Branding has always been important, but perhaps a visually strong brand image is now more important than ever. Our busy, distracted, competitive world demands that businesses and professionals alike present a unified brand presence that speaks swiftly and powerfully — online and offline.
With all the new media platforms seemingly popping up on a daily basis, constructing a solid brand image across all touch points can be challenging for sure.
These are the five Key questions any business, large or small, should be asking as they define how they will present themselves to the world.
1. Why should I have a visually strong brand presence?
It’s a visual world and new studies prove what we’ve always known: instinctively, we want attractive things and know quality when we see it. As The New York Times recently stated: “Beauty literally moves us.” Your strategic, well-crafted brand will move those you want to act.
That basic fact alone should be enough to make the business case for a strong brand image. Along with the need to differentiate your business or product from a noisy world, throw in the needs to humanize your company for better engagement and simplify your messaging for a distracted society of skimmers and it’s a strategic slam dunk — cohesive, visually strong branding is the key to conquering the challenges we face in today’s hyper-competitive media landscape.
2. How can I harness design to make my brand stand out?
A strong brand image encapsulates the essence and spirit of a company — simply, uniquely, powerfully. From the company logo to website to media kits, business cards and signage, a brand’s visual identity needs to speak with one voice and be driven through all consumer touch points, continuously reinforcing the same message loud and clear. This is the only way a business stands a chance to slice through all the marketing noise and busy online media environment. The alternative is confusion and market fragmentation — a brand that works against itself rather than for itself.
Design is more important than ever to ensure content is well organized for speed of communication so that a brand’s message is presented in a way that aids visibility and retention, rather than hinders it. The move to mobile demands a simplified, visual approach for effective communications as well.
3. Why should I invest in good design and professional branding?
You only have one chance to make a good first impression. People know a quality organization when they see it, and a half-baked identity and communications program speaks volumes about you as a company. When you go to an important business meeting, you put on your best outfit and this should not be any different.
Businesses that do this on the cheap are paying plenty in lost revenue whether they know it or not. Successful companies feel this in their gut and act, capturing the imaginations of their markets and reaping the successes that come with that.
4. What do I need to do for my brand image beyond having a good logo?
A good logo is critical to giving the “face” to a business but the total brand identity should then have an equally strong, consistent look and feel through all its other communications. Your business identity in its totality should be focused like a laser beam to accomplish the goals you set out to achieve.
It has long been known that people are influenced and inspired by visuals, and now science also proves this to be true. Just as in traditional media, visuals attract attention in the online world too. As people zip around from one thing to the next, it only makes sense for business to harness this phenomenon as they use visuals as a strategic tactic to reach out and grab eyeballs.
5. What is the most important thing I need to do to create an effective branding campaign?
Spend time on the strategy first, defining your brand essence — your “why” and whom you should target in which way. Simplify your message and think hard on boiling everything you do down to its essence. When it comes time to execute, commit and don’t get sidetracked.
With all the new media channels available, it has never been more important for companies to get their branding right. It is important to work with a trusted designer, agency or creative partner in executing your branding goals — then stick with them and trust them to get all your branding and communications working in lockstep towards those same goals.
Summary: A strong branding and design strategy that packages and wraps your business together with one clear message, along with an integrated, visual content strategy will give your business the fighting chance it needs to set itself apart and rise above the rest.