Branding

In this episode of Group Therapy, Katie Krongard, Associate Creative Director at Marq, sits down with Brett Barlow, CEO of Everee and former Chief Brand Officer at Pluralsight. They discuss why creatives need to build stronger partnerships with cross-functional teams by investing time into sharing brand initiatives internally while learning how to support their entire organization better.

They also talk about how to build strong brand and marketing teams focusing on start-ups and the characteristics that make brands stand-out against the competition.

This is the fifth installment of Group Therapy, a content series hosted by Marq- the brand enablement platform empowers everyone within an organization to build and deliver branded content to their audience.

In this chat with Adam Gunn, SVP of Brand at Pluralsight, and Cole Parker, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Marq, they discuss the dreaded “C” word… change. Adam shares his thoughts about how brand teams can stay ahead of the curve when businesses are always changing their strategy along with some other nuggets on brand consistency and collaborating with cross-functional teams.

This is the third episode in the Group Therapy series hosted by Marq. Conversations with creative and marketing leaders about all things brand.

Creativity is a necessary component of any successful branding effort, but it is too often regarded as an elusive and intangible quality that is difficult to quantify and manage. But you don’t have to buy into the myth of the solitary genius working in mysterious ways. You can map and analyze creative processes to identify areas for improvement and optimize them for increased efficiency, productivity, and consistency.

This article will explore the benefits of creative process mapping and provide you with the key steps for efficiently leveraging this technique. You will learn: 

Whether you are a seasoned creative professional or just starting out, creative process mapping can help you work smarter and faster. So, let’s dive in and discover how it can help you unleash your full potential.

What Is Creative Process Mapping?

Creative process mapping involves identifying, documenting and analyzing the steps that enable professionals to produce successful outcomes. It means looking at every part of the workflow, figuring out the deliverables for each aspect, and documenting the findings in detail so that anyone can use them as a successful guide.

The creative process can be complicated and often includes many different steps, such as brainstorming, research, prototyping, and testing. By making a map of these processes, you can find bottlenecks or inefficiencies and make changes to improve the process as a whole. 

Additionally, creative process mapping can help you identify areas where creative automation can be applied, allowing you to streamline workflows and reduce the time and effort required to complete tasks.

Why Map Your Creative Processes

As a professional, you’re always looking for ways to improve your skills, streamline your work, and get more done. Mapping your creative processes can help you achieve these goals.

Increased Creative Productivity

Creative process mapping can increase creative productivity in several ways:

Creative Automation

Creative automation is the automating of repetitive and time-consuming tasks in the creative process, such as image editing, video rendering, data analysis, and content creation and distribution.

By making a map of the entire creative process, you can learn more about your workflows and figure out which tasks can be done automatically. Automation can help you get more done in less time and with less effort, so you can focus on the important and creative tasks.

Brand Consistency

Creative process mapping helps identify key elements of a brand, such as tone, style, and messaging. Once these are documented, brands can establish clear and consistent process guidelines, which will help eliminate inconsistencies in branding and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal. 

Faster Employee Onboarding

Mapping your creative process is a powerful way to help employees and contractors get up to speed faster. Documented processes provide clarity, which empowers new hires. Having a detailed guide increases their transition into a new role while helping them gain familiarity with creative systems and processes more quickly than if they were left to their own devices. 

The 5 Steps of Creative Process Mapping

Now that you’ve learned why to map creative processes, let’s look at how to implement it for your business, your creative team, or yourself. 

1. Identify Processes and Workflows

The first step is to identify the central processes and workflows that contribute to your creative team’s outputs. What do you and your team members do to achieve the successful delivery of these outputs? One effective method is to start at the end and work your way backwards. 

For example, your team is working on a marketing campaign for a new product launch. The outputs include creative copy, a website landing page, product images, social media posts, and so on. What are all the major steps that the team does as it works towards achieving these deliverables? 

At this stage, you want to identify processes and workflows, not every little task that adds up to a workflow. It’s better to avoid zooming in too closely, too quickly—you’re looking for the main paths through the forest, not every twist and turn you take along the way. 

2. Delineate Activities and Outcomes

Once you’ve found the processes and workflows, break them down into smaller workflows, tasks, and activities. Think about the specific tasks that need to be done at each stage of the workflow in order to move the project forward. 

As you break processes down into these small sections, consider each task’s input, dependencies, activities, and outputs. Dependencies are particularly important here: What needs to be done before this task can be completed? Dependencies connect tasks into workflows, and if a dependency isn’t met, it can cause delays and reduce productivity. 

You may also want to catalog the tools used and the expected timeframe for each task.

3. Document Processes

Documentation is key to making sure that everyone on the creative team knows what is expected of them and is working toward the same goal. There are many ways to document processes: text documents, Gantt charts, flow charts, or timelines.

Whichever method you use to create process maps, make sure they are complete, detailed, and correct. These documents are the basis for future optimization, so you want them to be as thorough as possible. 

4. Identify Creative Automation Opportunities

Creative teams can access a vast array of automation tools, should they choose to use them. These range from user-friendly platforms like Zapier and Marq’s brand template and creative automation solutions to complex AI-powered content generation tools like ChatGPT or Jasper. 

5. Analyze & Optimize Creative Processes

You now have all the information you need to optimize tasks and processes. Process optimization is an art and a science, and the details differ between teams and organizations. But you should always: 

Creative Process Mapping for Happier, More Productive Teams

Creative process mapping is a powerful tool for anyone looking to enhance their creative routine. By documenting and analyzing the steps involved in the creative process, individuals and organizations can gain a better understanding of their workflows, identify areas for improvement, and optimize their processes for increased efficiency, productivity, and consistency.

Marq’s innovative brand templating platform can help your team optimize creative processes and build consistent brand experiences at scale. To find out more, request a free demo with a brand templating expert.

A brand is a funny thing. It’s not something you can hold in your hand, yet a brand is the bread and butter of an organization. Without a stable, consistent brand, your company growth will be severely stunted. Not so sure? Well, we’ve gathered some facts and statistics for you to check out. Prepare to be convinced.

Let’s start by building a foundation—what is a brand, how does it relate to your consumer, and why you simply cannot ignore building a strong brand.

Brand basics

A brand is a personality that identifies a product, service or company, including a name, term, sign, symbol or design. A brand also represents the relationships between customers, staff, partners, investors, and so forth.

Boundless

A brand does not exist within a company or organization. A brand exists in the minds of your customers. A brand is the sum total of impressions a customer has, based on every interaction they have had with you, your company, and your products.

Lucidpress

Inconsistent branding doesn’t just impact your customers — it hurts employee morale too.

Lucidpress

Build brand loyalty on shared values with your consumers. It is not the number of interactions a buyer has with your brand, but the quality and relatability of the interaction.

Harvard Business Review

Successful branding yields benefits such as increased customer loyalty, an improved image, and a relatable identity.

TSL Marketing

45% of customers expect great design across marketing and sales collateral.

Lucidpress

The main benefit of branding tools, and reason to employ them, is to boost profits.

Forbes

The greatest negative impact of inconsistent brand usage is the creation of confusion in the market.

Lucidpress

Surprised yet? If not, just wait until you see what’s going on for B2B brands. In a B2B market, branding is especially crucial. If you are in the B2B realm, here are a few things you should keep in mind.

B2B branding statistics

B2B brands fare better with customers when they use emotive rather than rational marketing messages. 

MarketingWeek

B2B marketers have consistently cited brand awareness as their top goal over the last five years.

CMI and MarketingProfs

89% of B2B marketers say brand awareness is the most important goal, followed by sales and lead generation.

Content Marketing Institution

The rise in content generation is inextricably linked to the shift in customer expectations.

Lucidpress

Building an audience is more valuable than direct sales for over 70% of brand managers.

OnBrand

B2B companies with brands that are perceived as strong generate a higher EBIT margin than others.

Forbes

77% of B2B marketing leaders say branding is critical to growth.

Adience

75% of B2B buyers want branded content that helps them research business ideas, but 93% of brands focus their content on marketing their own products and services.

MarketingCharts

91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to promote brand awareness.

Content Marketing Institute

69% of companies report that brand guidelines aren’t widely adopted or don’t exist at all.

Lucidpress

Surprising, right? Regardless of whether you’re a B2B or B2C brand, a small or large business, an emerging competitor or a long-standing organization, you must maintain your audience. Here are a few stats that show how to keep their attention.

Maintaining your audience statistics

On average, 5 to 7 brand impressions are necessary before someone will remember your brand.

Pam Moore

70% of survey constituents reported that consistent branding is crucial when communicating with existing customers.

Lucidpress

Brands that are consistently presented are 3 to 4 times more likely to experience brand visibility.

Lucidpress

The average revenue increase attributed to personalized content is 48%.

Lucidpress

Color increases brand recognition by up to 80%.

University of Loyola

64% of consumers cite shared values as the primary reason they have a relationship with a brand.

Harvard Business Review

50% of people follow 1 to 4 brands on social media, 26% follow 5 to 9 brands, 22% follow 10 or more brands, and 3% follow no brands.

BuzzStream

52% of consumers expect brands to know when the right moments are to communicate.

Cube

89% of business readers say that the brand a piece of content comes from is important, and 85% of marketers say the primary reason for creating content is to build the brand and positive perceptions of the company.

The Economist Group

72% of marketers think branded content is more effective than advertising in a magazine; 62% say it is more effective than advertising on TV; 69% say it is superior to both direct mail and public relations.

The Content Council

45% of consumers will unfollow a brand on social media if their platform is dominated by self-promotion.

BuzzStream

48% of consumers expect brands to know them and help them discover new products or services that fit their needs.

Cube

Mind-blowing? We hope so. Now you’ve got a few more reasons to boost your brand and start thinking seriously about brand asset management. With your newfound knowledge, you’re prepared to wow your customers more than ever. Good luck!

As a Creative Director, you need designers to fly by the seat of their pants, take life by the horns and do whatever they need to do to get stuff done. Or, in other words, you need them to indulge their creativity, take abstract ideas and craft them into something relatable, tangible and personable — relative to a brand, of course.

But here’s the thing. 

All too often, designers and other creatives wind up with an acute case of what you might call Lone-Wolf-Tunnel-Vision-No-Don’t-Touch-My-Precious. Or non-creative folks attempt to create collateral, resulting in some seriously rogue content and off-brand hullabaloo. You’ve seen it before. And maybe you’ve experienced it yourself, too. Folks get so wrapped up in a project that it becomes difficult to remove themselves, both personally and professionally, from the execution, critique and more. 

And while either approach to design can be effective in some circumstances, it works only up till a certain point, when it can hinder your brand image.

Alternatively, steering creatives toward collaboration in design, especially when the project calls for it, can have a positive impact in a myriad of ways. 

What is design collaboration?

Simply put: design collaboration involves the collaboration between colleagues — design, dev, content and etc., — in order to bring an idea to life. 

As the name suggests, design collaboration is an immersive, collaborative experience. It relies on an innate variety of thinking, experience and more that multiple key stakeholders contribute when they, so to speak, put their heads together to problem solve and create powerful customer experiences. Ultimately, design collaboration entails a unique process in which creative teams transform an idea or a concept into a fully-fleshed out campaign or finished product. And in turn, you build a stronger team and empower them to work faster — together.

Why is design collaboration important?

Collaboration in design offers your team two critical benefits:

  1. Your brand stands to gain the benefit of collaboration between creatives.
  2. Your brand stands to gain the benefit of cross-functional team collaboration.

As far as creatives are concerned, collaboration in design helps empower creatives to take their blinders off and work together (as a team) to create powerful, magnetic content experiences. 

As for cross-functional teams are concerned, collaboration in design allows individual contributors and teams at-large to work faster, work stronger and work together more effectively. Keep in mind, the key to a successful collaboration design process lay within managing the project itself. 

How to create a culture of collaboration

Creating a successful collaboration design culture is kind of like following a recipe. There are certain ingredients, so to speak, that you need in order to foster and nurture collaboration across individuals and departments. 

So, what do you need? 

The six C’s!

Common ground — Think of this as a team’s (cross-functional or not) shared values. What unites you as a group of collaborators? 

HOT TIP: Remind everyone to keep an open mind when it comes to perhaps overzealous ideas. Sometimes the most impactful experiences aren’t the most straightforward. And part of the collaborative process entails leaning into a problem-solving mentality.

Context — Think of this as your goals. Why are you all here? What are you doing?

HOT TIP: Creative briefs are excellent contextual pieces of evidence. A creative brief doesn’t have to be super heavy-handed or in-depth, but it needs to offer the guidance, context and identification of key stakeholders for the project at hand.

Clarity — Think of this as the “how” you’ll get this project done. Clarity is critical when working in a group of multifaceted people. 

HOT TIP: You need to consider project management processes, tools, roles, deadlines and so forth. The more clear you can get about who-owns-what and when-something-is-due, the stronger your project is likely to be. 

Critique — This is probably pretty self-evident. Successful collaboration requires critique and feedback. Do not shy away from it. 

HOT TIP: Facilitate peer-to-peer feedback sessions. It’s easy for anyone and everyone to get tunnel-vision when working on a project. Or, alternatively, create a big group brainstorm that encourages everyone to feel “bought-in” to an idea or concept, that way each person feels as though they contributed to the brainstorming process. 

Communication — You and all of those on the collaboration team need to have a universal language regarding the project specifics. Even if a sales agent doesn’t quite understand the ins and outs of a UX designer’s job, doesn’t mean you can’t establish a common ground of communication. 

HOT TIP: Encourage cross-functional collaboration and communication on a regular basis. Weekly or biweekly meetings are a great way to achieve this. 

Connectivity — Think of this as the “what” that connects you back to your customers. What do you know to be true, or rather, what assumptions are you making about this project and consequential experience or initiative.

HOT TIP: Create a customer roadmap of feedback or reviews. Get an inside look as to what you know is true, and perhaps where you’re being steered wrong.

Top 4 tools that foster collaboration

Collaboration design projects usually have quite a few moving parts — along with quite a few people involved. So, to keep you on track, we typically recommend using a few tools that promote and foster collaboration, and keep you organized and on-task.

You have arrived at Collaboration Design Station

It’s worth noting that not all projects require collaboration design. Some projects are better suited as partnership endeavors, whereas others, like a high-visibility ad campaign, should probably be created using a collaborative design process.

If you Google “brand definition” you’ll find forty-three different attempts on just the first page of search results alone. There are so many competing misconceptions about what a brand is that it might be simpler to say what a brand is not: A brand is not a logo. A brand is not a name. A brand is not a trademark, symbol or jingle. Yes, these things affect the brand, but a brand encompasses all of this and more.

What is branding?

To begin to understand what a brand is, you must first understand that your brand does not exist in your marketing department, your public relations team, or your CEO’s office. A brand exists only in the minds of your customers. Simply put, a brand is the sum total of all the impressions a customer has, based on every interaction they have had with you, your company and your products. Each one of these interactions tells a story to your customers. If your customer believes that a product is new and innovative, then those attributes become part of your brand in that customer’s mind. If your packaging is beautifully illustrated, then they may view your brand as sophisticated or elite. On the other hand, if your service is poor, customers might think you’re stubborn or rude. If your print materials are designed in MS Paint, you may look cheap and amateur.

Every interaction sends a message

What is a brand?

Imagine all of these interactions as arrows, and each one points to a message. For example, your product (a big interaction) might point to the message that your company is innovative. Another arrow—your beautifully illustrated print advertisements—might point to the message that you’re sophisticated and elite. But what if an arrow—customer service—is rude and hard to contact? What if your CEO makes an off-color joke that’s caught on a news camera? Every one of these things are interactions you have with your customers, and every one of them is going to affect how they view your company.

All of these examples of interaction “arrows” point to different messages, sending a muddy overall brand message where the customer doesn’t know if you’re likable or not—whether they want to continue buying your products or go visit your competitor.

To manage your brand, you want to decide on a brand message then make sure that all of the interactions with your company—these arrows—are aimed at your brand message.

Disney branding

Think, for example, of Disney. Several years ago, Disney decided that their brand was “Magical Family Fun.” They now try to point all of their interaction arrows at their target brand, at every level of the company. Yes, there are the obvious examples, like their movies, and theme parks where actors at Disneyland (called “cast members”) dress up as Cinderella, Jack Sparrow and Mickey Mouse. But their brand influences the Disney Stores across the country: every morning, when the stores open, cast members select children to ceremonially unlock the stores with a special keepsake key. Even when providing customer service, the cast members integrate the Magical Family Fun brand message—aside from always sounding happy and eager to talk with you, they’ll spend extra time on the phone reminiscing about past experiences in the park, always happy to listen to customers’ stories or share their own memories. Everything they do, every one of their arrows, is aimed at Magical Family Fun.

Walmart is another interesting example, because their brand message became their slogan: “Save Money. Live Better.” Yes, they bargain hard to make sure that they have the lowest prices, but they also initiated the now-widespread $4 prescription plan, selling prescriptions for a much lower margin—or, often, no profit at all. They do everything they can to make their customers’ dollars stretch as far as possible. The company’s charitable giving is now more than a billion dollars per year.

Whatever brand message you choose, make sure that your customers’ impressions—your arrows—all point in the right direction. Remember the old marketing adage: “A bad advertisement is worse than no ad at all.” By being a brand ambassador—by sending consistent, targeted messages—your customers will understand exactly who you are and what you can do for them.

