Brand consistency

One of the most important aspects of a good strong brand is consistency

A professionally developed brand that is consistently applied across all areas of your business does two important things. The first is that it helps make your products or service more easily recognisable by your target market. The second is that it helps to convey a sense of trust and confidence in your products or services.

We come across many businesses who have invested a lot of money into brand and marketing material such as logos, business cards, building signage, vehicle signage, websites and newspaper advertisements, with every single element produced by a different service provider and therefore having a different look and feel to the other elements. They might get their logo designed by one person then take their logo to a printer to get a business card, then take their business card to a signwriter to design the building signage, get the newspapers and yellow pages to make up their advertisements because it is free and the friend down the road to knock up a website because it is cheap.

The whole is greater than the sum of the parts

I am sure you have heard of the term ‘the whole is greater than the sum of the parts’. Your brand and marketing material are the perfect example of this concept. Marketing is not about each individual action you take to promote your products, it is about the power of the combination of all your brand and marketing material working together.

A person may see an advert in the paper that you ran, then a few weeks/months later see your sign-written car zooming by (within the speed limit!) and another month or so later decide they need your services. They may have even forgotten all about you as they only briefly noticed your advert and you were in a bit of a hurry when you drove past so they didn’t get a good look at your vehicle signage – they just noticed it out of the corner of their eye. They flick through the yellow pages looking for someone to help them out and spot your advert so decide to call you instead of the 30 or so other businesses that they have never seen before. Of course this will only work if all your marketing material is consistently applied across all areas of your business.

Make it easy for your business to be the first business your target market thinks of when they need your products or services

It is imperative that you make it as easy as possible for people to recognise your business and remember your business. Repetition and consistency is the key. It is all about making it as easy as possible for your target market to find you and make you their first choice.

The value of a logo

Of all your brand and marketing collateral, your logo is the most valuable and the most important thing to get right. In most cases, if you don’t have a logo – you don’t have a business.

It is often your logo that gets seen first; in advertisements, on your business card, on signage, on brochures. Your logo is how your target market visually identifies you and differentiates you from your competitors. Your logo is often how your target market decides whether they want to use your services or buy your products. Your logo could be considered the ‘face’ of your business. If you already have a logo, is it a face you are proud of?

Does your logo effectively represent your products or services?

As with all your brand and marketing material, your logo needs to fit with your target market and your products or services. It also needs to stand out from your competitors logos so your target market know you are ‘you’, be professional and well designed so your target market know you are a trusted and serious business operator and be consistently applied across all your brand and marketing material.

The importance of applying your logo consistently across your brand and marketing material

If you already have a brand in place, here is another opportunity for you to objectively review your brand. Take a look at all the reproductions of your logo around your business and on your marketing material. You may be surprised at how things have ‘slipped’. The logo on the side of your building may have somehow acquired a bright read line under it, the logo on your business card may have mysteriously developed a black outline around it or a slightly different font – these things all matter, no matter how subtle or ‘unimportant’ they seem. Your logo must be applied consistently across all your marketing material.

Think of your logo as a stamp. Once it has been designed it should be, in most cases, applied EXACTLY the same in all instances. Often two or three different versions of a logo is created, perhaps one that suits vertical applications, one that suits horizontal applications and perhaps a logo that is perfect for very small reproduction.

Understanding brand

Brand – speaks to the mind and heart

Brand is the promises and the expectations that reside in each of your customer’s mind about your product, service and business. It exists whether you mean it to or not.

A good brand builds your businesses, an ineffective brand undermines your success.

Your brand is the nucleus of your sales and marketing activities, generating increased awareness and loyalty when managed strategically.

If you choose to, you can build and develop a brand that will help your business stand out in a crowded marketplace and build a loyal customer base.

Brand identity – tangible and appeals to the senses

A great brand identity increases awareness and builds businesses.

Brand identity is the visual and verbal expression of your brand.

You can see it, touch it, hold it, hear it, watch it move and smell it.

