identity. You'd be surprised to find out that a custom logo doesn't have to be expensive, but it should be simple, eye-catching, and unique.
Unless you're a graphic artist or you already have a great one on staff, work with a designer for logo creation. While there are libraries of standard logos you can choose from, it's worth it to have a logo custom designed by an experienced graphic artist who can capture the essence of your business.
Try to resist the temptation to design your own logo using PowerPoint or a similar program because it will probably always look amateurish. You also won't be able to generate all the different file types you need for various media.
Even if you already have a logo - give it the treatment it deserves and get your preliminary logo refined so it looks much more professional.
QUICK TIP: Contact us with any questions and further advice for your logo!
2. Pick a color scheme.
Once you've found a graphic designer to work with, ask him or her to create a corporate color scheme for you while they're working on the logo.
The color scheme should include two or three colors that coordinate well together, and it should include light and dark shade variations of the chosen colors.
The experienced eye of a graphic artist will come up with fresh designs and color schemes that you'll love, even though you might not have considered them on your own. When you settle on your colors, you can ask the designer to provide the Pantone color code values and the CMYK equivalents to prevent inconsistencies that occasionally occur if people try to "eyeball" the correct shade on future documents.
Your color scheme is key not only to your logo, but also to your corporate identity. It should look fabulous in print and on the web too.
(Of course, we prefer purple, but your color scheme is completely up to you!)
3. Create a style set and templates.
If you use page layout or word processing applications, you'll want to create a custom style set that includes fonts, heading styles, margins, and spacing defaults so your documents always have a consistent look and feel. A graphic artist's expertise will come in handy here, too, by giving your documents an appealing look.
Consider installing the style set for new employees when they join your company, or have an IT person set them up for you, so employees automatically create consistently formatted documents and presentations. It's a huge time saver when you don't have to reformat every document before publishing it.
QUICK TIP: Need some help with templates? We've got you covered. Get over 150 FREE templates here.
4. Post a branding "book" or style guide.
A style guide doesn't have to be complex, but it does need to make the guidelines for logo usage and other branding elements clear. To help ensure consistency, include the standards for color values, official product and company names, and links to corporate templates. It only makes sense to have a style guide if employees will use it, so try to keep it simple if you can.
Creating a recognizable brand requires consistency to avoid muddying brand identity. By following a few guidelines and quick tips, (and by getting a few freebies from your friends at Plum Grove) you can help ensure that prospective customers will instantly recognize your brand.
Let me know if you need more marketing help for 2014. I'll try to get you a complimentary copy of Plum Grove's Marketing Ideas Book.
Until next time!
Peter "The Printer" Lineal
2160 Stonington Avenue
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Ph: 847.882.4020 Ext: 133
Printing, Marketing & Promotional Products with Powerful Execution.