Why is branding important?

Pepsi challenge

In 1975, marketers at PepsiCo started a campaign that would become a legend in the world of advertising, and would fire the first shot in the Cola Wars. The experiment was simple and effective: booths appeared in malls and supermarkets, sports arenas and state fairs; participants drank two sips of cola from unmarked cups and were asked which beverage they liked better. Overwhelmingly, the choice was clear: consumers favored Pepsi. In almost every venue, in almost every demographic, Pepsi was the winner.

But there arose the paradox: Coca-Cola was destroying Pepsi in market share. Even now, forty years later, Coke controls the largest piece of the carbonated beverage market share—seventeen percent. Diet Coke comes in second place at nine percent. And Pepsi—the clear taste favorite—languishes in third place at eight percent.

Now, there have been some attempts to explain the disparity. In his 2005 book BlinkMalcolm Gladwell suggested that the reason is due to the small amounts: that, when only drinking a sip, people prefer a sweeter drink—which Pepsi is. But studies haven’t always proven that to be true, nor has it been studied nearly as much as competing taste tests.

So what explains it? Well, a research professor at the Baylor College of Medicine decided to really put the claims to the test—to figure out, physiologically, why consumers made that choice.

He put test subjects into an fMRI, a machine that tests brain activity by watching the flow of blood from one region to another. In the first phase of the test, he had subjects drink cola while their brains were being scanned. Once again, Pepsi was chosen as the favorite. It was the ventral putamen that lit up on the scan—part of the brain that makes up the reward system. In essence, the brain was saying “I like this. It makes me happy.”

But in the next phase of the experiment, researchers altered a key component of the test: this time, they told participants what they were drinking. It changed everything. No longer was the reward system lighting up: instead, it was the cerebral cortex, the higher-level decision-making part of the brain. When people drank, their brain wasn’t evaluating flavor; it was evaluating memories and experience. And when this higher-level cognitive part of the brain was working, Coke soundly beat out Pepsi.

This, according to the researchers, was the effect of branding. When a consumer has previous impressions of a product or company, it will actually change the way their brain evaluates such straightforward decisions as “which tastes better?” Coke has a long history of standout marketing efforts. Collectors buy up old ads and bottles dating all the way back to the 1880s. People buy clothes depicting the famous Coca-Cola logo. There is even a Coke museum in Atlanta, where tourists pay $16 for the chance to view exhibits about how great Coke is. And when they look to make their purchase decisions in-store, all of that material makes for a powerful brand.

This is the strength of a good brand management strategy. Granted, Coke has more than a century behind them, and the love of the brand has been passed down from generation to generation. But while becoming the next Coke is daunting (at best), this does serve as a good aspirational lesson on why branding matters.

Key takeaways

Want to know more about the impact of brand consistency? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

Why did you start your business? We’re pretty sure it wasn’t because you wanted to sell one product every blue moon, or because you don’t care about the services you provide.

Let’s be honest: We all want to make a difference, and we want to be recognized for delivering exceptional experiences. Without a positive reputation built on genuine feedback from satisfied customers, you can wave goodbye to local or worldwide recognition.

You’ve probably noticed that bigger brands tend to have this nailed down. You see that red-and-white logo and instantly recognize Coca-Cola, or that blue background and yellow text belonging to IKEA. Even those multi-million-dollar brands had to start from somewhere. How on earth do you create something memorable—something that a customer will recognize and trust right away?

One answer is product packaging. Packaging is the first thing someone will notice on a shelf or when they receive a delivery to their home. The more they relate to it, the more likely it is that they’ll purchase or recommend it to others.

However, before you reach stardom, there are several ways to increase the chance of getting noticed. From the way you speak about your brand to how you package your products, here’s how to tell a memorable brand story.

Colors draw in the customer

Without color, the canvas is blank. A customer won’t look twice at your product if it doesn’t stand out to them in the first place.

Think about what feelings you want someone to get from your product. Should it make them feel like having fun, like a quirky craft beer? Should it make them feel cared for, like a health-related product? Make a list of how you want your product to make customers feel, and find ways to translate that to your packaging.

It can be easy to match colors with feelings: calming blues, bright yellows, passionate reds. A customer could be drawn to a certain color, depending on what they’re looking for. Colors can help you convey your brand identity, as well.

Who is your audience?

As with any form of marketing, keeping your audience in mind throughout the process is a must. Who will buy your product, and what product packaging will appeal most to that particular audience? Think about colors, shapes, sizes—even the wording on each individual product’s package.

Customers often read the text on a product to reinforce their purchasing decisions in their minds. [Tweet this] For example, younger audiences prefer brighter, eye-catching colors with quirky shapes and blocky fonts. Older audiences who purchase luxury products prefer colors like black and gold, combined with elegant fonts and sophisticated language. It’s all about knowing who you’re selling to. Once you do, the rest will come far more easily.

Delivery boxes

No matter the size of your business, it’s not only important to have great product packaging on the shelves. When a customer makes a purchase online, they should feel the same excitement for their delivery as they do for the product in the box.

Depending on the size of your business, you might need to batch-order boxes for delivering your products. Businesses often need extra help to meet customer demand. BCS box-making machinery can help to create quality, durable boxing that makes an impact.

Consider sprucing up your boxes with custom-branded stamps, tape and delivery labels—as well as adding extra protection for your product inside each box. Think about padding, branded freebies, and money-off coupons as ways to encourage repeat purchases from your customers.

Logos & graphics

If you’re not including your logo and other branded imagery on your products, how do you expect a customer to know it’s you? When people see a familiar logo, they know almost instantly whether they trust that business enough to buy the product.

Graphics, although not always brand-specific, can often make or break your product packaging. If you’re selling healthy products, you’re more likely to succeed with a green, leafy design. Think about what works, and use a bit of common sense to gauge how you want the product to come across.

Product blurbs

Your brand story is important. So important, in fact, that many businesses make space on their product packaging to write a little about how their business started. Other companies write about their values, such as Lush and their natural, eco-friendly approach.

You can probably think of a few other examples of brands who do this well—which means they’re doing things the right way. The care and effort you take here will pay off when customers remember your story and take it to heart. Shoppers will appreciate an attractive design with an inspiring blurb more than one with a cut-and-dry description. Don’t forget that it’s often the packaging of a product that sells it, not just what’s inside.

Key takeaway

Customers need to recognize your products before building trust and loyalty in your brand. Find your brand’s voice and tell its story—your product packaging depends on it.

Like many things worth learning about these days, brand identity is a topic that sometimes gets so misconstrued and complex that the whole thing turns into a big meaningless fugazi.

For some reason, a lot of designers seem to think that making their ideas about brand identity sound more complicated will in turn make them sound like they know their stuff.

In my opinion, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

In the famous words of Albert Einstein: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Sadly, because many businesses have a preconception that brand identity has to be a complex affair, they make it so. But in the ever-changing, fast-paced business world of today, who’s got time for complicated?

Simplicity is key to making good decisions, fast.

So, if we were to sheer away all of the confusing fluff surrounding brand identity, what sort of beast would we be left with underneath?

Welcome to the minimalist guide to brand identity, where all of the confusing and pretentious stuff is thrown out the window and we focus solely on the stuff that really matters.

Let’s dig in.

Rule #1: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Just take a look at Gap’s rebrand from 2010.

Minimalist branding guide

LOOK AT IT!

That change cost them 100 million dollars.

And, they changed it back.

The lesson? If you already have a brand that works, and no compelling reason to change it, leave it as is.

Branding (your brand’s identity) only needs to be changed when the perception of you in the market doesn’t match what you actually do and represent as a business… which leads us into the next rule.

Rule #2: Put your values first.

So, you’ve thought about the point above and decided, “Yes, we actually do need to fix our brand because it doesn’t match who we are.” Fair enough.

But, before you even start to talk about the visual stuff—fonts, colors, imagery and so on—you need to do a little soul-searching to get down on paper the values of your business.

This, in essence, is what a brand’s identity is: the values that the visuals represent. [ ]

Everything about the brand therefore needs to make sense and represent you in some way, so start by answering a few simple questions like:

Answering those sorts of questions will help direct you in making choices about the visual aspects of the brand.

If you want your brand to be considered tough and macho, for example, you wouldn’t go for a curly, wavy font.

If you want your service to be perceived as simple and to-the-point, you wouldn’t want to go overboard with the imagery.

Once you’ve got those values nailed down, it’s much easier to say whether a visual idea is a good fit for your business.

Rule #3: Simplicity is key.

Sure, you could take a course on branding & design. You could read Pearce’s Theory of Semiotics. You could hire a team of brand consultants to come in with their chihuahuas, fedoras and turmeric lattes to give your brand “pizzazz” and make it pop.

But, why bother when you can keep the process simple?

You’d be amazed at how many companies waste weeks or months—even years in some cases—obsessing over minuscule brand details.

While it’s true that the devil is in the details, it’s also true that branding, just like any other form of art, is incredibly subjective.

Remember that, while you might get into disputes over the finer details internally, as long as the new brand looks good and represents your values, people won’t notice that your font is slightly lighter, slightly bolder, or that you’ve chosen Pool Party Valspar over Filoli Morning Valspar (yes, those are genuine Pantone colors).

In other words, don’t let your own personal ideas of perfection get in the way of progress.

Keep your decision-making system simple, while understanding that people on your team are bound to have a few ideas you don’t, and the process will be both quick and fruitful.

Rule #4: Look at your competitors.

If you want to save time while building a brand identity (and the elements to match), it’s crucial to put together a board of your competitors’ brands, including their logos and value propositions.

Why? Because a lot of businesses rush in, creating a brand they love, only to realize that it looks disappointingly similar to the competition.

Consider zagging where everyone else has zigged. If every brand in your industry is blue, pick another color that will make you more memorable and own that hue instead.

It’s far more powerful to stand out than fit in, so don’t assume that just because everyone else has done something for a reason, you should follow suit.

Looking at competitors early in the process is an easy way to guide your identity and the resulting elements. Other companies will give you insight into exactly which routes to pass by and which ones to explore.

Rule #5: Listen.

I’d strongly recommend using this exercise to build trust with your customers.

Ask them what they think your brand values are to get a picture of the way they see you.

Not only will they love that you got in touch, they’ll feel valued and potentially even become brand advocates.

This is the best and most accurate source of data when revising your brand identity.

Rule #6: Test, tweak and test again.

Once you’ve made your decisions and pushed your new brand identity out there, the key is to test and make sure the changes you hoped would be evident are the ones you actually get.

A soft launch to the same customers you spoke with can be a great way to gauge whether the decisions you’ve made are wise ones.

More often than not, some unexpected reactions and results are likely to occur. A/B testing new messaging & branding on your website and in your communications is a great way to measure whether certain tweaks are working.

When you do launch—especially with changes to messaging—it’s advisable to make incremental changes so you can track exactly what’s worked and what hasn’t. If you push ahead and change everything in one go, you’ll never know which elements are responsible for positive or negative reactions.

Key takeaway

Branding is a huge differentiator. No matter how you approach the subject internally, it’s important to keep a commercial head on your shoulders and realize that the more time & resources you sink into your new brand, the less cost-effective it becomes.

I know that’s a pretty boring thing to say when talking about something as exciting as branding, but many businesses fall into the trap of sinking so much time into brand identity work that the whole project becomes a false economy, costing you way more than it could possibly generate in revenue.

To avoid that pitfall, keep your decision-making process swift, honest, and void of too many personal preferences—and your identity project will be a flying success.

Ready to begin? Learn about the 10 assets you need to effectively manage your brand online in our free ebook.

Sometimes the best idea is the simplest one. That was certainly the case for the founder of J Dawgs, a Utah-based hot dog restaurant that recently opened its fifth location.

One day, Jayson “J” Edwards, then an unfulfilled Asian Studies major, walked past an abandoned red shack in Provo, Utah, and decided that it would make a great hot dog stand. Naturally, he dropped out of school and got to work.

5 brand identity heroes

Seven years later, J opened his first restaurant outside of Provo and attributed his success to a single factor: “the food.”

J was right about one thing: the quality of a product determines whether customers will keep coming back to it. But letting a product speak for itself, alone, isn’t a very good marketing strategy—especially for a small, relatively unknown business. It might work in the long run, but it takes a very long run to get there (seven years for J, in fact).

That’s what makes a brand’s personality—the human personality traits that it projects to potential customers—so important. It introduces people to your brand so they can form a positive impression even before they take a chance on your product. (Fortunately, J’s branding has now caught up with his product: see his new page).

In this post, we’ll look at five brands that we think each exemplify one of the dimensions of great brand personality.

1. Sincerity — lululemon

In order for customers to trust a brand with their business, they must first believe that the company actually desires their well-being.

That’s exactly how lululemon comes across with its lowercase, low-key approach to branding. It’s got all the passion of other brands without the tension that comes from trying too hard to impress. Lululemon’s straightforward approach convinces users that this brand has nothing to hide, that it is exactly what it professes to be.

5 brand identity heroes

The lululemon blog’s focus on real stories about real people, such as those who participate in yoga on Canada’s Parliament Hill, reinforces its sincerity.

Businesses can develop a similarly sincere brand by setting realistic expectations with customers from the start instead of overhyping a product to force a sale.

2. Excitement — Johnny Cupcakes

While we all value our sincere friends for their truthfulness, they aren’t always the ones we turn to for fun on a Friday night—which is where excitement comes in.

Energy and inventiveness are at the heart of a brand’s excitement. Those are both strong suites of Johnny Cupcakes, a one-of-a-kind “t-shirt bakery” whose designs all manage to look vintage and fresh at the same time. We particularly admire the shaking cupcake-and-crossbones logo that appears whenever you’re waiting for another page to load: its movement suggests the energy underlying the whole establishment.

5 brand identity heroes

Companies wanting to give off exciting vibes should look for ways to incorporate pop culture references into their marketing. Such trendiness won’t just earn them more clicks—it will also convey to customers the thrill of buying and using their products.

3. Competence — Genius

5 brand identity heroes

A brand is considered competent if consumers perceive it to be dependable, intelligent and successful.

Genius.com manages to convey dependability with its barebones design, intelligence with its no-nonsense moderating system, and success with its insightful explanations of the history and vision of the site. Originally launched as a meeting ground for people to interpret rap lyrics, Genius is now home to helpfully annotated texts ranging from literary classics to fast food menus.

Takeaways for your business:

4. Sophistication — Vango Art

Not every customer is looking for the pure functionality offered by competent brands. Sophisticated brands like Vango appeal to their clients’ more refined sensibilities.

5 brand identity heroes

Everything from Vango’s cursive slogan (“Be original”) to the muted background colors contributes to a general sense of delicacy, balance and restraint. The real draw, of course, is the art itself, most of which appears to be the very soul of elegance.

To develop your brand’s sophistication, make it your goal to inspire, soothe and console your clients. For example, you might start a social media campaign, complete with a hashtag inviting users to share relevant, uplifting stories.

5. Ruggedness — Pebble Smartwatch

While a sophisticated approach might appeal to artistic types, it could just as easily leave behind the rough-and-tumble rovers.

In fact, a brand’s ruggedness can deliberately challenge the overblown sophistication of other brands. That’s exactly the case for Pebble, which produces a smartwatch that’s in direct competition with more expensive (and more indulgent) high-end watches. The ad below, with its retro pixel artwork and sassy tone, makes a strong appeal for getting back to basics. This tongue-in-cheek branding helps Pebble tap into the trend of anti-consumerism—without making you think it’s just a cheap watch.

5 brand identity heroes

To build up a rugged brand personality, emphasize outdoor use cases and functionality over appearance. That’s not to say that your product should look bad; just don’t make it showy.

What does this mean for my brand?

While we’ve picked out brands that we think exemplify each of these characteristics, no brand can or should fit perfectly into a single category. Instead, you may blend several of these characteristics together for optimum results.

If you’re unsure where to begin, consider listing what you know about your audience. Your brand personality should be a response to their needs and interests. Once you know what speaks to them, you’ll begin to understand what kind of brand personality they will appreciate.

Learn more: Do you know the 10 essential brand assets for digital success?

With the right slogan, you can make people giggle at a pun, ponder the mysteries of the universe, or even experience a powerful craving. A poor slogan, on the other hand, risks making customers cringe. And forking over cash is usually the last thing someone wants to do after cringing.

This post will give you a 5-step guide to writing great slogans. So whether you need a brand new idea or you’re refining an existing slogan, you’ll be in business. Let’s get started!

1. Make your slogan ABC: Ambitious But Credible

Believability is the first test of a good slogan, because a customer’s belief or lack thereof largely determines how he or she will respond, and that response could very well be the difference between buying and walking away. No matter how much fun your slogan is to say, or how good it looks next to your logo, it won’t do any good if your customers don’t believe it. [Tweet this]

For example, Nike’s command to “find your fast” comes across as completely believable. While having the right equipment isn’t the only factor in athletic success, it is a factor. Slogans like this one invite consumers to put their trust in a brand, which is a big plus.

Effective business slogans

Some key questions to ask about your slogan:

2. Appeal to emotional needs

Making a purchase is often an emotional experience. If a slogan can incite a strong positive emotion (think joy, excitement, sympathy, etc.), it stands a better chance of connecting people with the products and services that aim to fill those needs.

