4 steps to powerful and effective branding
Design Best Practice
Do you love a good logo and brand? So do we! But how do you achieve a memorable and impactful design on a budget? Follow our simple checklist for best practice and create a brand that is true to you, and resonates with your audience.
1. Brand purpose
Great branding and instant recognition don’t happen by accident. And there’s no point having a quirky logo and a one-of-a-kind web design if no-one understands what you sell. Before you get your heart set on idealised dreams of a revolutionary new brand, you must be crystal clear on your Why. Your mission, vision and brand identity will follow shortly, but until you articulate your purpose, cause or belief that drives you, you might feel disconnected from your creative ideas.
British author Simon Sinek offers some valuable resources on this topic, which you should explore and action if you’re having trouble defining this. Because unless you know what drives you, you won’t be able to explain it to others – literally or symbolically – through your brand.
2. Brand Resonance
Brand Resonance is how much correlation there is between your stories, profile, products, services and skills, and the expectations and experiences your audience has with your brand. It will also assist with consistency.
High correlation = high brand resonance = high likelihood of buying from you.
Low correlation = low brand resonance = low likelihood of buying from you.
Ideally, your brand needs to land with your audience. Not only because it directly links to your bottom line, but also because it is essential for your Why. Branding is the way you tell your audience that you’re the business to provide them with the solutions they crave. Creating positive associations and natural cognitive links for them (high resonance), then, is paramount to business success. Correctly identifying your audience, pain points and messaging is vital. Use our free avatar template to help you with this step.
Achieving brand resonance
So, how is Brand Resonance achieved? Listed below are the 5 most important factors to consider when designing or redesigning your brand. Following that, you’ll find where and how these should be applied and the processes to ensure successful application across your marketing.
First up, your brand must be:
a. Recognisable – when people see your brand, they think of your business. If you’ve built strong ties with relatable stories, your audience will instantly recall what you sell and why.
b. Memorable – it is easy to describe to others.
c. Descriptive – tells your audience what your goods or services are.
Directly – scissors cutting a strand of hair for a hairdresser, or
Indirectly (via symbology) – an owl for wisdom.
d. Adaptable & Scalable – can be easily applied to all media and platforms, whether digital or analogue.
e. Consistent – the same across all media and platforms, whether digital or analogue.
3. Brand Identification
Creating a strong Brand I.D is one thing, but there’s a whole lot more that goes into ensuring it works with other marketing activities.
You will need to apply the 5 resonance factors mentioned above everywhere your brand shows up. The most common places are listed below.
Brand identification opportunities
a. Business Name Meaning – Does your name tell the audience what you do?
If it doesn’t do this directly (e.g., Blue Clay Digital Marketing and Video Creatives), you need to ensure you tell a compelling story and provide excellent products and services. This will cement the connection between your business name and what you offer (e.g., Apple, Penguin). Your tagline (below) can be beneficial in this instance.
b. Tagline – A memorable phrase that helps people understand what you do and what you stand for. Blue Clay’s is “Guiding your every turn” which references our labyrinth logo and brand story. This article has some good advice.
c. Domain Name (web URL) – Something as close to your business name as possible will make it inherently more accessible, especially on the internet. Some helpful advice for making your choice can be found here. Be sure to purchase the various extensions (.com, .com.au, .net etc.) as these can be expensive to secure later on.
d. Name Availability. Do your due diligence. Search the web (Australia and overseas) for preexisting brands or websites that may conflict or confuse your audience. You will also need to check its availability on social media platforms.
SEO is an essential consideration here, too. Searching for a list of keywords related to your brand is a sensible exercise, as the exact domain name you want may not be available and this will give you alternatives. Most domain registries allow you to see if the name you want is available, as will the Australian Government’s Business Name Check site. It also offers an option to check whether matching domain names are available. In Australia, your business name must be legally registered with ASIC. You can find more information here.
e. Trademarks – If you have a product or service you want to trademark, be sure to do your due diligence. And don’t just cover your bases in Australia. Did you know that a trademark registered in America has rights over that same name in Australia? This Government website is helpful, and there are plenty of businesses that can apply on your behalf. The list of things that can be trademarked is steadily growing (including hashtags), so it is wise to make sure you are working with current information. Doing your research before you get your heart set on a particular word or phrase is not only sensible but may save you a lot of money and heartache in the future.
f. Logo – A logo is an image that represents your name, product or purpose. Consider having static and dynamic versions for use across print and digital media. Take a look at how Blue Clay’s labyrinth came about here. You may wish to Trademark this as well.
g. Colours – There’s plenty of psychological literature decoding colours and their meanings, and this is worth delving into before you settle for your favourite colour. Certain colours also don’t work well on some platforms. Here’s an article with some well-known examples that can help set the scene. Applying esoteric arts, such as Feng Shui, can also reveal much about brand design. This site provides the basics to get you started.
h. Font/typography – Choose something that is easy to read but also web-friendly. Don’t risk your audience clicking away because they have to work hard. Here’s an article that explains why this is so important.
i. Design – A consistent approach to your content style will put your audience at ease and build the trust you need to serve your tribe. Easily identifiable titles, captions, hashtags and links can help with clarity of messaging and consistency. Creating a style guide as a ready reference will streamline the process.
j. Photos, illustrations, graphs and charts – Use the same filters, or colours and hues for photos, and keep illustrations and graphs in-line with your overall look. Flow Magazine is an example of a brand that does this well. Their consistent colour scheme and illustration style is evident across all their digital platforms and print offerings.
k. Icons and badges – Not only should these stay consistent from one piece of content to another, but also across platforms.
“It is congruence—not compliance—that will ultimately create credibility and trust.”
Stephen M.R. Covey
The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything
4. Brand consistency
Brand consistency is critical. Cohesion between the factors mentioned here helps create familiarity and trust in your brand, and this faith is an incredibly valuable measure of business success. If you’re looking for a more in-depth look at why it matters so much, this article is helpful.
While it’s essential to take a holistic approach, it’s also vital to ensure it resonates with you, first and foremost. It is your brand, and you will be spending an awful lot of time with it. Take on board other’s opinions, but also trust your gut. Don’t be swayed by popular opinion if it doesn’t gel with your big Why.
As you settle on each element, compile the details into a Brand Guide Book. Or if you are getting a graphic designer to create for you, make sure this is included in their quote. This important reference document ensures you (or anyone working for/with you) consistently presents your brand correctly. Specifying the seemingly simple factors (like fonts, colours, image size, filters, etc.) helps maintain the consistency that’s so important to business success.
Resources for brand resonance
Regardless of whether you’re starting out, rebranding or just want to give your brand the once over, test that your brand really does resonate and download our workbook below Or, if you’d like a little more personalised help, contact Blue Clay to work with our brand marketing experts.