In part 1 of 5 of our ‘Exiting Covid’ series, Gareth explores some of the implications brand identity has on your web presence and the importance of adhering to a brand guideline.
When thinking about how a business is presented online, the logical place to start is the branding. A business’s brand is its visual foundation – if the brand is weak or ignored, nothing will ever fit together or work as well as it should.
Firstly, by “brand”, I don’t just mean the business logo. Your brand encompasses a whole lot more – tone of voice, imagery selection, typography choices, colours used AND the logo including any graphical elements are all important moving parts that make up your brand identity.
Some businesses will have brand guidelines that cover all of these elements, but even those without a glossy 10-page document from a fancy agency (*ahem), can set out their own guidelines, ensuring that the way they present themselves to customers matches their aims.
“Guidelines” is a good term, but I like to think of it more as a rule book, providing a framework for how a business should look, sound and feel to customers. Without considering the rules, it’s pretty much impossible to know whether you’re breaking them, or undermining your own vision of how customers should perceive your business. This becomes even more important when you’re relying on others to manage parts or all of your marketing.
Here’s a quick rundown of the main things to consider:
Tone of voice
It sounds simplistic, but what would your business’s personality be if you were to have a conversation? Would it be outgoing and fun, or professional and informed? Maybe a mixture of all the above? Most importantly, the tone of voice should match your vision and your customers’ expectations.
Imagery and visual presentation
Different styles of imagery and photography can have a huge effect on how people perceive your business or products. Very sharp, professional photography can give customers a premium feel, whereas more informal styles can create a sense of approachability. The main thing to consider is; does this image or graphic match how I want customers to perceive my business?
As a digital agency, we consider this carefully during branding and web design projects, and we use tools like Canva to create a sense of identity across all imagery used for client marketing campaigns.
It may not seem like it, but a choice of typography can have a massive impact on how your brand is seen by prospective or existing customers. I could write another entire blog purely on this subject, but the crux of it is this – do your typography choices match the personality of your brand and the expectations of your customers? Whether you’re going for fun and friendly, or sleek and professional – the wrong choice of font can totally undermine this.
The use of colour can have a remarkable impact on how people feel. It’s important to consider this, and ensure that these feelings align with your aims.
The company logo should sit comfortably alongside each element that makes up your brand’s tone and visual appearance. Sometimes a logo says everything you need it to in isolation, sometimes the whole story only comes across when contextualised with other brand elements. The most important thing is that your logo is working with, not against the other strands that go into your broader brand identity.
Now that you’ve got your rule book, you just need to follow it. Customers love consistency – an inconsistent brand presentation or a confused visual identity will put some customers off, and will certainly be a barrier to building a loyal base of brand advocates.
Take time to take stock of your brand and consider whether your foundations are solid.
In part two of our ‘exiting covid’ series, we will be looking at content, and how personalising your content can set up a customer relationship, and dictate how customers relate to your business.
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