For example, major hotel chains go out of their way to convey comfort: Hilton claims to be “filling the earth with light and warmth of hospitality,” while Aston bids “welcome home” to each traveler who sets foot on their premises.

You can also tug at the heart strings without being sappy. When Kleenex launched a video ad about a boy who gives a tissue to a girl he spots crying on the school bus, the closing observation that “someone needs one” positioned Kleenexes as the universal response to tears everywhere.

Questions to consider about your slogan:

3. Stand out with clever wordplay

Your slogan ought to be tricky or clever enough to make most readers think about your slogan for a minute or two, which makes it more likely that they’ll remember it. If it’s too tricky, however, it can go right over their heads and leave them confused.

There’s no easy way to come up with a clever saying, but you can start by listing words that have to do with your product, then searching for rhymes, synonyms, and alternate definitions for puns.

Those aren’t the only ways to make your slogan stand out—in fact, sounding too catchy in a clichéd way could be counterproductive. Reese’s “two great tastes that taste great together” follows an A-B-B-A structure that, intentionally or not, imitates the peanut-butter filled structure of the candy itself.

Nor does it have to be complicated to sound good. “Ace is the place with the helpful hardware folks” isn’t just easy on the tongue; it’s also a straightforward slogan that goes well with the down-to-earth nature of hardware stores.

https://youtu.be/KNo9lW6SIOI

Ask yourself:

4. Just say no to clichés and superlatives

How do you know when you’ve crossed the line from catchy to corny?

If people can sarcastically cite your slogan to disprove it when they experience setbacks, you’ve probably crossed that line. [Tweet this]

Another sign you may have gone too far is the use of tired clichés. Phrases such as “we do X so you don’t have to”; “for x, by x”; and “x of the future” are all used so frequently that consumers are used to tuning them out. If you really want to express the sentiment embodied in these phrases, find a unique way of doing so.

Some key questions to consider are:

5. Maintain a strong connection to your business

Can you match the following slogans to the product they represent?

1. Made like no otherA. beverages2. Rethink the daily grindB. women’s deodorant3. Live loudC. toilet paper4. Live life in full colourD. denture fixatives5. Bend the rulesE. 3D desktop scanners6. Designed to be forgottenF. ice cream

Having trouble making the connection? The point is that a slogan should strongly relate to the product it promotes. It if doesn’t, then it might catch people’s attention momentarily, but it won’t stay with them.

It’s best if there’s a strong, interesting link between your slogan and your product. For instance, Aquafina’s insistence that their water is “for happy bodies” makes good sense. Sunchips’ claim to be “unique in every wave” distinguishes their chips from their less curvy competitors. Finally, Paper & Packaging Board’s assertion that their products are at the heart of “how life unfolds” wouldn’t make much sense for, say, a burger stand.

Effective business slogans

(And if you want to know the quiz answers, here they are: 1. F, 2. A, 3. D, 4. B, 5. E, 6. C.)

Congratulations! You made it through Business Slogans 101. Once you’ve written a killer slogan of your own, be sure to sell it visually as well as verbally. Lucidpress templates can help you incorporate your new slogan into all kinds of marketing materials: social media graphicsdigital magazinescompany newsletters, and much more.

We love stories. We use them to understand our world, to make connections with others, and to find meaning in our lives. Ever notice how, at a party with a lot of loud conversations, when someone starts getting into a great story, the conversation dies down and everyone turns to listen? That’s the power of stories. We can’t resist the good ones.

That being said, it’s no surprise that the brands who tell great stories are being noticed. At its best and most powerful, content marketing is storytelling. [Tweet this] That’s what the phrase “storytelling marketing” is getting at—a story-focused approach to your marketing and brand building.

In this post, I’ll cover four examples of brand storytelling from top companies and talk about how all of us can learn from and apply their best practices. So keep reading to see what Apple, Airbnb, John Deere, and Jell-O can teach us about storytelling marketing and building a brand.

1. Apple and Steve Jobs

Apple was destined to make it onto this list. Ever since my family got our first Mac, I’ve been a fanboy. And as for Steve Jobs, his life and work have inspired me personally and professionally in deeply affecting ways. He’s one of my superheroes. Personal stakes aside, Apple can tell a great story. And often, Steve Jobs was the one who told those stories.

Steve Jobs introducing iPhone with storytelling

Jobs’ introduction of the first iPhone in 2007 is the stuff of legend. I still get goosebumps watching it and basking in the masterful storytelling. Steve begins by telling the audience why they should care about what he’s about to tell them. Because of what Apple had done before, and because Apple knew their market so well, it was almost a given that people were invested in Steve’s presentation. But he doesn’t make that an excuse to ignore good storytelling principles.

Steve begins the presentation by masterfully building suspense. A touchscreen iPod? A phone? An internet communicator? What is he up to? Then, even as the audience is starting to catch on, he lingers in the suspense a bit longer before making the reveal: a three-in-one mobile phone that would change the world forever.

Steve Jobs on stage using storytelling

Jobs was building the iPhone’s brand even before the audience had seen it, and the story was consistent with the company brand Apple had already built. Apple knew they’d made something exceptional. It was up to Steve to tell the best story, and he did.

Today, Apple continues Steve Jobs’ tradition of storytelling marketing. They do a great job of telling a story about what it looks like for customers to successfully use their products. Apple weaves their products seamlessly into the story. They also show how their products help people create their own stories, and Apple highlights the stories people create.

An example of this is the “Start Something New” initiative that showcases art people are creating with Apple products. With this page, Apple is providing a platform for their customers to tell the brand’s story, a technique that can produce the most authentic and engaging results.

Platform for Apple customers to tell the brand's story

I will say that this site has some big UX issues, which is uncharacteristic of Apple, but I love the idea. Apple’s TV spots for the iPhone 6S also follow this principle. The spots don’t linger on gratuitous close-up shots of the iPhone and how pretty it is (though boy are Apple products pretty). They show relatable but slightly-cooler-than-is-realistic people using the iPhone to do really cool things.

What can we learn from Apple?

2. Airbnb

I’ll just come right out and say it: Airbnb blew me away with their content. It’s the kind of stuff I would enjoy reading just because. After browsing the content for a bit, I was totally hooked. And I never once felt like I was being marketed to. But I can say that I definitely wanted to go stay somewhere with Airbnb after reading.

So their approach works. Airbnb’s content is totally focused on people—on the people who own the homes listed and the travelers who go there. They show how connecting with others is important to their brand and how their brand makes that possible. It’s a very human approach, and it works perfectly. In a very clear statement about the importance of stories to the Airbnb brand, there’s an entire page on their website labeled airbnb.com/stories.

This page has videos and little bios of Airbnb hosts around the world. It was one of my favorite things I found on the site.

Stories from the Airbnb community

Here’s one of the stories that I especially enjoyed. Airbnb is also experimenting with a brand magazine called Pineapple. On their website, Airbnb describes Pineapple as “a platform for the incredible stories from Airbnb’s extended family to be shared; it is somewhere for readers to see how people live and create connections in cities today.”

Pineapple magazine for Airbnb storytelling

This meshes perfectly with the rest of Airbnb’s approach. They focus on the stories and on the people, recognizing that this is the language by which humans communicate, so that is the approach that will attract more customers. There is also a truly genuine element running through Airbnb’s content.

At least I got the sense that they really do care about their communities and the impact that Airbnb has on them. They are invested in the lives of these people. They care. Content marketing best practice? Care about your customers. [Tweet this]

What can we learn from Airbnb?

Note: I found a lot of the information about Airbnb from this post.

3. John Deere

Believe it or not, John Deere is pretty darn good at content. And they’ve been putting an emphasis on content since before most other brands even existed. For some context, let’s take a quick look at the history.

In 1895, John Deere printed the first issue of The Furrow, their brand magazine. This was long before anyone had even mentioned the phrase “content marketing.” By 1912, the magazine was being distributed to 4 million readers. John Deere still produces The Furrow today, which is received by about 2 million global readers.

John Deere magazine telling their story

It may not have been hard for the folks at John Deere to realize that agriculture is important to their customers, and, predictably, agriculture is the focus of The Furrow. But it’s the diversity of the topics and stories covered that really makes this magazine stand out. It may be tempting to group all farmers into one category, but from what I’ve seen, they’re a diverse group. In speaking to farmers generally, John Deere has the difficult task of telling stories that a lot of different people will care about.

This is reflected on the topics that are featured in The Furrow. They run the gamut from a piece on the beef industry to coverage of gourmet chocolate production in St. Lucia. Both of these stories are focused on agriculture, but in very different ways. Even so, because they’re interesting, well-written stories, they have a broad appeal that transcends differences in the agricultural community.

Diverse content in The Furrow magazine by John Deere

I also really like the fact that The Furrow is a magazine, and even more, I like that it’s distributed digitally. Using Lucidpress, your brand can follow John Deere’s lead and create digital magazines to present your story and build your brand. Lucidpress has a great collection of online magazine templates that make the process fast and easy. Lucidpress also has collaboration features that allow a team to work together on the same project at the same time. If stories enhance human connection, then it’s also true that the best stories come from humans working together.

What can we learn from John Deere?

Note: The historical information about The Furrow is from this blog post.

4. Jell-O

I thought it’d be nice to wrap this post up with a fun example. Who doesn’t love Jell-O, right? Ok, a lot of you probably don’t like to eat Jell-O, but I dare you to tell me that you don’t find joy in this:

Bouncing Jello

And then there’s this classic scene from Jurassic Park:

Jurassic Jello

Never gets old. But in addition to providing endless entertainment without ever leaving us too full, Jell-O does a good job of brand building with storytelling marketing. The story Jell-O has focused on is people successfully making delicious desserts using their product (a similar approach to Apple, but with gelatin instead of hard drives).

Half of their website is devoted to easy-to-make recipes, and the photos of the finished products come together to form a great example of visual storytelling. Take a look:

Visual storytelling by posting pictures of desserts made with Jello

What this page illustrates is that you can get creative with brand storytelling. Recipes might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you talk about storytelling marketing, but because of the way Jell-O presents their recipes, it becomes a story about all the things that you can do with Jell-O. Sure, they left out this application:

Jello bellyflop pool

But they told a good story, regardless.

What we can learn from Jell-O?

So now what?

Brands live or die on their ability to enhance human connection. And stories, I have found, are the best way to build connections. So, take a look at your brand. Find the human element, and ask yourself, “How can I make people’s lives better? What story would they like to hear?”

You can jump on a call with some of your customers or maybe send out a survey to find the answers to these questions. Once your brand’s story begins to take shape, you can use Lucidpress to present your story in the best possible way. Whether that’s a magazine, a monthly newsletter, an eBook, or something else entirely. If your customers feel that your brand improves their lives, then they’ll want to be a part of your story. And in the end, your story is your brand. So make sure it’s a good one.

Want to know more about how to build your brand? Download our free ebook on how to build a brand in 2020.

Put simply, the difference between corporate branding and product branding is that corporate branding represents an entire company and its complete portfolio of products, while product branding focuses on a single product. Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn is a product brand. ConAgra Foods is a corporate brand.

Let’s take a quick step back to a recent blog where we defined what branding is: a brand is the sum total of the impressions of all interactions that your customer has with you. If it’s product branding, it’s all the interactions with your product—the packaging, commercials, quality, and so on. If it’s corporate branding or corporate identity it’s all the interactions they have with your company.

How visible is your corporation?

Depending on your company, the corporation may be virtually unknown—everyone knows about Twinkies, but few have ever heard that they’re owned by Flowers Foods. On the other hand, your corporate brand may be front and center for your consumers.

For example, Procter & Gamble was an official sponsor of the Rio Olympics. Their individual products were mentioned, but the focus of their ad campaign focused on P&G as a whole, continuing the mom-oriented messaging they’ve used in recent Olympic games. The campaign focuses on the strength that moms pass onto their kids, and how P&G is an ally in that goal. They cite several of their products: Tide detergent, Bounty paper towels, Pampers diapers, and more. But those products are seen very briefly; this is about corporate branding, and it’s the P&G logo that is displayed proudly at the end of the commercial.

https://youtu.be/1SwFso7NeuA

When corporate branding replaces product branding

Of course, Procter & Gamble doesn’t usually advertise the company as a whole (because their products are so many and so varied—from Dolce & Gabbana perfume to Pepto-Bismol to Febreze—that it’s hard to lump them together and promote them as a block), but other multi-brand companies choose to brand the company instead of the individual products. GE is a good example: they sell microwaves and ovens, but they also make MRI machines, wind turbines, light bulbs and mining equipment.

So, when GE advertises, they’ve made a decision to promote the entire company. A new ad campaign titled “What’s the Matter with Owen?” is a self-deprecating series in which a young college grad gets hired by GE and, instead of congratulations, he gets sympathy from his uninformed friends. He has to explain to them (and to us, the viewers) that GE is a great company for developers like him. They’re a “digital industrial” company.

When your product portfolio needs to be split up

Recently on this blog, we talked about Disney’s brand message: “Magical Family Fun.” It’s a message that defines its theme parks, movies, stores and merchandising. But The Walt Disney Company consists of much more than just magical family fun. They own other family fun brands like Lucasfilm and Marvel, the ABC Television Group (with channels like A&E, the History Channel and Lifetime), and ESPN with its many spin-off channels.

In this case, all of these disparate brands under The Walt Disney Company’s umbrella don’t get into corporate branding the same way that consumer-packaged goods conglomerates like Procter & Gamble do. They occasionally work together (ABC collaborates with ESPN during March Madness, for example), but ESPN never raises the Disney flag.

Your corporation has a brand whether you manage it or not

But here’s the thing about branding: you have a corporate brand, whether you are managing it or not. Your company’s products do not exist in a vacuum. Disney has suffered lawsuits and boycotts against one subsidiary because of the actions of another.

The Southern Baptist Convention voted to boycott Disney’s theme parks and movies because ABC was airing Ellen, the show in which Ellen DeGeneres came out as lesbian. The Catholic League called for a boycott of Disney when Miramax (a movie studio owned by The Walt Disney Company until 2010) released Dogma, a movie where God is played by Alanis Morissette. Because Disney owned all of these things, people chose to boycott more than just the properties which offended them.

When brands clash

A similar thing happened with the large brand conglomerate Unilever: Dove soap began the “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty,” a marketing campaign which focused on non-Photoshopped models and women who were comfortable in their own skin. It was, and is, a beloved campaign for Dove beauty products, but it was cited as hypocritical by some who realized that Unilever also owned the Axe brand—a brand that, according to protesters, objectified women. (Ads for Axe showed airbrushed models unable to resist men who had used the body spray.)

Protesters added that, if Unilever would show gratuitously sexual ads, then the “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” is not a true value of the brand or the leadership at Unilever, but a simple marketing ploy.

Key takeaway

Not every conglomerate has to behave like Procter & Gamble, advertising its products together as a group with a single focus. Nor does a company need to be like GE, uniting all of its products under the same brand. But whenever you are interacting with your customers, you are sending a message. Corporate branding is happening whether it’s directed by the company or not.

Magazines have found new life on the web, where old brands have undergone a digital transformation to stay relevant and compete with myriad newcomers both fragile and nimble. A look at the newsstand might make one wonder where all the magazines have gone—but often, a simple Google search reveals the answer.

We love magazines here at Lucidpress, which is one reason why we make it easy to design and share your own. Gorgeous and informational, magazines are an enjoyable way to connect with a lifestyle, hobby or industry—such as brand management, for example. Here’s our roundup of the 8 best free magazines online for brand marketers.

1. Branding Magazine

Best Free Brand Magazines Online

With the tagline “Narrating the discussion,” Branding Magazine covers thought leadership and conversations happening in the branding and marketing industries across the globe. Data and case studies combine to create compelling How-To guides and other advice. Articles are beautifully designed and free to read online.

In this evocative article, design strategist Jonathan Ford speaks with relationship expert Esther Perel about brand desirability and devotion, and why we find ourselves drawn to some brands but not others.

Subscribe: http://www.brandingmagazine.com/

2. Brand Quarterly

Best Free Branding Magazines Online

Brand Quarterly takes a holistic approach to brand management, pulling in relevant stories and data from various sectors of the marketing world. A quick glance at their latest articles reveals insights about multigenerational marketing, inbound strategies, and even personal branding tips.

In this article, author Adam Pierno reminds us that there is more to our brands than logos and messaging; context beyond our control contributes to brand perception as well.

Subscribe: http://www.brandquarterly.com/the-magazine

3. Brand Packaging

Best Marketing Magazines Online

Brand Packaging puts a special focus on how brands present their physical products—that is, product packaging. However, it is so much more than that. In this magazine are important discussions about what makes a brand resonate, what keeps it relevant, and why consumers behave the way they do.

In this article, author Ted Mininni examines what makes a brand culturally relevant, and how one brand in particular—Monster Jam—became a unique cultural phenomenon.

Subscribe: http://www.brandpackaging.com/publications/3

4. Onbrand Magazine

Best Brand Management Magazines

With a sharp focus on the outer edges of technology, Onbrand Magazine features contemporary discussions about the future of brand management. From virtual reality to the latest social media development, Onbrand raises questions and offers advice on how to move your brand forward.

In this article, author Rob Coke wonders whether “brand” has become a redundant concept—or worse, conflated with the worst of sleazy advertising techniques. How can brands adjust to show their genuine, honest purpose?

