Although a company’s logo represents their brand, it doesn’t embody all the elements of their brand. This is where people can get confused when it comes to branding basics. A brand may seem like a simple concept. But you’ll see, as we peel back the layers that formulate a brand, that it’s more complex than just slapping a logo on a letterhead. In HubSpot, one article on branding states it this way: “Essentially, your brand identity is the personality of your business and a promise to your customers.”
But what does that mean?
Just like everyone has their own unique personality, each company also has a “personality” that distinguishes it from other similar businesses—a unique way of doing things, so to speak. This can encompass everything from the colors a company uses for their logo and website, to the type of font they incorporate into all their communications. A brand also represents a commitment made to its customers—it is literally a company’s reputation.
At CONVRG, we have found that a successful brand consists of at least six elements:
1) a logo; 2) a unique voice. 3) a distinctive font type; 4) a fitting color scheme; 5) consistency; and 6) a value system.
A logo is the “face” of your brand. It’s the picture that people will associate with your business. It might not seem that important. However, quite a lot of thought goes into a logo and what it consciously and sub-consciously communicates about your brand. You begin to associate a logo with an experience, whether you realize it or not – and that is by design. Think about companies like Starbucks and Chick-fil-a. The Starbucks logo doesn’t just represent a business anymore; it symbolizes an experience. It says, if you drink our expensive coffee, you’re fabulous.
And what about Chick-fil-a? For me, two things come to mind when I see their logo: 1) they are closed on Sundays, and 2) they have unmatched customer service. These two attributes tell me that they uphold a particular set of standards, and that they exceedingly value their customer base. In summary, a logo communicates much more than just a picture or symbol; it communicates an experience, albeit positive or negative.
Your Unique Voice
Just like every author has a distinctive way of writing, a brand should have a unique “voice that demonstrates its own personality. It could come in the form of a quirky tagline, an unusual style of content writing, or any expression that sets it apart from the competition and elicits a camaraderie with its customer base. As with all other branding elements, your brand’s voice should evoke emotion and compel your target audience to take some form of action – preferably to buy what you’re offering.
Although it won’t make or break your marketing efforts, you can add immense value to your brand by honing in on a particular voice. One article on Sprout Social put it this way: “If your brand was a person, what personality traits would they take on and what would they actively avoid? What phrases and stylistic choices does your brand use on a consistent basis?”
In other words, what story does your brand tell? Thinking of your brand in this regard (as a storyteller) is a gamechanger for many small businesses.
Distinctive Font Type
What could a font type possibly communicate about your brand’s identity? Some font types are whimsical and fun in appearance, conveying a sense of enjoyment; while others are more serious or stately, commanding attention. A font conjures emotions that you want your audience to feel when interacting with your brand. Also, you will want to be consistent with your brand’s typography. Once you’ve established what font type you want to use for your business, stick with it for all your communications.
The color palette you choose for your company should communicate how your brand makes people feel when they use your products or services. Even your color scheme is a valuable marketing tool! In another article about color theory on the CONVRG website, the author says, “A brand’s colors sub-consciously command a response.”
Your chosen color palette is also useful when it comes to brand recognition and loyalty because your customer base will associate those colors with your brand.
Are you consistent with delivering on your promises and value proposition? Do you consistently provide your target audience with fresh and engaging new content to keep them coming back for more? Consistency matters to your brand because your reputation is on the line. Consistency says, I’m dependable and will keep my promises.
Your brand’s value not only refers to a set of standards, but also what your company provides for your clients. It communicates your value proposition. What problem do you solve for your target audience? What does your company stand for as a whole?
Although flexibility is important in our ever-changing, post-pandemic world, having a strict set of values conveys your brand’s integrity. If your standards align with your audience’s, it creates a shared sense of purpose. And that can give your company a powerful advantage over the competition.
What About Your Brand?
How much thought have you given to implementing each element of your brand? As you can see, when the appropriate font types, colors and graphics are blended, these seemingly insignificant nuances can pack a powerful marketing punch.