Many entrepreneurs have the same questions about branding: What can a brand do for your business? Why is a brand so important? And why should you invest time and money in creating one?
The answer: A brand helps your customers determine whether you’re a good fit for their needs, and it helps to direct your ideal customers towards making a purchase from you. The brand does that in 4 main ways: by increasing your visibility, credibility, memorability and desirability. Here’s a brief explanation of the meaning of each of those, along with suggestions on how you can build them into your brand.
– Visibility: Your brand should be visible in the marketplace – not invisible. You want to have a instantly, easily recognizable brand identity that appears on all of your materials – and that those materials need to be as far-reaching as possible.
To create strong visibility, create an outstanding logo that is eye-catching. Visual simplicity can also improve visibility, but don’t sacrifice visual interest in order to achieve simplicity. Expand the visible portion of your brand by adding more graphics to your arsenal in the form of a Visual Vocabulary – all of the other brand elements that support your logo, like backgrounds, an extended color palette, and tagline styling. Distribute your printed materials widely, generously and frequently. Make sure that you get a good search engine ranking and quality inbound links for your website.
– Credibility: Having a suite of consistent brand and marketing materials designed makes your business look more believable, trustworthy and like you have the expertise needed to fill your customers’ needs. If your customers see these qualities in your brand, they will be more likely to trust you with their projects and to let you take care of their needs. Credibility also helps to eliminate customer worry – making for happier customers, even from the beginning of the relationship.
To make your brand credible, make sure your visuals are in alignment with your company’s message and core values. Don’t just show your customers what you think they want to see – make sure that you’re visually telling the truth about your offerings and what you can do for your clients. And, back up your claims wherever possible with visual evidence – show people what you can do!
– Memorability: Brand designs help your company be more memorable – which means that it’s more likely that people will remember to call you when they need your services. Statistics show that 65% of people are better at remembering what they see than what they hear, read or even experience. Having a strong, consistent visual brand helps to reinforce your company’s name and to seat your business more firmly in peoples’ minds.
To increase memorabiity, use a graphic icon alongside your company name in your logo. When paired with words, graphics greatly increase memorability, because then you’re appealing to people who learn through words and to people who learn through visuals. Create a rich and interesting visual experience through Visual Vocabulary, photos, illustrations, charts and graphs to give viewers more graphics to remember.
– Desirability: One of the best reactions you can get to your brand is to have your customers say, “I want that!” This may mean that they simply want your product or service after seeing your marketing materials, or that they want to have the feelings or emotions that your brand designs communicate.
To promote desirability, ask your customers to describe how they felt after using your services. Then, use that information to design your brand visuals to show that feeling in to your other ideal clients. It can be helpful to show a developing logo or visual ideas to the original customers that you asked, to see if they evoke the right emotions for them. Be careful that you deliver on your visual promise, so that you give your customers what they originally wanted and make them happy.
Understanding the capabilities of your brand, and how to realize them, should help you create a brand that helps you communicate with your ideal clients – and creates a long-lasting connection with them.
Erin Ferree, founder of elf design, helps small businesses stand out from their competition so that they can connect with their best customers. She does this by working with business owners to define their brands, and then using that definition to create logos, marketing materials and websites that show how they shine.
She also believes that all of a business’s brand materials should be not just pretty, but also designed effectively and strategically. This produces a winning combination of materials that communicate visually, look stunning and are designed effectively, which help her clients reach their target audiences.