Subscribe: https://www.onbrand.me/

5. UX Magazine

Best Free Magazines Online

Although it’s primarily focused on user experience design, UX Magazine has a robust “Marketing and Brand” section, dedicated to content that lives in that shared Venn diagram space where UX and branding meet. If you aim to be a well-rounded brand manager, it pays to check in here once in a while.

In this article, author David Rhyne examines the who, when and why of visual design—and how good visual design is part of a well-thought out product and an effective brand.

Subscribe: https://uxmag.com/topics/marketing-and-brand

6. Transform Magazine

Best Free Rebranding Magazines Online

Calling itself the only global magazine dedicated to rebranding and brand development, Transform Magazine puts the spotlight on an area of branding that is often overlooked. Successful brands evolve and change with the times, and you can learn important lessons by hearing their stories.

In this opinion article, CEO Simon Massey of the Gild takes a look at nostalgia in the digital age, and how brands can build a bridge between the digital and the physical.

Subscribe: http://www.transformmagazine.net/

7. Harvard Business Review

Best Business Magazines Online

Just because you’ve graduated college doesn’t mean you should leave this gem behind. Harvard Business Review has an impeccable reputation for providing practical case studies and actionable advice. Check out the Branding section—you can read 4 articles for free each month, or register to read 4 more.

In this long-form article, brand expert Douglas Holt dives into the success and failure of brands on social media, and how a concept called “crowdculture” changes the rules of branding online.

Subscribe: https://hbr.org/topic/marketing

8. Chief Content Officer

Best Content Marketing Magazines Online

This magazine published by the Content Marketing Institute is uniquely focused on content marketing, a relatively new industry which grew out of SEO. Content is vital to brand messaging, making this publication a valuable read for brand managers.

In this article, CCO editor Clare McDermott takes us behind the scenes at Autodesk, a 3D design & engineering company that took content marketing to heart and launched a highly successful content program which bolstered its brand.

Subscribe: http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/chief-content-officer/

What do you think? Will you be adding any of these to your must-read list, and are there important titles we’ve missed? Feel free to share your favorites in the comments section below.

First it was smartphones, quickly followed by tablets and now smartwatches. The move towards mobile devices is quickening, and marketers are following suit. In 2016, they spent $101 billion on mobile internet ads worldwide, $40 billion in the U.S. alone. From 2013 to 2019, there will be an estimated tenfold increase in mobile advertising spending.

So how can your brand benefit from mobile spending? And how can you make sure that your mobile customers keep coming back?

Here are some ways marketers are using mobile to increase brand loyalty and cash in on mobile success.

Mobile pay creates loyal customers

No, mobile pay is not the leading form of payment. Not yet. But things are heading in that direction. In 2014, mobile pay accounted for $4 billion of in-store purchases. By 2019, it’s expected to increase to $34 billion. Though still lagging way behind plastic with only 13% of smartphone owners having used it to make a purchase, that number will rise. Especially since marketers for companies such as Android and Samsung are starting to offer incentives like loyalty cards for customers who use their mobile pay platforms.

Retailers like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts offer mobile pay through their apps and reward customers who use it. The Starbucks mobile pay program via its app has been so successful that over 21% of all U.S. Starbucks store purchases come from it. There’s an expectation that in a few short years, the app payments will account for 50% of business.

Richard Crone, CEO of mobile-strategy company Crone Consulting LLC said the Starbucks mobile pay app was “the most successful launch of a new payment type in history.” Marketers, take note.

You can improve customer targeting with mobile ads

Mobile is on the cutting edge of marketing technology. Where else can you seamlessly integrate geofencing, purchase preferences and history, and social media interaction with your brand? Mobile lets you isolate essential customer information to offer the most personalized and targeted marketing in history.

Mark Ghermezian of Appboy says about the future of mobile marketing:

“Brands must understand how to strategically connect with customers on a personal basis and encourage engagement, based on customer behavior, to transform them into long-lasting users. Mobile marketing automation will allow companies to collect and use data in a more actionable way and deliver personalized and timely messages to their customers.”

Companies who effectively harness mobile tools create stronger relationships with their customers by anticipating their needs, stimulating their desires, and rewarding them with exclusive offers and promotions.

Customers like to shop on mobile devices

Consumers interact with brands through their smartphones in a number of ways. They look up brick-and-mortar store locations, search for coupons and make purchases. Anna Bager, senior vice president of mobile and video at the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) says:

“Pressing the ‘buy’ button on mobile devices is now a regular occurrence the world over. […] Marketers and media agencies need to fully embrace smartphones and tablets as a critical pathway for all shopping activities and increase investment if they want to build meaningful relationships with mobile consumers, driving them from discovery to purchase.”

The fact is that customers like to shop on their mobiles. In a study involving mobile users in 19 different countries, 80% said they had a positive experience with mobile shopping. Also, consumers engage more proactively with mobile apps than with traditional forms of advertising. The ability to take advantage of deals and shop at their own convenience are key factors in mobile shopping’s popularity.

Mobile apps increase your brand frequency

Mobile apps not only incorporate all of the above principals, but they also effectively increase a customer’s exposure to your brand. Americans spend on average 4.7 hours a day looking at their smartphones. Factoring in sleep, that means that people are spending about a third of their day on mobile. If your brand is on their device, they’re being exposed to it constantly.

The marketing term “effective frequency” suggests that the more frequently a consumer is exposed to your brand, the higher their intent to purchase becomes. When you adopt a mobile marketing strategy, you’re exponentially increasing your brand’s visibility.

Dick Stroud, Managing Director at 20plus30 said it best when he remarked, “At the birth of the web, companies aimed to get their website bookmarked. Marketers should be in a race to get their apps on the home screen of consumers’ smart devices.”

Ignoring mobile is a big risk.

As the trend towards personalization and targeting through mobile increases, customers are changing their expectations of interactions with brands. 54% of consumers say that a poor mobile app experience would make it less likely for them to patronize that business again, and 27% of consumers say that it would give them a negative view of the brand’s products.

Marketers ignore the mobile trend at their peril. It was estimated that the UK retail industry loses a potential 6.6 billion GBP due to lack of investment in mobile. Jamie Turner of 60SecondMarketer warns: “If you’re not using mobile marketing to attract new customers to your business, don’t worry—your competitors are already using it and are getting those customers instead.”

An investment in mobile marketing is an investment in brand loyalty. Even fringe technologies like mobile pay are on the rise and some early adopters have already seen great success in using it to increase customer loyalty. Your mobile presence has a great deal to do with consumer perception of your brand. Bottom line: use mobile or lose customers.

Physics is to Albert Einstein as branding is to David Brier.

A walking, talking brand himself, David Brier graced our screens three weeks ago for a webinar that divulged the 19 questions every organization should ask before rebranding.

I have to admit, I expected all the cliché questions: Who is our audience? What is our core strength? Yadda, yadda, yadda. But David proved he isn’t a world-renowned rebrand expert for simply stating what I already learned in Marketing 101… he’s world-renowned for asking the kind of questions that require intense (organizational) introspection. Questions that actually make you think.

Intrigued? Watch the full webinar here and read to follow along.

David Brier’s draw can probably be attributed to his three decades of branding experience, but on a personal note, I think the bold, in-your-face personality may have a little something to do with it too. Case in point? “I’ve been compared to a triple-shot espresso.”

His words, not mine!

Now… sit back, relax, and let me take you on a journey through David’s mega-marketing mind as I summarize some of the insights we learned during his webinar. And remember, you can always just watch the recorded webinar in full if you’d rather hear it straight from him.

Why do companies rebrand?

Here’s a shocking fact:

For some reason, we as marketers can forget this minor detail. Entire populations who were once our brand loyalists don’t stay that way forever. They’re replaced by an entirely new generation of new human beings with new opinions and needs. Which means you need new messaging.

In David’s words: “With today’s technology, these changes are happening faster than ever. To stay relevant, sometimes the correct strategy is a rebrand.”

So we embrace the fact that the world constantly changes, we stay relevant, and we resonate with the new generations as they come. Easy, right?

Well, as David points out, companies repeatedly struggle to pull off an effective rebrand.

It’s that wall. No matter how hard you market and how targeted your campaigns are, there still seems to be a disconnect between you and potential customers.

The problem? Clichés.

David explained how certain phrases like “state of the art,” “knowledgable staff,” and “caring customer service” (who talks like that, anyway?) can alienate companies from their audience and be too predictable to hold interest.

More importantly, clichés distract from good branding.

Branding the right way

According to David, the definition of good branding is good differentiating. No surprise there, right? Stand out from the competition and potential customers will notice you more. As David reminds us: “Differentiating is not a luxury. You differentiate if you want to survive.”

You differentiate if you want to survive.

Now that’s a bold statement.

He’s got a point, though. The great thing about David is that he doesn’t make a bold statement without something to back it up. In this case, that something is a slew of real-world examples. Real brands that had real problems until he swooped in and differentiated the heck out of them. I’ll let you discover the intriguing before-and-after brand transformations when you watch webinar in full.

The 19 rebranding questions

The stage has been set. We understand why companies rebrand, what branding is, and why it matters. Now for the hard part—how to actually go through with a rebrand.

It’s about time we dive into the 19 questions, isn’t it?

I’ll cover the first five questions here. If you want the remaining 14, I’ll let you watch David reveal the rest himself.

Rebranding question #1: Why are we doing a rebrand?

Seems like an obvious question, but as David points out, many companies make the mistake of rebranding simply to rebrand—to be “prettier” and to change things up. But rebranding is not worth the time and money if it doesn’t revolve around strategy and relevancy.

Rebranding question #2: What problem are we attempting to solve?

Does your packaging get lost on the shelf? Is your product not valuable to customers once they get it? Figure out the problem you are trying to solve, and let rebranding help fix that problem. If you don’t have a clear objective to your rebrand, rebranding really won’t do you much good.

Rebranding question #3: Has there been a change in the competitive landscape that is impacting your growth potential?

As much as we’d like to think our brand isn’t impacted by the decisions of other brands, it is. No brand exists as an island. You always have to be watching the landscape around you, and be nimble and fluid in response.

Rebranding question #4: Has our customer profile changed?

Yesterday’s innovation becomes today’s normal, and new innovations can drastically change our customer profile. Don’t blindly base your strategy on information that could have been relevant for your audience five years ago but has no place in your brand today.

Rebranding question #5: Are we pigeonholed as something that we (and our customers) have outgrown?

Many times, businesses evolve as they grow. They start out with a certain focus, then shift that focus as time goes on. For example, a 25-year-old dance institution that still used a ballet dancer in their logo admitted to David that ballet now accounted for only 15% of their training. It’s a prime example of a brand pigeonholing themselves by not keeping up with their own evolution and growth in their branding.

As for the last 14 questions, they really are worth reviewing. David’s tips are chock-full of insights that get you to fight for your rebranding strategy—to really have a reason for how and why you’re doing it. A true rebrand should be hard—it should challenge your fundamental beliefs about your organization and spark new ideas of how to better hone in on the core value it provides.

Thinking about a rebrand? If it’s time for a brand intervention, you won’t want to miss our webinar with branding expert David Brier.

A good logo represents the brand positively to the world, which is one reason why there are so many agencies dedicated to designing outstanding logos. Although the names and objectives of many organizations remain unchanged for many years, their logos are often renewed periodically.

Rebranding is sometimes necessary for shaping the future of the company, but you can reap some of the benefits simply by improving your logo design. A redesigned logo goes a long way in attracting and influencing customers. Here are 9 great examples of famous brands who have successfully redesigned their logos.

Pizza Hut

best logo redesigns

Since Pizza Hut’s opening in 1958, its logo has been redesigned many times. From the original mascot Pete holding the words “Pizza” and “Hut” in both hands, the logo has evolved to feature an iconic hut-shaped roof as its main element. With this redesign, Pizza Hut has stamped its signature slanted roof in sauce—to match an upgraded menu with bold sauces and premium ingredients.

Pizza Hut’s renewed logo is simple and classically designed with a minimal color combo of red and white. Developed as a flat design, this red logo still inspires hunger.

MailChimp

best logo redesigns

This example comes from Jessica Hische, the designer of the revamped MailChimp logo. The redesign looks quite similar to the previous version; there are minor improvements rather than a complete change.

MailChimp’s old and new logos may look alike at first glance, but there’s a difference in typography which makes the new logo cleaner and easier to read. Redesigning your logo doesn’t always mean a total overhaul. In fact, improving the look and feel of an existing logo can preserve and enhance the brand identity you’ve already built.

Firefox

best logo redesigns

Firefox, the open-source internet browser, uses a logo which has gone through several iterations since 2004—but the imagery and symbolism remain the same. This logo features a dark blue globe (the web) with a bright orange fox speeding around it.

The logo design team at Mozilla have modernized the existing logo by changing several visual elements. The glossy touch on top of the globe has been removed, while the contrast of the fox’s tail has been heightened. It’s a flatter design that’s still as vibrant and fiery as ever.

Mall of America

best logo redesigns

The launch of the Mall of America’s new logo is a perfect example of rebranding. The largest retail and entertainment complex since 1992, the Mall of America has recently upgraded from its older, nostalgic brand to something new, modern and dynamic.

Before, its logo recalled the American flag with its star shape, color scheme, and waving lines. An old-fashioned serif font proclaimed “MALL OF AMERICA” at the bottom.

In contrast, the revamped logo features a multicolored star made of ribbons, along with the company’s name in a sans-serif font. This represents the changing vision and diversity of the mall, while still retaining its recognizable American star.

Motorola

best logo redesigns

Motorola’s new logo first debuted in Techweek back in 2013. Motorola was acquired by Google, and its redesigned logo represents this merger well. The flat design and letter “M” are common to both versions, but the font has changed and the colors are aligned more closely with Google’s branding. And in case that isn’t clear enough, the tagline “a Google company” is added below the Motorola brand name.

Google

best logo redesigns

Speaking of Google, its current logo was unveiled in 2015. Its original logo was designed in 1997 and digitized by founder Larry Page. In 1999, further visual elements were integrated into the logo such as an exclamation symbol, enhanced hues, and a background shadow.

Like many of today’s modern logos, the current Google logo is a flat design. There have been minor changes to Google’s logo throughout its journey, but it has always retained its classic serif typography and bold colors.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

best logo redesigns

Illustrations can certainly make your logo more visually interesting, but they can also become too complicated. Thus, the recently redesigned logo of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was simplified to look more polished but still feature the same pirate imagery.

The colors here are smartly used—a brighter, richer red calls attention to the flag, and black outlines the illustration without overpowering it. Redesigning a sports logo can be tricky business because fans are so attached to their team, but this logo retains all the crucial elements of the original, right down to the flag’s sword handle.

eBay

best logo redesigns

The disordered arrangement of letters in eBay’s logo were the main target of this redesign. eBay’s new logo looks modern, featuring a flat design with no letters overlapping. The colors have been lightened to make them easier on the eyes, as well. In this svelte version, eBay has elevated its brand from the wild early days of internet commerce to a long-standing and trusted online marketplace.

Facebook

best logo redesigns

Facebook occasionally launches different logos with new versions of its site. As the most popular social network, Facebook must keep up with its users and reflect the latest design trends—but its identity is always the same.

This new logo, like many of its digital peers, is designed in flat format with the bottom line removed. Also, the “f” now extends all the way to the edge. With its navy blue background and bold letter “f,” Facebook’s rounded square icon is still instantly recognizable across the web.

So there you have it—9 examples of logo redesigns from some of today’s successful brands. Trends like flat design and bright colors can bring new life into an old logo. As the market changes and evolves, these logos will change again, too. But most importantly, they will continue to represent and build a strong, consistent brand identity that resonates with their customers.

Wondering whether it’s time to rebrand your own business or organization? Learn more in our free eBook: How and Why to Rebrand Your Company

Your brand is your promise, and it’s important that you build it thoughtfully and deliberately. A brand has never been successfully established by simply uploading a good-looking logo and writing a few lines on social platforms. To create a real identity, brands have to invest a lot of time and effort. There’s research to be done, competitors to be identified, and expert professionals to be consulted. Every business should learn what branding is and why it’s needed. Whether you’re starting a new business or have already established one, mistakes are unavoidable. However, here are 7 mistakes brands make that you’d be wise to avoid.

Brand management is evolving rapidly. Are you prepared? Learn more in our free eBook.

1. Failure to research the competition

This is especially important if you are a new business. Researching the competition helps you understand what established businesses in your industry have done: where they have failed, where they have succeeded and where you can give your brand an advantage. Your research should include products, services, target audiences, websites and social platforms. If you don’t, this could trip you up in two ways: first, being unable to judge the competition properly and second, replicating a competitor’s strategies without truly understanding them.

2. Failure to understand your target audience

Before you start selling or even pitching, you’ve got to understand what kind of audience you’re speaking to. You should understand their demands, their expectations, the things they identify with and the kinds of brands they favor. Once you do find your target audience, branding and messaging will get a lot easier.

3. Taking feedback from the wrong sources

Depending on the type of product or service you’re looking to sell and the market you want to cover, you’ll need to take feedback from the right sources. Limiting your sources to positive reviews won’t help you set or measure appropriate goals. Friends, family members, employees and relatives might give you positive reviews no matter what, so think before accepting reviews from them. For any modern brand, the best platform for reviews includes both social media and review sites.