It begins with your brand name and brandmark (logo) and evolves into a matrix of tools and communications.

It’s not just your logo and other visual material that someone like us creates. Your brand identity is how you and your staff dress, what is said to your customers, the smells your customers experience from your products or within your premises, whether your building is well presented and clean, how you treat your customers…  it’s that big smile that you and your staff give every customer that walks through the door – every time they walk through the door.

Your brand IS your business – you need to get it right

It is all in the details…

It’s your choice. These things all make up your brand and all help your potential target market decide whether they want to do business with you.

Put 150% effort into your business – achieve 90% quality, put 80% effort – get 50% quality…

We believe you must strive for for at least 100% or more when doing anything in your business. It you strive for doing things 100% correctly ALL the time you will hopefully end up with things being 80% of what they should be as you are never going to get it right every time.

If you strive for 80% quality, which is pretty good, the cumulative effect is likely to be that you will be operating at 50% to 60% of the quality and capacity you could be operating at which is pretty average at best.

What your brand won’t do

Your brand is just one part of your business and while it is an important part, it won’t work for you if the other areas of your business needs attention. Your products, services and the way you operate your business must be right for your brand to work for you.

Your brand will help get your customers to the door but if your products or services are not right or there is no market for them, even the most consistently applied, perfect brand in the world won’t help make your business a success. Your brand won’t make people come back if they had a poor experience as a result of using your products or services. It won’t make or encourage your customers to refer your business on to others if they didn’t enjoy the experience or didn’t get what they were expecting.

It is imperative that you have done the necessary research to determine whether there is a need for your product or service and that the foundations of your business are in place before implementing a new product or service. If you don’t do this, any money spent on your brand potentially becomes a cost not an investment as your brand and marketing material will only work for you if these things are right first.

The importance of applying your logo consistently

Your logo forms the main visual link to your business

A consistent brand or visual identity is a strong and powerful marketing tool and your logo is the foundation of the rest of your business visual identity. It is the element that links all your marketing material together and is the ‘face’ of your products or services from a visual identity point of view. People become familiar with your logo, often without really knowing they have, which means they instantly recognise your business and often even experience ‘feelings’ about your business (hopefully good ones!) when they see your logo. Just think of the ‘Golden Arches’ – for those of you who enjoy McDonalds your mouth will almost start watering at the very thought.

Get your logo out there everywhere

The ideal situation is to get your logo out there everywhere (vehicle, uniforms, advertising material etc). This helps when you send out other marketing material as the more often a person sees a brand element, the more likely they are to think of your business when they need your services or products.

Always apply your logo fully intact and consistently

Once you have had your logo professionally designed, your logo should be applied fully intact, and consistently at all times. Using ‘bits’ of a logo is not recommended if your intention is to create a strong, instantly recognisable brand.

Your logo provides the opportunity for your target market to link your business to an advert or flyer they see – a week, a month or 6 months down the track. If you change or take away this ‘visual link’ to your business in your marketing or promotional material, you run the risk of confusing your target market.

Positioning statements

A positioning statement is a short sentence or statement that helps people understand what you do and conveys the benefits they will get from using your products or services. It usually accompanies most of your marketing material.

It is strongly suggested that you develop a positioning statement for your business.

We can help you with creating the right positioning statement or you can do this yourself. If you choose to have us do it for you it is helpful if you put some time into thinking about this yourself as well and perhaps come up with some draft ideas. Going through this process yourself encourages you to really think about your products or services, your target market and what your business is all about.

We intend to add further information to this page explaining positioning statements in more detail in the future. For now, if you would like to find out more information on this subject we suggest you spent some time researching positioning statements and taglines on the internet. It may even help you get some ideas for your business.

DIY Brand Creation

Thinking about designing your logo and brand material yourself?

If you are serious about being in business and want to succeed in your business then you must get your brand professionally designed. It is as simple as that. Creating the right visual brand for a business takes time, knowledge, skill and experience. If you want your customers to take your business seriously then you need to show them that you are serious about your business – it starts with your brand.