Last week, we talked about your internal brand and how important it is to follow a set structure for day-to-day operations. If you missed that sign, or you want to catch yourself up from last week, follow this link to read more about employees properly communicating your brand.
Now, after the internal side of your brand is in check, let’s go over some of how the public perceives your brand on the external side of things. The same facts that apply to your employees internally apply to you and the collateral you put out for consumers to view externally.
So if you’ve ever thrown together marketing collateral in desperation to meet a deadline or make it to a tradeshow or expo in time, you’re breaking some prominent rules for keeping your imagery and brand consistent. Unfortunately, there are many ways to be inconsistent with your brand imagery, but let’s see if we can cover the most common missteps for you to avoid.
First up: Your Logo. If your logo isn’t being used properly in approved formats, it portrays a sense of unprofessionalism in your material. These misuses result from: Stretching your logo to fit something, changing the colors to work with a certain piece, adding something to the logo, etc. If you’ve done any of those things, your logo (and consequently your brand) isn’t being viewed properly or professionally, and you are hurting your overall brand image. The solution? Stick to the approved formats for using your logo and don’t budge for anything. But wait, you tell us, if we just stray from the guidelines A LITTLE, then we would be able to – No. Don’t do it. Don’t even think about it. Stay consistent.
Next on the list: Your Imagery. There are three types of representation for the imagery your put out, of which all three have their pros and cons.
1. Detailed Representation. This style focuses on stock imagery intended to show your product or service in the most detailed and professional way possible. The plus side to detailed representation is the customer’s inability to find fault with your images because of their meticulous attention to the best detail. However, the con of detailed representation is the chance that your imagery might come off as too stock and not personal enough to distinguish from anyone else.
2. Truthful Representation. This style focuses on representing exactly how your product appears by using professional imagery, but still showing how your product and service truly is, even if some imperfections may exist. The benefit to this approach comes from your customers seeing exactly what they’re going to get for their purchase, but on the other hand, your customer may lose some of the splendor and mystery of seeing the product or service how it really is.
3. No Representation. This style isn’t necessarily a complete lack of imagery (though that does fall into this category), but more so, this style lacks accurate representation of your products or services at all. Either the imagery is unprofessional and disorganized, or it doesn’t capture what your products or services actually are. The argument for this style of representation is for customers who already know exactly what the product is, so why would they need to see professional imagery of it? Here’s the deal: Think of your imagery as an INVESTMENT, not an EXPENSE. When you make an investment in your imagery, capturing professional representations of what you offer, you can only make yourself look BETTER, not worse.
Lastly: Your Website. Your website is a whole other animal. Everything that we went over above concerning your logo and representation of your imagery applies here as well.
Consider this. When a client comes into your office or you meet elsewhere, how you look has an impact, correct? The same applies to your website. Think of your website as an ONLINE salesperson, oftentimes a first point of contact for your customers, especially in this day and age where nearly everyone is connected online. Because of this, your website needs to portray you in the best possible light, and this is only possible with image consistency along with a professional layout promoting simple navigability.
Now I’m sure you want to learn more about how to keep your website up to date and operating at maximum capacity, but you’ll have to wait – I know, I know, waiting is no fun! But check back next week where we’ll dive further into the intricacies of your company’s website. For now though, just remember that your website must use everything we’ve learned up to this point effectively, because it will be on display for everyone to see at the click of a few keys. So, like we’ve been repeatedly saying, be sure you’re staying consistent!
About The Author
Brian Waraksa, founder of Raxa Design in Houston, Texas, has been in marketing and small business branding since 2002. He writes the Raxa Design blog to inform small businesses and corporations on effective branding.
Posted on Tue, October 1, 2013
by Brian Waraksa filed under