4. It’s not just about logo redesign

As already stated, branding’s not just about a logo or a tagline. Branding constitutes everything that you represent—even your company’s voice and the style of content you create. You will find an audience when you have a competitive advantage and a distinct style. Without that, there’s no value!

Some companies rebrand and spend thousands of dollars on logo redesign but not enough on other brand assets. For example, an online fashion brand can’t boost sales by just changing its logo design. To build a profitable e-commerce brand, it should focus on its customer care team, product quality, advertising (both online and offline), competitive pricing, and many other factors.

Yahoo logo redesign

Here’s a real-world example. When Marissa Mayer became Yahoo’s CEO, she decided to change the logo of the company. It made for big hype among the users, marketers, bloggers and everyone else. But when Yahoo finally unveiled its new logo, all expectations were crushed. It wasn’t terrible… but it wasn’t exciting, either. It turned out to be just a minor change that didn’t bring any significant growth to the Yahoo brand.

5. Inconsistency

Brand consistency has a tremendous impact on your business. Consistency helps build familiarity, loyalty and eventually, credibility. Be consistent with your promotions, personality, communication and every other interaction you make with your audience.

Coca-Cola logo redesigns

For example, Coca-Cola might just be the most consistent brand in history. Its logo has hardly changed in 130 years. Everyone recognizes its fun-in-the-sun summer campaigns and heartwarming Christmas campaigns. The brand has built such loyalty that no other soda can beat it—even when Pepsi famously won blind taste tests with consumers. Now in the digital age, Coca-Cola has built a huge audience of followers on social media, so it’s quite easy to reach its target audience wherever they may be.

6. Not focusing on first impressions

A brand with clunky design is a brand that will go unnoticed. You could have an amazing product, great messaging and outstanding customer service, but without a visually appealing presentation, people may never pay attention.

Some larger companies that gained popularity before the internet still get away with bad design, but any brand created after the mid-2000s should know better. A modern, user-friendly design will build your brand’s credibility and bolster its overall appeal.

The fix: You don’t get a second chance at a first impression, so if your brand’s design or website needs a facelift, make it a priority. There are plenty of business resources out there to help direct your efforts, as well as tools like Lucidpress that can make visual design easy and effective.

Poor customer service

Whether you realize it or not, poor customer service can be a huge detriment to your brand. People are more likely to talk about their experience with a product if the experience was negative, which is why the customer experience should be your brand’s No. 1 priority.

United Airlines had a rocky time for customer service last year, for instance, as a video of a passenger being dragged off a flight went viral in April 2017. Adding insult to injury, the CEO’s delayed response felt cold and unapologetic. These incidents caused United’s stock to drop drastically and skewed the country’s perception of this brand altogether.

The fix: Apply the tried-and-true saying: “The customer is always right.” You need to meet your users where they are, even if you have to go out of your way to do it. Examples of brands with exceptional customer service include CostcoMarriott and JetBlue. Companies that offer satisfaction guarantees, provide incentives and make up for mishaps build a strong loyal customer base.

Misusing (or not using) social media

Neglecting social media is another way to hurt your brand and diminish customer satisfaction.

A lot of social media fails simply stem from good intentions, like when Cinnabon attempted to honor Carrie Fisher with a tacky image or when Crocs tried to tribute David Bowie—both insensitivity issues that were magnified by their wide social media reach.

Other times, brands simply fail to invest enough time and money into social media efforts at all. Keeping up with various social sites shows consumers that you care about them, especially when you’re able to reply to questions and complaints promptly.

The fix: Devote actual time and resources to building a social media strategy. If you’re looking for a brand to follow, Wendy’s is a great example of social media use. With almost 2.5 million followers on Twitter, more than 8.5 million likes on Facebook and over 700,000 followers on Instagram, the brand has a consistent image, posts often and interacts with its fan base. The company’s social media team also keeps up with current events and pop culture—a great way to engage with followers.

7. Not having a Plan B

There are many businesses that think a brand is something you establish and then it takes care of itself. Today, that’s completely untrue. You should constantly refine and revise your offerings to deliver better quality and adapt to the changing needs of the market. Not all branding strategies will work the first time. In those instances, you need to be ready with a second plan to ensure that recovery is immediate.

One of the most visible examples of a brand refusing to adapt to change is Blockbuster. In 2000, Netflix’s founder approached Blockbuster offering to sell his relatively small company that rented movies online through a mail subscription service. As the popular movie store was making most of its revenue through late fees, Blockbuster turned Netflix down, unable to see the potential.

Today, Netflix continues to be a model for adapting to change as it has transitioned from mail-order DVDs to streaming, and the brand now produces hundreds of original shows and movies. Meanwhile, Blockbuster is survived by just a handful of stores in Alaska.

The fix: Listen to your consumer base. When they push for greater convenience or more options, adjust your strategy to give them what they’re asking for. If you don’t, another brand surely will. [ ]

 8. Insensitivity

Insensitivity in branding is a major issue. Companies make headlines all the time for creating well-meaning ads that turn into PR nightmares. Take the Kendall Jenner Pepsi commercial debacle of 2017. Rather than striking a chord of solidarity, it left viewers either laughing at the poor execution or feeling angry at the commodification of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Another prime example of insensitivity is the Filet-o-Fish ad from McDonald’s in the U.K. The spot featured a boy asking his mom about his deceased father, only to find out the one thing they had in common was their affinity for McDonald’s. Using such a grave subject to sell fish sandwiches felt emotionally manipulative to many consumers, and the company took down the ad shortly after the backlash.

The fix: Before delving into any controversial or sensitive topics, consider how your brand fits into the issue. An honest attempt at sparking emotion in viewers can quickly turn into exploitation. Learn where to draw the line.

9. Selling the “what” instead of the “why”

A common mistake in branding is selling your company’s features rather than a big idea. As Simon Sinek says, “People don’t buy what you do; people buy why you do it.”

Sinek references TiVo as an example of a company that led with its features—being able to pause and rewind live TV—and failed to really capture its users’ attention.

On the other hand, Apple is one of the most successful brands because the company sold a big idea by telling the world to “think different” about computers. It sold a mindset and lifestyle instead of some technical specifications.

The fix: Find something you believe in, focus on that value, and build your brand around it. Coke sells happiness in a bottle. Nike sells motivation. Rather than focusing on dry, explanatory messaging, your brand should have a nearly tangible energy.

Managing a brand is not an easy thing. But you must always understand that your business is more than just its products and services. Success depends on the way you shape the experience of your customers. This is what defines your brand identity. Once you’ve established trust in your brand, you’ll never want to look back.

Building a brand is easy to do. Building a strong, sucessful brand that stands the test of time, people, and competitors? Now that’s a different story. Here is an 8-step guide to building a brand development strategy.

Your brand comprises essential elements like positioning, personality, logo design, color scheme, tagline, etc.

All components are crucial to thoughtfully building your brand to stand against competitors and win.

It can feel overwhelming but before you start to panic about the sustainability of your small business and your brand equity, keep in mind that developing a lasting brand strategy is within reach, you just have to know the right formula. Read on to learn how to develop a strong brand strategy

Brand building is the process of shaping customers’ emotions, feelings, memories, and opinions associated with your brand through a strategy-driven plan that stands the test of time and people.

Brand Development Process and Strategies:

Step 1: Establish what your brand represents, at its core.

Create a list of your business’s core strengths. Why was the business started to begin with? What problem did the founder (you?) set out to solve?

One great way to succinctly summarize your brand’s purpose is to create a mission statement. Airbnb for example does a great job of providing a mission statement that clearly defines values, benefits, and quality all at once.

Airbnb
Image Credit: Airbnb

Your mission statement doesn’t even have to be displayed to the public for it to be impactful. Using one as an internal guiding light can still provide the vision and inspiration your employees need to know exactly what the company stands for and how their work should reflect that on a daily basis.

Step 2: Keep your brand distinct from its competitors.

Is it possible to sell the exact same product as competitors but still differentiate somehow? Yes. And companies do it all the time.

android vs apple
Photo Credit: TechCrunch

In the endless Apple vs. Android wars, the brands continue to differentiate themselves through strong branding, campaign messaging, and product offerings. You know them and you are likely very familiar with the ongoing competition.

The secret to competitive marketing is in your brand. It’s not just your product; it’s how you position your brand personality compared to everyone else. 

Take a deep look at the competitive field, find out how others are marketing their successful brands, then throw it all out the window and get creative.

Step 3: Determine your target audience.

As good as your intentions may be, your business simply can’t be everything to everyone.

Don’t be afraid to get specific and think about exactly the kind of person that would most benefit from your product or service. The more specific, the easier it is to target them with messaging that resonates.

It may be tempting to skip this part of the process (or to continue ignoring it if your business already seems to be doing well), but brand building is about building for the long term, and the more generic your targeting is… the more generic your brand becomes down the road.

Step 4: Create an elevator pitch.

At Marq, we have messaging that answers what we are, what we do, and the problems we solve for.

Here is an example:

For marketing and brand leaders who need to drive business growth, Marq is the brand-templating platform that enables businesses to deliver relevant content to their audience faster, by empowering everyone in the organization to build on-brand content.
Unlike desktop publishing software or design tools built for individuals, Marq is built for enterprise readiness with lockable brand templates, creative automation, and highly customizable team management.
Marq Messaging

The value in having a well-thought-out statement that everyone can access, which quickly explains exactly what we do, enables everyone to clearly understand our brand positioning.

Step 5: Build out your brand.

Now that you’ve determined the foundation of your brand and what it stands for, it’s time to put everything into action. That means creating a style guide, determining your brand personality, formulating your brand’s strategy, and making sure everyone is on the same page. 

Food for thought: Broadway productions don’t tell great stories by simply creating ravishing brochures, and businesses don’t tell great stories by simply designing clever logos.

Your brand is the feeling your ads evoke, the kind of people you hire, the friendliness of your support team, your brand’s voice, your brand’s visuals, your business’s values… your brand is everything your business produces and represents. Make this step of the brand building process priority from the beginning and your brand will have the life and depth it needs to strengthen your business’s image.

Step 6: Promote away.

This is the fun part. We all know what promotion means, but the right promotion can mean different things for different businesses. So whether it’s social media, radio ads, magazine covers, YouTube videos, billboards, PPC, content marketing, or guerrilla marketing — figure out where your target market already is and then go to them. A whole article could be dedicated to this subject, but for now just make note that this step is important for raising brand awareness, and you should dedicate a lot of time to it.

Step 7: Personalize, personalize, personalize.

As much as you can, at least. It’s 2023 and consumers expect their products and businesses to get smarter about how they speak to them. That means understanding your target audience’s pain points, getting on social media, using their first name in emails, etc. are examples of content personalization. Robotic language, over-enthusiasm, and baby talking are looked down on and feel inauthentic. So get real, and find out the tone of voice your customers most appreciate.

Step 8: Consistency is key.

You can build a brand for the books, but it’s not going to last long if you don’t figure out a way to guarantee it stays consistent. What happens when Sandra from Sales stretches your logo? Or Evan from Events changes the color scheme on a branded flyer to orange and pink? 

Zillions (to be exact) of brand managers face these harrowing situations every day and watch their strategically-built brands fall apart in the hands of well-intentioned employees.

One of the best ways to protect your brand from rogue content and inconsistencies is with web-based lockable templates. That way, beautiful branded content can start with your graphic designers and still look just as beautifully on-brand by the time it reaches your customers.

brand building strategy templates

Your graphic designers can lock down the elements of your brand that should never be changed (logo, fonts, images, etc.) before sending the template off to other employees in the company to put to use. Pretty enticing, right? Saying goodbye to brand inconsistencies forever is one massive sigh of relief for brand managers, and anyone who cares about properly building your brand equity, for that matter.

If brand consistency is something your business could stand to improve as part of your brand management strategy, consider trying Marq. With Marq, you can import your business-branded templates (or create them directly in Marq), and share them across teams. Lockdown critical brand elements and no longer worry about content being produced that is off-brand.

Want to know more about how to build your brand? Schedule a 1:1 with one of our brand-templating experts. Say goodbye to rogue content and hello to brand consistency.

Branding your office can have a positive impact both on employees and on clients who visit, so it is well worth the time and effort to do it right. Yet, many businesses fail to do so, leaving their employees to work in uninspiring office buildings. Here, we present five office design tips to ensure your brand stands out.

Office design tips

Photo from Unsplash

1. Define your brand values

Prior to starting any office interior design work, it is important that you and your design team establish exactly what your brand values are. In addition to obvious things like logos, slogans, color schemes and trademarks, you need to think of your business as having its own personality.

Ask yourself how your business helps people and what associations you would like customers to draw. One of the best ways to truly get to the core of your brand identity is to ask those working on the project to think of five words that describe your business and five words that describe your customers.

2. Differentiate between staff and client spaces

When planning your office design, it’s important to differentiate between client spaces and staff-only spaces. After all, employees and clients will likely view your business differently—and you may actually want them to do so.

Your staff can sometimes see through the branding that is aimed at customers, because they witness the everyday realities of the business. During the design phase, try to come up with appropriate branding ideas for the two different types of office spaces, so that you send the right messages.

Startup office design tips

Photo from Unsplash

3. Focus on key touchpoints

Office branding can be a balancing act, and it is certainly possible to overdo it. One of the best tips for getting the balance right is to focus on the areas where your branding will have the biggest impact.

An obvious client touchpoint is the reception area, so this should be branded to clearly state who you are and what you do. However, you should also identify what the most important employee areas are in your office and consider which behaviors you want to encourage or discourage there.

4. Include your products

Depending on the nature of your brand, one of the most effective office interior design techniques you could employ is to showcase your own products. After all, nothing tells the story of your brand quite like your products do.

“If you’re a company with a great product, then think about how you can bring this to the fore,” says Peter Ames, writing for Office Genie. “For example, John West’s Liverpool HQ has its testing kitchen as a central hub. What better way for a food company to demonstrate what it’s all about?”

5. Pay attention to color schemes

Last, but by no means least, you need to think carefully about the color scheme you use in your office and consider how it relates to your brand. Assuming the colors associated with your brand are not too outlandish, it may be appropriate to use them to decorate your office.

Alternatively, if using company colors would be too distracting, consider the nature of your business and decorate accordingly. If your staff works under high pressure, you probably don’t want to worsen this by using intense colors. At the same time, if creativity is at the heart of your brand, plain white walls will not suffice.

Office design and branding tips

Photo from Unsplash

I’ve been writing page titles incorrectly my entire career.

Google has provided best practices for constructing page titles, including:

These are all great practices to follow on every page of your site. But I’ve recently learned that there’s something else just as important as the best practices Google provides:

Quote by Margo Aaron

Don’t just optimize titles. Optimize thought sequences.

Your page title serves three primary purposes:

  1. To provide searchers with a description of your page.
  2. To provide Google with information that helps it determine how relevant your page is to a search query.
  3. To provide messaging to searchers that drives them to click on your result.

Succeeding in this final purpose will determine whether your pages achieve click-through rates that outperform average rates in Google. With page titles, I found an easy technique for presenting the right messaging to searchers: brand positioning.

Why brand positioning?

Phillip Kotler, Professor of International Marketing at Northwestern University, defines brand positioning as “the art of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the target market’s mind.”

Occupying a space in the searcher’s mind is how you compel them to click on your result instead of your competitors’.

A case study

Here’s an example from a page on our site targeting the keyword “ebook templates.”

The original title for our eBook templates page was the following:

Free eBook Templates & Examples | Lucidpress

This title follows Google’s best practices: it accurately describes the page, it’s unique, and it’s brief but descriptive.

It also meets the first two purposes of a page title: it provides searchers with a description of the page, and it provides Google with information to determine how relevant your page is to a search query.

What it lacked was messaging that compelled searchers to click on our link. Nothing in the original title helped “occupy a distinctive place in the target market’s mind.”

Our hypothesis was this: If we could help searchers imagine how our eBook templates would help them grow their brands, then we’d be able to compel them to click on our result over the others.

Keeping this brand positioning in mind, here’s the new title:

Free eBook Templates & Examples to Help Build Your Brand

The result: a 118% increase in the click-through rate for the keyword “ebook templates.”

Incorporate brand positioning into your page titles

To incorporate brand positioning into your page titles, I’ve found it helpful to create a brand positioning statement for each page:

Our [subject] page helps [the audience] [achieve a result] so they can [benefit].

In the example for our eBook template page, here’s the statement we came up with:

Our eBook templates page helps small business owners position themselves as an authority so they can grow their brands.

Bonus: The power of branding

According to Marty Neumeier, author of The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design: “Brand will become the most powerful strategic tool since the spreadsheet.”

Data from a study we conducted at Lucidpress with the global marketing research & advisory firm Demand Metric seems to back up this statement.

In this study, we found that the average revenue increase attributed to having a consistent brand is 23%.

[Click here to view our full report on how brand consistency can help drive your company’s growth.]

We also found that brands with consistent presentation are 3-4 times more likely to enjoy excellent brand visibility than inconsistent ones.

This is the power of branding—the ability to improve organic search performance for your website and drive revenue growth for your organization. Try it on your page titles to see if it holds true for you, too.

Next steps

Ready to create compelling page titles?

  1. Create brand positioning statements for your high-priority pages.
  2. Incorporate your positioning statements into your titles.
  3. Track changes in click-through rates and rankings using Google’s Search Console.

