Go Beyond Logos: Building Your Brand from the Ground UpOne of the most essential parts of any online marketing efforts is creating consistent, recognizable branding. Most people associate brands with logos, but there is much more involved when it comes to crafting comprehensive brand messaging. A well-designed logo is only a small facet of an overall brand strategy; in fact, it is part of a fully realized plan to deliver your unique message in a way that leaves a positive and memorable impression. Here are some factors to keep in mind as you create a brand that will connect with customers and keep them engaged.
One of the most important elements involved in a brand strategy is the desired aesthetic. There should be a consistent visual style and color scheme that incorporates the logo and other images. For instance, if your logo is a certain shade of orange, you might want to include a header photo that prominently features that color, or use the same orange to create a gradient effect in your images. Users typically take note of visual content before they read a single word, so be sure the impression you create is clear, consistent and aesthetically pleasing.
Once you have decided on a visual aesthetic, it’s time to determine the voice and tone of your brand messaging. If your target audience is young professionals, for example, you might have a relaxed, informal tone to your marketing collateral. Website traffic data and user polls can help you hone your messaging if you are still in the process of determining how best to reach your audience, and using data from social media can give you further demographic information that will be helpful in this process.
After determining the visual and written content guidelines for your branded materials, it is important to create a style guide going forward. This is basically a “brand bible” that ensures all content will be consistent no matter who creates it. The style guide provides important information such as your exact logo specifications and the Pantone code and CMYK/RGB values for any colors used. Guidelines for font usage should also be included, as inconsistent fonts look sloppy and unprofessional. The typeface and sizes for headlines and other text should be included, as well as specifications for leading and kerning to ensure visual consistency across branded content.
More than Content
Your brand is far more than just a few pictures and pages of web copy. These elements are important, but they are only the tools you use to convey your message. Ultimately, your brand is the impression you create in the minds of readers, subscribers and customers—it depends on relationship management and providing value. You can use imagery and content to shape the way your organization is perceived, but positive feedback and word of mouth are just as important to branding initiatives. Remember, your brand is your reputation, and every choice impacts how you will be perceived by subscribers, customers and potential leads.