In our last blog, we explained what branding is and what your branding needs to be built around. But how do you go about applying these, especially when they’re not all visual. Consistency is key here, so we’ve written some pointers to help you through the process…
Why should you be consistent?
You want your product or service to be the one that is most recognised in a crowded marketplace. There are lots of products or services clambering for attention, but by applying your brand consistently it will ensure you build brand recognition. It also builds reliability and trust with your customers or supporters.
How can I be consistent?
There are a number of things you can do:
ONE First, you can have some brand guidelines created. These can vary from simple one-page documents to very large multi-page documents containing every possible scenario your brand could be seen in. Whichever one is right for you, it will be a really useful tool for everyone in your organisation, that should be saved in a central place and easily accessed.
TWO Make sure you have communicated your brand values to all your staff. If everyone feels comfortable and included in the company ethos, it will make people’s experience of your brand more consistent too.
THREE Make it easy! Create a shared folder where all the brand assets are saved (logos, images, fonts etc) and tell everyone it is there! This will stop anyone feeling the need to create their own versions. Even small changes made over time create big inconsistencies along the line. Include templates for everything you do a lot and your key messages so it’s easy for everyone to ensure they’re on brand. It also saves time, and therefore money!
FOUR Take time to match all your internal communications with your external communications. By seeing the brand applied well themselves everyone becomes familiar with it and it will become second nature when using it themselves. They’ll also be able to recognise what is right and what is wrong and be able to correct it.
FIVE If possible, have a process where any brand message is double-checked. This is most important for tone of voice and messaging. A second pair of eyes provides the opportunity to spot mistakes and to question something which doesn’t read quite right. It’s sometimes small things such as exclamation marks where they’re not appropriate, or over-use of technical jargon where your values clearly state to communicate in plain English. It’s great to give staff autonomy and giving them access to the elements mentioned above will enable this, but there is nothing simpler than letting someone run their eyes over your work before it goes out.
SIX If you use several channels to market yourselves, then make sure your brand is consistently applied across all channels. Yes, it may be a different audience on LinkedIn than on Facebook, but your tone of voice and style should remain the same regardless. Think of it as choosing the right outfit for the situation. Whether you’re dressed smartly or casually, as befits the situation, someone who knows you will still recognise you!
What if we need to apply the brand to materials which are different shapes and sizes?
Good news, this doesn’t matter! Think of each piece of collateral as a separate piece of work, but apply the same rules. A pull-up banner should have the same look as a post on social media – the change in dimensions shouldn’t mean that you have to squeeze in all the same information, think about the most important parts and what works best in the space you have.
It’s very important to think about how someone will view it too. A pull up banner is like wallpaper at an event – there to temporarily brand a space – so it needs to boldly use your brand to be recognisable from a distance. A social media post is a message to one individual, viewed amongst pictures of their friends and family, so it needs to use your branding more gently and sensitively and be focused on them, not you.
We’ve included some examples here to illustrate;
We hope this has helped you on your journey into building your brand. Six handy steps which can be referred back to should you ever need them. And do let us know if you think you would benefit from having brand guidelines, we’ll be more than happy to help.
Creative Manager, JG Creative