Feel free to leave a comment below and tell us how it went.

Learn more about how brand consistency impacts your business in our free report.

Whether you’re a recently funded startup or a business that has been operating for years, building brand awareness will always be a top priority.

According to one recent study, 89% of B2B manufacturing marketers said increasing brand awareness was a primary goal for their content marketing tactics—edging out both sales and lead generation.

In startup marketing, in particular, brand awareness is everything. Think about it from the perspective of your reputation: you’re the new kid on the block, entering a crowded marketplace and trying to serve an audience with increasingly fractured attention.

You’ve got to do anything you can to stand out, and marketing is the best way to do it. But in addition to carving out a space in your industry, building brand awareness also brings an additional benefit: anticipation.

People won’t just take your word for it and immediately buy your product or service. They need to be convinced. If you can make them legitimately excited for the idea—if you can start before your product is even released and get them to mark “launch day” on their calendars—you’ll come out all the better for it.

Your brand’s image is long-lasting

Simply put, your brand is your promise. There’s a reason why studies estimate that 45% of a brand’s image can be attributed to not just what it says, but how it chooses to say it.

For a startup, creating an awareness campaign that both a) lets people know you’re coming and b) tells them what you plan to do when you get there checks the boxes of “brand awareness” and “anticipation” at the exact same time.

Remember that your brand is going to outlive whatever your initial offering is. You’re not just trying to sell today’s idea; you’re trying to sell tomorrow’s, too. You need people to stay with you long after they’ve made their first sale, which is why the “brand awareness” side of the coin is so important.

Anticipation builds momentum

To say you’ll be strapped for cash as a startup is quite an understatement. You’re living in a world where every cent counts.

Even so, people are going to need time to discover your product or service. If you wait until launch day to begin this process, you might get where you need to be eventually—but it’s going to take a lot longer. Momentum doesn’t just happen; it needs to build. If you time things right, you can make sure you hit your crescendo on launch day (or as close to it as possible).

Focus on creating visual marketing collateral that doesn’t just “engage” people but actually gets them excited. Build presentations and other visual collateral that contrasts their life before your brand and after it. How will the “after” be better? How will the “after” be easier? These are the questions you need to answer to build excitement.

Think about what you’re trying to do as a Venn diagram. The circle on the left is your product or service. The circle on the right is the daily life of your ideal customer. That space in the middle where the two overlap? That’s the sweet spot you’re trying to fill. If you can find innovative ways to communicate that in the run-up, you’ll make people aware of your brand and get them excited for your launch at the same time.

Guide the court of public opinion

Give your new followers a place where they can discuss what you and they have to say. Whether they’re responding to your launch campaign in a positive or negative way, you need to know what the general response is. Plus, there’s never a better chance to do some course correcting than when you hear feedback straight from the horse’s mouth.

In terms of brand awareness and anticipation, this also creates something of an echo chamber effect. After a certain point, excited customers become brand ambassadors and start spreading your message alongside you. This takes some pressure off your organization while customers do some heavy lifting for you.

Prime your audience

At its core, building brand anticipation is about priming your audience before you launch your business. It’s a strategy with two goals: let people know you exist and tell them how you’re going to change their lives.

Rather than wait until your product/service is absolutely perfect before doing any marketing, you should start thinking (and acting) on this as soon as you can. It’s far better to have a preemptive awareness campaign, even a small one, than to keep everyone in the dark until you’re “ready.”

Why? Because the dirty little secret of entrepreneurship is that you’ll never be ready. Your product or service will never be perfect. To think otherwise is a fool’s errand. Fortune favors those who boldly strike out where others are too scared to try. [Tweet this]

Instead, start building brand awareness as soon as you can. Today. Right now. Don’t just sell the product—sell the benefits your brand will bring. Then by the time your product is ready, your customers will be, too.

To the average person, designing logos seems like a simple task—you just make a small circle or rectangle and put the brand name on it. But of course, it’s not nearly that easy.

To help a brand capture its personality and really stand out takes a lot of careful consideration and design iteration. If you’re new to the field of logo design, here are 8 tips for designing logos that don’t tread on overly well-worn ground.

1. Avoid clichés

Instagram gradient logo design trend

Every year, we see innovative trends in logo design. It’s good to keep up with trends and experiment with them for yourself, but don’t fall into the trap of using the same idea over and over.

For a few years, the “hipster” logo was very popular. Featuring a pseudo-vintage look, these logos eschewed simplicity in favor of lots of text and symbols. This look became so ubiquitous that it became a joke within the design community, spawning satirical sites like Hipster Logo Generator.

A current design trend to keep an eye on is gradients. Gradients have been a big no-no for at least two decades, but they’re now enjoying life in the limelight again. You don’t have to look any further than the recent Instagram rebrand to see it in action.

In the long run, it’s a better idea to stick to solid design principles and avoid clichés.

2. Embrace unique design

Coca-cola logo custom lettering

Originality and uniqueness make it easier to catch a viewer’s eye, and custom lettering is a great way to embody both traits. Additionally, it’s harder to copy than a commonplace font.

The quintessential example of custom lettering is, of course, Coca-Cola’s logo. As one of the world’s oldest and most established brands, Coca-Cola’s logo has stood the test of time and continues to be instantly recognizable.

3. Create a visual double entendre

What’s a visual double entendre? Essentially, it’s a double meaning. If designed in this way, a single logo can give the impression of two different images.

Lion Bird double-meaning logo

For example, in this logo for Lion Bird, you can see two animals: a bird opening its wings and the face of a lion. Viewers love designs like these because, once they discover the double meaning, they feel like they’re in on a secret.

4. Don’t underestimate color

Color plays an integral role in logo design, and its importance cannot be understated. A brand’s color palette sets the tone for its communications, and people often remember a logo by its colors.

Facebook logo blue color

You know these by heart: Home Depot is orange, Target is red, Starbucks is Green, Facebook is blue, UPS is brown, and Apple is white. While colors are shared with countless other brands, these brands have been able to lock down these colors in consumers’ minds.

5. Create a sense of motion

Twitter logo sense of motion

It’s possible to create dynamic logos that invoke a sense of motion without actually moving. The advantage of this over, say, a GIF design is that GIFs aren’t supported in every medium—like print, for example. Creating a sense of motion in a still image will help to preserve the brand message everywhere.

Twitter’s logo is a great example of this. In the past, the bird was sitting down in a passive stance. Now it’s moving upward in flight, reflecting Twitter’s speed and its evolving technology. This tactic works well for brands which have mascots.

6. Keep it simple

In logo design, simplicity is certainly the best policy. Simple, powerful logos are often the winners in the long run. For example, Apple and Nike’s logos are simple but well-known among millions of people.

Apple and Nike logos

Remember: even though simple design is the goal, it’s still important to be unique. Would Nike still have succeeded with a traditional check mark? Would Apple’s logo still be as compelling without that bite taken out?

7. Remember balance & symmetry

Keeping the previous examples in mind, you can see that balance and symmetry are vital factors in logo design. Look at how Apple’s logo employs proportionate circles along with symmetry to maintain balance and aesthetic quality.

Every logo has its own story. In some cases, the story is almost as interesting as the logo itself. Either way, storytelling can draw people into your brand, so make it count.

Do you know the story behind Apple’s logo? Ronald Wayne (sometimes called Apple’s third founder) designed a logo in which Isaac Newton sat under a tree with a bright apple shining above his head. A year later, Steve Jobs commissioned another logo. The reason? He thought people might confuse the original image for a tomato. Thus, the apple with a bite was born.

We hope these simple tips offer a peak into the complex world of logo design. By following this advice and avoiding the pitfalls, you should be well on your way to brainstorming a compelling logo for your brand or business.

Learn more: Do you know the 10 essential brand assets for digital success?

Studies show that the average consumer is exposed to up to 10,000 brand messages a day.

To break through the noise, your brand image should be powerful and to the point, like an elevator pitch—an quick and accurate expression of your key values, unique benefits and mission. Delivering it successfully has never been easy, especially if you work with tech brands, which can often be hard to describe succinctly.

Does this sound scary? Probably. Should that be motivating? Surely!

So what does a tech company brand consist of? What are the steps tech companies take to create a brand that reflects their values and appeals to their target audience?

We talked to 5 experts—startup founders, marketers and designers—about the answers to these questions and about their own brand-building experiences.

Here are the questions we asked:

Here are the insights they shared.

Markus Pirker, co-founder of Userbrain

Userbrain is a subscription-based tool that helps website owners, designers and developers improve their products by providing first-hand feedback from real users.

Before starting work on our logo, we made sure the whole team was aligned with our core values and beliefs. I don’t think you can create something as important as your brand image starting with the details like color choice—you have to work from inside out to create something authentic.

In the process of fine-tuning our core values, mission and vision, we decided to lead with the promise of effortless, ongoing user testing. This inspired the design and served as a baseline to assess the quality of different logo suggestions.

Tech company branding tips

We went through a couple iterations before we decided to go with the current logo. Past suggestions used additional elements, and we tried to narrow everything down to a very simple logo which could be used across different platforms without substantial alterations.

User testing is often regarded as a tool for experts only, which it really isn’t. If you get the basics right, testing your own product with other people will always deliver valuable insights.

There are already several user testing services out there using subtle colors and an enterprise-like look in their branding. As a startup, you always have to fight for attention, so we wanted to stand out by using bright colors.

Startup branding tips

The Userbrain iOS app icon

We used two different color palettes and paired the main colors of our logo with shiny, vibrant colors like orange and violet.

The vision of Userbrain is to help people build better products by bringing them closer to their users. This is something we wanted to reflect in our logo, with the two circles depicting users and customers blending together.

As in sports, continuity in testing your products is the secret ingredient of user testing. We really wanted to embed the idea of ongoing user testing in our branding.

We ran a couple of user tests on our marketing site to learn more about how people reacted to our branding and service in general.

We had several people mention that it was fun navigating around our site, and they captured the basic idea of our service within a couple of seconds, so I guess we got the basics right here.

However, our branding is always adapting to the new needs—I think that perfect branding is something that evolves over time—you can’t get everything right with the very first version.

Maybe this sounds a little counterproductive, but I’d advise startups not to worry too much too early about their own branding. Startups should focus their early efforts on getting something really minimal yet valuable out in front of people.

This is not meant as an excuse for bad design, but if your product provides value to people and is a clever solution to a real problem they face every day, they will overlook your crappy logo.

Expert branding tips

The old, quite simple, Userbrain logo

The Userbrain logo has been the word “Userbrain” written in Open sans and uppercase for the first year and a half, and we’ve had customers sign up with no branding at all.

The promise of our service is effortless and ongoing user testing. I think that our team did a great job communicating this idea in a simple yet effective logo.

Tim Sae Koo, CEO at TINT

TINT is a content marketing platform that allows brands to source authentic community content from social media, new and review sites, then integrate it dynamically into any digital channel.

New company branding tips

TINT’s logo is a powerful symbol that was designed back in 2012. It represents the connections between brands and their audiences. The intersecting lines resemble customer touchpoints and the circle that surrounds these connections represents our product, implying that these connections are the center of our product.

Warm red is our primary color. It’s meant to signify clearness and power—our brand essence.

The key message is meant to signify that we speak less and say more with design. We use simple and clear design that allows us to speak from the heart. We are direct, consistent, compelling and inviting. We are grateful. We are compassionate.

Brand identity design tips

Start with why you started the company, and translate it into a physical manifestation via logo and branding. The logo reflects our personalities, which stood as the baseline for creating our core company values.

Brand identity design experts

Hayley Snow, Marketing Project Manager at ContentCal

ContentCal is a simple tool to create, plan and publish compelling social media content.

Tech company logo design tips

Our logo was born from one of ContentCal’s core components: the approval flow UI. This UI consists of multiple dots on an axis, one for each step of the approval flow.

We started playing around with the concept of dots in a line in all different ways, then started to realize the potential in the idea. With some tweaks to its form, the graphic could morph into a line chart, process circle or share icon.

The flexibility of its form won over our team in an internal design critique. We developed the logo further to give it the form of a system, and after multiple iterations, the new ContentCal logo was born.

There are four brand colors used in our logo. The original UI colors in the ContentCal product were blue and “zing blue” (a very bright cyan), so these became two of the four colors used. We then added green and red, which are the ‘approve’ and ‘deny’ action colors within the product. So the logo looks like a system, and the colors are the ones used in that system.

Our logo doesn’t have a strong key message other than for it to represent our core values and to feel at home in the tech startup world.

General feedback has been that the logo works well in its environment, it feels associated with digital technology, which is definitely what we wanted to achieve. We also have great feedback about our logo being used at a large scale—for example, in exhibition spaces.

Startup logo design tips

My advice to a young startup would be to stay agile with your branding. Branding in tech startups is predominantly used online now, so there are more opportunities to tweak and adapt over time. I also would suggest not worrying too much about brand guidelines at an early stage. Your company should constantly be adapting and growing, and so should your branding.

We’ve made many incremental improvements to the branding both on our website and in printed documents. It’s always adapting, and I think this is the best approach.

Our core values are Flexible, Dynamic, Together and Consistent. Our whole brand is built around these values. As we grow, staying true to this will become more and more important.

Nick Kamyshan, CEO at Chanty

Chanty is a fast and simple AI-powered business messenger designed to increase team productivity.

Tech company branding expert tips

The idea was to make a dead simple symbol which clearly shows the letter “C” for Chanty and a dot in the middle to emphasize a human being in the center of information flow.

We decided to go for a high-quality logo and hired top-ten Dribble logo designers. After several months of their work and multiple iterations, our tests showed that none of the logo designs satisfied our target audience. Our founder and product owner was extremely frustrated with the low-quality results and came up with our current logo while on a plane.

We’ve tested a lot of color schemes, and it turned out that the color combination we chose is the most attractive to our target audience. It also has the highest conversion rate. I should highlight, however, that this color scheme is mostly used for marketing resources at Chanty, not for the software product.

Laconic is the exact word to describe the look and feel we’ve worked so hard to achieve. We believe that things should be simple. On top of that, laconic crystal clear designs are easy to remember.

New logo design tips

Experiment until you die or succeed. Find out which colors really work for your target audience by constantly testing different color schemes via various marketing channels (e.g. launching ad campaigns in Facebook).

Listen a lot. But don’t listen even more. Make discovery a part of your workflow. The more informed you are, the more confident you become.

Be unique, develop your own style, and go in a different direction than your competitors when it comes to branding.

Ksenia Levoshko, UI/UX Designer at Daxx

Daxx is a nearshore staffing company that helps companies hire talented developers.

Tech company branding is more than just the logo or color scheme on a website. The product or service a company sells is the foundational element upon which all branding is built. As your company’s offerings evolve, so should your branding.

The product I worked on consisted of several parts: a wearable device (bracelet or ring), an app, and a web portal. The wearable collected data on vital signs then transferred it to the app, which sent notifications motivating people to take action and pay attention to their health.

The primary objective of the project was quite ambitious: We needed to inspire users to change their behavior. As it turned out, the strongest motivator was the user’s desire for tangible, positive change and the use of personalized data.

That’s why we made a U-turn from a fear-based approach to a new, engaging one. We made it into a game, where at the beginning you see your current health state and set custom goals.

We used points to track users’ success and implemented badges and stickers as gamification elements. Each badge or sticker marked a small achievement that greatly motivated users and helped maintain their enthusiasm.

If you want to ask your audience about something, you have to give them something first. Early on, we asked our users for personal medical data and gave nothing in return. Now, we clearly explain why it’s necessary and how it’s going to change their lives for the better.

Understanding a user’s motivation is crucial. Once you realize what your users need, you can help change their behavior.

Key takeaways

Tech branding is not limited to logo design and a color scheme. Branding also includes the way a company communicates its values and mission, internal company culture, and customer relationships.

In an age of information overload, companies do their best to communicate brand messages as clearly as possible. This includes visual representation: as we saw, most experts prioritize simplicity—minimizing clutter and leaving only the key, nuclear elements that convey their message. Then, they make sure it’s 100% authentic and reflects their ideas and goals.

The experts also agree that designing brand elements is just the beginning of a long path—finalizing and polishing them requires a lot of experimenting and user testing. The branding process is never really complete. As a business evolves over time, the brand image should stay aligned by adapting to changing market requirements and business needs.

Want to know more about how to build your brand? Download our free ebook on how to build a brand in 2020.

The internet has made brand management much more involved now that there are so many digital channels for customers to communicate through.

Customers now have the ability to voice their opinions—and they really want to be heard. In essence, brand management is about managing those conversations while nurturing a positive perception at the same time.

Consider this: 93% of customers read online reviews regularly, and nearly 80% of those customers are actually influenced by this online research.

Your online presence is a powerful weapon for your brand. Are you wielding it responsibly? Here are 4 tips for managing an online brand effectively.

1. Actively monitor your brand

You can’t participate in conversations that you don’t know are happening. It’s important to actively monitor what’s being said about you online, along with metrics that provide a broad overview of how your brand is doing.

Luckily, there are a lot of tools out there that will alert you when your brand is mentioned.

From setting up classic Google Alerts to more in-depth tools like BuzzSumo’s brand monitoring feature, there are plenty of ways to make sure you’re part of the conversation.

Additionally, keep a close eye on the first page of Google results when you type in your brand name.

The other critical piece of active monitoring is that you actually respond when your brand is mentioned, especially when it comes to negative criticism. Respond quickly and honestly, keeping in mind that it’s just as important to be authentically human as it is to maintain brand voice.

Keep track of your online analytics, both for your website and your social media pages. Together, this will give you fuller insight into how your content is performing and whether it’s truly resonating with your audience. Traffic, time on page, and bounce rate are all good indicators to keep an eye on. Be on the watch for any negative fluctuations or downward trends.

2. Continuously encourage customers to write reviews

As we know, customer reviews are hugely influential in shoppers’ buying decisions and for your brand overall. Remember, nearly 85% of people trust reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

Let your customers become your brand ambassadors by continuously seeking out more customer reviews.

Some brands—especially startups—are hesitant about asking for customer reviews because they’re afraid of criticism that could hurt their growth in its early stages.

By and large, if you offer a solid product or service and provide great customer service, negative reviews won’t be the norm. But, when you are met with negative feedback, do your best to welcome it. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, negative feedback can be the most valuable feedback you get—if you let it. It provides insight into areas of your business that need improvement. Again, responding quickly and honestly can do a lot to sway a customer back into your good graces.

Overall, the more reviews you have, the better. Unfortunately, 77% of customers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant. Gathering reviews has to be a continuous process on your part.

Don’t hesitate to ask customers for reviews; most will be happy to provide one when asked. But, you must be proactive and ask. One great way to do this is to set up an automated system that periodically emails your customers to ask for a review—for example, after they’ve made a purchase. This is a great way to earn reviews and increase positive perceptions of your brand.

3. Always address customer concerns on social media

A surprising number of businesses don’t address customer complaints on social media and elsewhere. This is a potentially deadly mistake, not only when it comes to addressing that individual customer but many potential customers who are watching these interactions online.

The risk of ignoring that customer? There’s a 27% chance they may never do business with you again.

The same survey linked above found that 88% of customers would be less likely to buy from a company who has unanswered complaints on social media.

Silence can be deadly for your brand, so respond quickly.

4. Brand consistency is key, even online

Your website and social media profiles are extensions of your brand—for some, they may represent the entire business. The importance of brand consistency transcends the physical world and extends to your online presence.

The brand is often a company’s biggest asset, and a lack of consistency will make your brand less memorable and less trustworthy.

Keep everyone on the same page with clear guidelines regarding design elements, fonts, colors, logos and so on, and make it easy to maintain brand compliance. Don’t forget, your brand is also communicated in the content your employees create. So, whether it’s through a brand style guide or through branded templates, empower everyone on your team to maintain consistency.

Your employees can be very powerful brand ambassadors, but they must have the support, tools and know-how to do it.

Key takeaway

Customer voices are becoming louder. This is a good thing.

At the same time, it’s vital for brands to manage their online presences effectively. Ignoring complaints or participating poorly in conversations is not a sustainable strategy. You must be a strong, active advocate for your brand—and give your customers and employees the power to become brand advocates as well.

Some businesses naturally lend themselves to sharp design. Walk down any street in a hip neighborhood and you’ll see fashion boutiques, cafes and gastropubs displaying beautiful branding. Stylish typography, trendy color palettes—the kind of design that creates an enviable brand image.

When it comes to the service brands of the world—your plumbers, HVAC, pest control, any “man-in-a-van” type of business—design and branding are often an afterthought. The service comes first.

After all, there’s nothing cool about getting your drains snaked or having rat traps set up. Service brands don’t cater to a specific set of people the way a bar or boutique does. They sell a skill that everyone needs, not another form of self-expression. Beyond providing the best service possible, it’s hard to find ways to differentiate yourself from all the other service brands out there.

The result? Barebones websites, a lack of stand-out branding, and an endless supply of boring marketing materials. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, investing in some simple branding & design can help your business stand out from the pack.

Why: The market is crowded

Service businesses, particularly in major urban areas, are incredibly competitive. A search for “plumber” on Yelp in Chicago will yield more than 2,000 results. In New York, that same search turns up over 6,000 results. Local plumbing businesses, nationwide franchise networks, and general service companies are all competing for the same work.

In a market that’s so incredibly competitive, you need a way to stand out from the crowd. When you ask a service brand what makes them unique, and how they’re different from competitors, you tend to get answers like “We’re really knowledgeable and honest with our customers.” Which is probably true. For them and just about everyone else.

That’s a great business model, but it doesn’t captivate the imagination. Before you can display your expertise, you have to get someone’s attention—and tradesmen, not being particularly design-focused, often overlook that the path to new revenue starts with awareness.

If your business has a bland website with sparse information, and you’re driving a white van in a city full of service vans, trucks and dispatch cars… how are you standing out? If you’re mailing brochures to potential clients, what saves that brochure from ending up in the trash?

In order to thrive in these competitive markets, you need to capture that initial attention. Marketing alone isn’t enough—you can drive visits to your website all day, and you can mail a flyer to every homeowner in town. On average, you have 8.25 seconds of their attention. Do you really think someone is going to look at a white-and-blue website that says “We’re trustworthy!” for more than 8 seconds?

Probably not. But then, how do you do it?

How: Color, design & user intent

So now, let’s welcome design back into the picture. We need it to capture the attention of potential customers, to stand out from the 2,000 other plumbing businesses in Chicago. But service brands don’t always have graphic designers—or even the budget to hire one. It’s tough to even know where to start.

Color

Design

User intent

When: Right now

It’s easy to put off projects like updating a website, improving flyers or repainting trucks. But, the sooner you can develop strong branding, the better off you’ll be down the road.

For many service businesses, winter represents downtime, which offers the perfect chance to brush up on your design skills and revamp your brand’s image. Imagine starting the next busy season with the right collateral in place to drive more sales. It’s within your grasp, and easier than you think.

See how Marq makes it easy to create attractive, professional marketing materials—no expert design skills required.

Sometimes, change is a good thing.

A fresh lick of paint can revive a dull living room, a new haircut can boost self-esteem, and a rejuvenated image can bring life back to an outdated brand.

The catch is that, unlike changing your hairstyle, a brand refresh isn’t something to do on a whim because you’re bored or haven’t had a chance to play with your design software in a while. Without a solid strategy, your renovation could turn into a DIY disaster.

When you’re considering a brand refresh, start by asking a few honest questions:

Let’s take a look at a few reasons why a brand refresh might be the right choice for your company today.

Is my brand outdated? Separating the dynamite from the dinosaurs

Perhaps the most obvious reason to refresh a brand is that its image has simply outgrown its effectiveness. IBM is a great example of a brand that’s successfully evolved its image to match the changing nature of its product portfolio. By adapting its visual identity and voice throughout the decades, IBM has shown it can stand up against modern competitors.

IBM brand refresh

This IBM logo offers a look back at the brand’s history

IBM rebrand

A selection of icons designed for IBM’s centennial

Many enterprises struggle to make changes because an old brand can gradually start to feel like an old pair of shoes-sturdy and comfortable. Unfortunately, you will need to make changes eventually if you want to be seen as an authority in your space, rather than a relic. Here are a few ways to check whether your brand is becoming outdated:

Microsoft brand refresh

A timeline of Microsoft’s evolving logo design

Refreshing vs. rebranding

It’s easy to confuse a rebrand with a brand refresh, but ultimately, they serve two different purposes. A company rebrand is an extensive endeavor that involves completely removing the basic structure of the brand and starting over. A company typically only pursues this strategy if the current brand identity is confusing, contradictory or misrepresents the core of the company’s mission. A brand refresh, however, involves updating and building upon the brand structure that is already known and loved. Rather than a complete overhaul, it involves an update to visual elements, tweaks to messaging or changes to other differentiators.

5 practical reasons to refresh your brand

A brand is more than just a name and a logo. It’s also your company’s reputation, identity, and public perception. In many cases, companies recognize the need for change but want to preserve the brand’s positive aspects. With that thought in mind, here are 5 reasons you might consider updating the brand rather than undergoing a full rebrand.

1. You aren’t getting enough attention

A great brand doesn’t just generate an image for your company; it gives your customers a reason to sit up and take notice. There are plenty of ways to tell whether your audience has moved on from your message, and the first is that you’ve seen a steady decline in sales.

If people are just as happy with your products as they’ve always been, but you’re not gaining ground in the market, this could be a sign that your brand has lost its selling potential.

Remember, refreshing your brand doesn’t involve turning your identity upside down. Instead, it can be something as simple as redesigning your logo, unrolling a new slogan, or switching to a new color palette. It’s giving your audience something new to chew on while sticking to your brand’s core values. [Tweet this]

The power is completely in your hands.

2. You don’t stand out from the competition any more

Making an impact is hard in today’s saturated online marketplace—and copycats are running wild. Even if you have a great product or service, it won’t be enough if customers can’t distinguish your brand from the other players in your niche. You’ve got to stay ahead of the pack.

If your brand image is starting to feel like a copy-paste job, then you’re going to need new and unique ways to recapture your audience’s interest.

This can be a complex process because it means getting to the bottom of what your company stands for, what it can do today, and how it outshines your competitors. If you can find a way to differentiate yourself, you’ll find it much easier to drive brand awareness and loyalty.

3. Your company has changed

A founder’s initial vision and the company that grows out of it aren’t always one and the same. Sometimes, a brand is born with a particular product in mind—like Starbucks and its signature coffee. Then, as the business continues to grow, it’ll develop new products to better serve its audience.

Over the years, Starbucks has updated its product list to include everything from sandwiches to iced tea. These changes meant that the company had to reimagine the brand’s image based on what they could offer customers in a new marketplace.

As the business evolves, keep an eye on your brand and take note of any constraints that might make it difficult to branch out into new areas.

Starbucks brand refresh

Starbucks has evolved to serve much more than coffee

4. Your message is inconsistent

For most companies, building a brand is about refining ideas and values into a voice and image that they can project to the world. As you can imagine, this is a complicated process that even the best of intentions can belie.

A brand refresh can help to realign your company’s values when they start to lose their way. After all, we know how valuable brand consistency is—not just to your customers’ experience, but also to your bottom line. If you want your brand to become a trusted name, then you’ve got to deliver the same, familiar experience whenever customers interact with you.

5. You want to attract new customers

When a brand is just getting started, it’s often easier to target a small, niche audience. However, as the brand grows, it’ll find opportunities to expand into different areas that offer new sources of revenue.

Sometimes, tapping into a new share of the market requires changing your voice or image so it’s more likely to appeal to a wider range of customers. A brand refresh can help you reimagine what the future looks like for the company.

Apple brand refresh

Apple excels at making its brand & products feel fresh. Remember these?

Is it time to refresh your brand?

Ultimately, the decision to refresh your brand can be a difficult one, but it’s worth thinking about when your current image isn’t delivering the results you need.

In severe cases, you might discover that the best way to bring your company back to life is a complete rebrand, where you go back to the drawing board and start fresh. While a rebrand is a more dramatic approach, a refresh allows companies to make tweaks over time that help their brand evolve with the market.

Considering a brand overhaul? Grab a free guide to conducting a rebrand

Jeff Bezos once said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Your brand identity is the essence of your brand. It’s who you are, what you do, and how people describe your brand, based on the way you make them feel.

The problem is, people don’t always trust brands. They inherently don’t believe the identity you’re selling them is who you really are. That’s why you need to reach out to relevant influencers to validate the brand identity you’ve built.

Influencers reflect your brand identity

Just as you use a consistent voice and imagery across your content, the way influencers talk about your brand should sound like they are talking about the same person.

If multiple friends shared posts about a single friend online, you’d be able to tell who that person is. Likewise, when multiple influencers share posts about your brand, your brand identity should be clear.

When a person zooms out and views your various influencers as a group, the picture should make sense. Maybe they are all in the same age group, from the same city, or share a similar interest.

The most basic influencer marketing program would have a Venn diagram with one thing in the middle that all the influencers share. However, as your influencer marketing program grows and matures, you can envision several chains of interconnected circles that all tie together.

Lululemon’s ambassador program includes a diverse group of individuals from foodies to snowboarders to dance instructors, but they all share one thing in common: a life devoted to being fit.

How to build brand identity with influencer marketing

Work with the right influencers

You know the saying, “You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep”? The same goes for brands. None of your influencer choices should seem jarring to someone who heard about you from another influencer.

That’s why it’s critical to do your research up front. This keeps you from running into problems of discrepancy; if you sell business software, it will come off as insincere—or worse, desperate—if you have a fashion blogger chatting you up. Your influencer’s personality and niche should match, or at least mesh with your brand, as someone you would associate with.

If your brand was a person, would they run in the same social circles as your influencer? Even if they might not do everything together, it makes sense for a fitness vlogger to promote a pet-sitting service if they regularly travel to weightlifting competitions.

Align your brand with specific types of influencers

If your brand is suffering from a case of poor brand identity, one way to fix that is strategically partnering with a targeted set of influencers. Of course, these influencers should overlap with your customer audience, and their values should jibe with your brand’s. But, a focused campaign can help your brand become known as “that one all the [fill-in-the-blank] bloggers love.”

This is a good strategy for breaking into a new niche or vertical. If your product is extremely specific, this strategy can work wonders. Your association with a niche set of influencers will quickly spread your name among potential customers and solidify your legitimacy within the community.

Take Royal Caribbean for example. Cruises have traditionally been viewed as a travel option for the over-50 age set. The cruise line wanted to attract more millennials, so they partnered with Periscoping travel bloggers via an influencer livestream campaign.

How to boost brand identity with influencer marketing

Give influencers what they need

The better that influencers understand your goals, as well as the ins and outs of your service, the better they can promote you. Give them what they need to understand your product. Then, they can create promotional content that feels authentic, rather than a one-size-fits-all sales pitch slapped on a pretty picture. You can guess which one is more effective.

Use influencers to make your brand real. Ask them to highlight how your free sample felt personalized to their needs or was delivered in a special way. Suggest that they talk about how your product solved a specific problem for them, or request that they mention an employee they spoke with at a store or over the phone.

Just as the laughs you share with a new friend help your relationship blossom, these little details are what shape a consumer’s relationship with your brand.

Key takeaway

The great thing about brand identity is that the more people talk about it, the stronger it becomes. [Tweet this] And when those people are influencers, it becomes stronger even faster. If you have a solid brand identity, it might be time to find influencers who can help you drive awareness and adoption.

For brands, few objectives matter more than creating an impactful, positive impression. Because, if you can make a favorable first impression, it’s inevitable that good conversation — about your brand — will follow.

Now, keeping that conversation in your favor can be tricky. Ultimately, you want to maintain a consistent brand message and voice across all content. If the tone, voice, or visual experience is at all inconsistent, your target audience will likely become confused and you’ll lose their attention, thus impacting sales and customer retention. When your target audience doesn’t know who you are or what you do, it’s tough to expect them to remember or come back to you.

So what should you do to make sure your brand doesn’t take an unintended fork in the road? Well, here are a few strategies that make developing brand consistency easy for your sales organization.

Share a message that resonates

Want to stand out from the crowd? Start by zeroing in on your target audience with a message that speaks directly to what they want and what they need. Take customer feedback, pushback, pain points and reviews seriously — these are all goldmines for messaging information.

Communicate a clear brand message across the board with marketing (from print ads to social media) to sales (from initial pitch to closing time). Figure out who you want to reach with your message, then focus your energies on reaching that audience again and again.

Once you find a message that works, you ought to stick with it. Oftentimes, brands will tinker with a message too much and everything gets lost in translation, meaning the messaging loses focus and purpose. 

Personalize the content experience

You want to highlight why your brand is uniquely positioned to solve the problem your prospective customer is experiencing. In other words, you want to give your customers good reasons to go with your brand over a competitor. 

For instance, if your brand voice feels unique, you can progress up the sales food chain. If you don’t find ways to be unique, you get devoured by the latest trendy new thing. Alternatively, we’d recommend personalizing your customer’s content experience. Not only does this help you stand out in a crowd, but it showcases that you “see” your customers. 

In your sales enablement content, be sure to focus on your strengths. A big mistake with branding is trying to do too much. It isn’t an effective strategy to be a jack-of-all-trades with all people. Your brand’s voice and content experience should be clear, compelling, unique and believable in each interaction with its target audience.

Offer influence and support outside of the buyer’s journey

Your brand voice is defined by how people see it. Influencing how people perceive your organization or your products is as important as getting consumers to buy from you — everything from demos to packaging impacts your brand’s overall perception.

Social media can be a powerful tool for crafting and shaping your relationships. Interacting with consumers and potential consumers can make it easier for you to create a conversation or gain quick insights about what you can do better. Social media channels are an incubator for ideas and will spur growth for your organization if used in the right way. They’re a great way to engage with customers and make your brand feel accessible.

Be prepared to enforce brand guidelines

If your marketing team is worth its snuff, it’s already created brand style and usage guidelines to ensure all messaging and visuals stay consistent. These guides cover how to use various brand assets in internal and external communications — including which fonts and colors to use, or the correct logos and slogans. 

Guides like these not only help your organization’s marketing team, but they also serve as a useful reference for other employees, managers and departments — including sales — looking to create their own content. Ultimately, brand guides should align with your organization’s overall vision and mission. Brand consistency is much easier to achieve when grounded in the core principles that drive your organization.

So, always refer back to your brand guidelines and be prepared to enforce them when developing sales content and planning your outreach efforts. Customers will find you through more than one channel, which means multiple avenues exist to make an excellent first impression. Creating brand consistency across all of these channels is essential to ensure your brand stays memorable and top of mind.

Streamline branded content creation with Lucidpress

Lucidpress makes it a simple task to create a uniform brand identity and empower others in your sales org to create on-brand, professional-looking content. Plus, easy-to-use features like a drag-and-drop editor and advanced template locking take the learning curve out of designing. 

So whether you’re publishing or updating a brochure, newsletter, one-pager, slide deck — or any other material your sales team needs — you can count on Lucidpress to ensure materials get to where they need to go, quickly.

Learn more about how to achieve consistent storytelling across your sales org in our free sales enablement workbook.

Perception determines reality with branding. The impression you make with customers and potential customers ultimately influences the overall strength of your brand. That’s why even simple mistakes with brand consistency can create costly headaches.

Branding mistakes aren’t simply a concern affecting novice entrepreneurs taking their first steps into the marketplace. Businesses of all shapes and sizes can take missteps with their branding and lack a consistent voice or direction in their products and services.

Large companies can be especially vulnerable to the impact of brand inconsistency. It can lead to lost revenue and diminished customer loyalty. Those companies will end up yielding ground to more savvy competitors and often struggle to create a positive image and voice for their brand.

Here are 7 common brand consistency mistakes that large companies typically make. The good news is many of these mistakes are fixable or can be avoided.

1. Slow content creation

It’s no coincidence that new content seems to pop up on websites and social media channels at the speed of light. The digital age has revolutionized how we acquire information and put it right at our fingertips. Taking a slow and steady approach may win the race for the tortoise, but it doesn’t work with content creation.

If your brand is locked down to the point that it stifles new content creation, corporate marketing will turn into a bottleneck. Your brand will acquire a perception of being outdated and irrelevant within your industry. Timely and relevant content creation, on the other hand, will help put your company forward as a subject-matter expert and establishes it as a voice that customers can trust.

2. Wasted designer time

Do your designers work overtime making mundane updates to existing content, like a brochure or flyer? If that’s the case, they’re not properly utilizing their talents — and it could be limiting your company’s reach and costing you on the bottom line.

Burdening designers with too many small tasks causes the focus to slip from the bigger picture. Free them up to work on projects that incorporate their creative talents. Those creative juices flow when a designer isn’t handcuffed to simply doing brand housekeeping. Their minds are less cluttered and have room for dynamic ideas to emerge.

3. Off-brand content

Going rogue works when it comes to stealing Death Star plans. It doesn’t work with creating content. [Tweet this] Brand guidelines need to be in place for a reason. If a department is creating rogue content that doesn’t follow established brand guidelines, it can spell disaster for your company in a hurry.

Establish your brand identity and create a branding guide that adheres to that vision. Educate individual employees and managers across all departments on these guidelines, so they understand how to communicate with your target audience without going off the rails. Permitting individuals or entire departments to tweak your brand to fit their whims will undermine the brand’s integrity. Offer them plenty of resources to help them keep content on target with your brand’s voice.

4. Outdated brand assets

Few things are more embarrassing than taking the time to update your company’s logo, slogan or other key brand assets… only to see the old assets show up in your company’s messaging. That’s the risk of not keeping everyone on the same page. It can make your brand appear indecisive, outdated or out of touch.

Each department and employee should have a working knowledge of which brand assets and templates are in current use. Store these things in a central, online place and make them easily accessible for all of your brand marketing efforts. Each brand asset should be reviewed periodically to ensure it remains uniform with the core brand messaging.

5. No brand champion

Creating a consistent brand voice starts at the top. Your CMO is like the pace car leading the rest of the pack to the starting line. It falls on their shoulders to be a brand champion. Without their voice leading the way, employees will not understand the importance of strong branding and your brand will end up veering off course.

An effective brand champion at the top can steer your marketing efforts in the right direction. They set the tone for what works and what doesn’t by establishing a core vision and identity. This makes it easier to identify a natural target audience then build branding efforts around appealing to that group.

6. Branding is over-complicated

Flashier isn’t always better. Some of the most iconic brand logos, like McDonald’s or Fed-Ex, are memorable because they use a simple and clean look that’s easily identifiable. Throwing more bells and whistles into the mix isn’t going to make you stand out from the crowd. If it does draw extra attention, it could be for the wrong reasons.

Avoid tossing in complicated graphics and color schemes that distract from your core message. Don’t clutter your brand. Keep it simple by using simple colors and symbols. This will give your brand a chance to communicate quality and authenticity and increase the possibility that it can stick with a person long after they are introduced to it. Using branded templates can make this an easier task to check off your company’s to-do list.

7. Not understanding your audience

Your brand will only stand out when it offers something fresh and unique. If your target audience can’t tell you apart from competitors in a meaningful way, what incentive do they have to embrace your brand, products or services? Failing to understand what makes them tick or what they want can lead to your brand’s death knell.

Make your brand timeless by building to your brand strengths. Avoid being too trendy. Embrace market research and communicate regularly with customers and potential customers alike. Resist the temptation to put your brand everywhere, and instead, focus on being sincere with what your brand does and how it can positively impact the lives of your target audience.

Want to know more about the power of brand consistency? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

At one point in time, a recognizable brand was all that was needed for a business to thrive. But now, that brand must be accompanied by trust because modern consumers are different than they were several decades ago. Today, there’s the internet and consumers can easily conduct research on a brand before they make a purchase.

In fact, they often do. Some stats suggest that 61% of consumers read reviews before they complete a purchase. They look for a reason to trust your brand before investing their hard-earned money in your product or service.

62% of Americans actually believe corruption is widespread in corporate America, so it’s safe to say that trust in corporations and big brands is lacking. Companies need to be careful so that they earn a trusted reputation. But there are also great opportunities to amplify what consumers are saying online to build trust for your brand.

Here’s some ways you can build brand trust online.

Provide valuable content

As the saying goes: content is king. Quality content can do a lot for a company, whether it’s on your website, blog or social media. It sets you up as an authoritative voice and, hopefully, a thought leader.

To write content that will benefit your brand, do some research to see what your competitors are doing. Then, create content that fills in the gaps they’ve left. Make your content more detailed, engaging and better in any way you can. This will prove you are the authority in the industry.

Keep in mind the 80/20 rule for your content creation: 80% of your content should be useful and non-promotional while the other 20% can talk about your product. This will engage consumers and prove to them that their wants and needs are a priority for you. Keep this in mind when posting to social media, writing a blog post or creating a video.

By providing reliable and insightful content, rather than a sales pitch, you’ll nurture a sense of trust in your brand.

Dove’s viral campaign “Dove Real Beauty Sketches” is an excellent example of this concept. Most of the video is about how women perceive themselves. The ad doesn’t mention Dove products, it simply finishes with the brand’s logo as a reminder of the company behind the message.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches

Source: Dove.com

IKEA is another example of a company creating useful content. The authentic Swedish brand added to its trusted reputation with its “Make Small Spaces Big” campaign, which provided tips and creative ideas to make better use of small spaces… information that is both valuable and relevant to its audience.

IKEA Make Small Spaces Big

Engage customers in two-way communication

Consumers today like to be engaged and have relationships with brands. If you can do this, you’ll build trust. Social media is a way for modern companies to respond personally to individual consumers, and by doing so, these companies contribute to their own mouth-to-mouth marketing. One consumer impressed by a company’s communication can quickly go viral and generate positive press coverage.

Building brand trust online
How to build brand trust online

Source: Twitter

To engage customers successfully, you need to interact with them on a regular basis. You must have a solid, active presence on social media. You need to monitor your pages for comments, questions or complaints and respond personally and appropriately. Be responsive and start conversations, and you’ll be able to build a positive relationship with consumers.

The IT networking company Cisco understands the importance of online engagement and offers its customers various avenues for interaction. In fact, the company claims it saved $200 million annually by moving its engagement efforts online. Cisco blogs, chats via Google+, has a full Facebook support page with more than 800,000 followers, uses LinkedIn and has even won awards for its customer support.

Building this rapport and being within reach of your customers is important to building a reputation as a trusted brand.

Host live video events

Whether you host a Q&A on Facebook Live, a demo on Periscope, or a webinar on your own website, live video events are a great way to build trust online. They require a lot of planning but can be very effective. There’s something about the unedited aspect that really motivates interest. Customers can engage and ask questions while they watch. And as it’s live, they know the answer they’re getting hasn’t been given a stamp of approval by the PR department, so it’s a great way to build trust with fans.

Keep your brand consistent

There’s nothing like going off-message to destroy a brand. From your logo and brand colors, to your tone and personality, you must be consistent in everything you do and say. [Tweet this] A brand playbook can help you maintain the right voice, while brand management tools like Lucidpress can help your documents and content look consistent all the time, no matter how many people are on your marketing team. Consistency is also great for building brand awareness and recognition, as people will come to recognize your brand’s unique style.

Encourage user-generated content

Today, millennials in particular are using social media to discuss brands they like, and this can be important for companies looking to build trust. In one survey, 76% of millennial consumers said that content shared by average people is more trustworthy than what brands share. In another study, 92% of people said they trust the recommendations of other people, even ones they don’t know, over branded content.

User-generated content is a great opportunity for your business to show how real people are enjoying your products and build some serious brand trust.

Make sure to share these endorsements on social—Starbucks is constantly doing this. You can also actively highlight this content on your testimonials page, blog or, like Zappos, create a specific destination for this content.

Ways to build brand trust online

Source: Twitter

Beyond your everyday customers, let other trusted sources advocate for you. You can highlight collaborations with other trusted brands, work with an influencer relevant to your industry, or share media coverage from reputable sources to build trust.

Links are an important asset for any business as they connect your brand with the online world. Whatever link you’re sharing, make sure it leads to a reputable website. Refer to fact-driven sources in your blog posts, industry favorites for your curated content, and always use branded links on social media so followers have an indication of what it is they’re clicking on.

Branded links are made up of a custom domain name and a keyword in the slashtag. By associating your links with your brand, users know it won’t lead to spam or phishing sites and this increased trust can boost click-through rates by up to 39%.

Encourage user reviews

You should encourage your customers to provide reviews of your products or services online. Even a bad review can be used as an opportunity to testify to your company’s transparency and demonstrate your responsiveness and willingness to turn that negative customer experience into a positive one.

By encouraging reviews, your brand will show you care about what your customers think and are confident in the quality of what you’re selling. Often, before committing to a purchase, consumers will check how your company is rated on Facebook, Yelp and other review sites. If they can see at a glance that you’re close to a 5-star rating, they’ll be converted in seconds.

Make sure your brand acts responsibly

According to Forbes, millennials feel strongly about affecting change, and a lot of this is done online. They expect companies to be socially responsible, too, so if your brand is doing its part, make sure you let your audience know. Whether you’re reducing your carbon footprint, taking steps to ensure gender equality, or raising funds for a good cause, share the news online. This will build your image as a noble brand that can be trusted by its customers.

Key takeaway

Providing compelling content, interacting with customers, and maintaining brand consistency is essential to building a brand that people trust.

Today, your brand isn’t simply what you say it is, but rather a reflection of consumer trust in your product or service. You have the ability to develop that trust online and turn it into a powerful marketing tool for your business. It takes work and planning, getting involved and interacting, but it has the potential to cultivate lasting trust that will build brand loyalty and benefit your business into the future.

Want to know more about the power of brand consistency? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

Three years ago, Gartner predicted that 30% of our interactions with technology today would happen via conversations with smart machines—and mainstream adoption would be just around the corner.

We can see the evidence of this change all around us, from Siri and Cortana to Alexa and Google Home. And while we haven’t reached mainstream adoption quite yet, marketers shouldn’t wait for the masses to catch up before grappling with the implications of voice search.

In particular, voice search represents a move from the abstract to the physical. Certain aspects of your brand—voice, tone, personality—will soon become real in ways they never have before. Just like mass marketing has shifted into digital marketing, we’re now seeing the dawn of conversational marketing with voice search. Here are five factors that show how voice search will impact your brand.

1. Copy that can be read aloud

As more people turn to smart machines to ask questions, brands should be prepared to respond in kind. Creatives will have to write copy that sounds good when read out loud—often in the form of answering a question. Offer the most important information first (remember the inverted pyramid?), and for goodness sakes, keep it brief and unambiguous.

For example, in an older blog post of ours, we discuss the definition of branding. If someone were to ask “What is branding?” today, our blog post would respond like this:

To begin to understand what a brand is, you must first understand that your brand does not exist in your marketing department, your public relations team, or your CEO’s office…

And as pretty as it looks on the page, no one is going to stick around to listen to that. Instead, our response should get straight to the point. Again, from the post:

A brand is the sum total of all the impressions a customer has, based on every interaction they have had with you, your company and your products.

If we wanted to optimize this content for voice search, we could restructure it intelligently by putting the important data first. Then, we have plenty of space for the kind of writing that’s meant to be read rather than spoken aloud.

Finally, keep in mind that voice search is more conversational than traditional search. The queries are longer, and they’re often localized (e.g. “What’s the weather like today?” or “When does The Copper Onion close tonight?”). Your responses should follow suit, mimicking how real people talk (including conversational phrases).

2. New advertising rules

With new advertising mediums come new advertising guidelines. This doesn’t just mean best practices, like we see with paid and organic digital search. We’ll also see big players in voice search (like Google) establishing new rules for brands who want in.

Remember this voice ad from Burger King last year? The commercial was designed to hijack your Google Home device by asking “What is the Whopper burger?” This request prompts devices to begin reading the Wikipedia entry for the Whopper—which, of course, Burger King had edited to their benefit.

The Whopper is a burger, consisting of a flame-grilled patty made with 100 percent beef with no preservatives or fillers, topped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, and mayonnaise, served on a sesame-seed bun.

Oh, be quiet, already!

Burger King Whopper voice ad

My feelings exactly.

Not only did this violate Wikipedia’s terms because it so clearly sounds like ad copy, it also left open the door to vandalism. People were quick to edit the Wikipedia entry to include phrases like “cancer-causing” and ingredients like “toenail clippings.” Not exactly what the fine folks at Burger King had in mind.

Even when the ad worked as intended, people were annoyed by the tactic—but online trolls had made it so, so much worse. It should come as no surprise that Google shut down the ad 3 hours later, and Burger King pulled it entirely.

Consumers aren’t used to advertising in voice search yet. Take care not to annoy them with lengthy descriptions or aggressive sales pitches—and follow the terms and guidelines of the services you use.

3. What does my brand sound like?

Today, Alexa always sounds like Alexa, but it’s not hard to imagine a future where voice search becomes highly customized. Brands will be able to choose their own vocal characteristics, which opens up a world of questions and considerations.

If your brand was a real person, what would they sound like? How would you determine:

What does my brand sound like?

Source: Pexels

Some of these characteristics even raise ethical considerations—like gender, for example. According to OnBrand’s State of Branding report, 54% of marketers prefer a female voice assistant (while only 17% prefer a male). Nearly all the voice assistants we’re familiar with today default to female voices, which raises the question why.

“The simplest explanation is that people are conditioned to expect women, not men, to be in administrative roles—and that the makers of digital assistants are influenced by these social expectations,” says Adrienne Lafrance in an article for The Atlantic. Power structures influence our technology all the time, and it’s important for brands to consider these traits (and their impact) carefully.

In the mean time, it’s likely that female voices will continue to answer most consumers’ vocal commands. How can masculine brands compensate for this—punch up their language, perhaps?

4. Consistency matters

Voice search does not alter the impact of brand consistency, but it does present new channels to manage. Once you’ve decided what your brand sounds like, it’s important to convey that across all channels and communication. Voice and tone need to remain consistent for the brand to be distinct and recognizable.

After you’ve set the tone and refined your brand voice, go back and make sure it’s reflected everywhere:

Interesting note about chatbots: If your brand already has one, you might be ahead of the game. Because chatbots are designed to be conversational, they can help to inform your strategy for voice search. Look to them for guidance as you explore this brave new world!

5. First-mover advantages

And now, the good news. Because voice search has yet to reach mass adoption, there’s still plenty of time to move into the space before other brands catch up. It’s a rare opportunity to reap first-mover advantages without being one of the big, established brands.

“Given that many people are currently rather disappointed with their voice search interactions, the first brand to create a genuinely standout experience is going to garner a lot of excitement,” says Rob Curran in this article for Campaign. And like we’ve seen with other new mediums like augmented reality, it’s only a matter of time before someone does. Could it be you?

Key takeaway

Equal parts scary and exciting, the adoption of voice search represents enormous opportunity for savvy marketers. With it, you can deliver a digital brand experience that’s more personal and human-like than ever before—and hopefully, one that’s consistent with your brand messaging. Drive the conversation and address these factors now to enjoy the benefits while we head into the next decade.

Want to know more about the power of brand consistency? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

Bonus: Voice search infographic

Want to share these insights with your followers? We’ve adapted the main points of this article into a sharable infographic perfect for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Voice search infographic

Are you emotionally connected to a particular brand? Maybe it’s the design of its packaging. Maybe it’s the colors they use or the shapes that remind you of something good. Maybe it’s the smell of the store. When you go into a small fragrance boutique, you’re mesmerized by a unique scent that sticks in your memory. Whenever you decide to buy perfume in future, you’ll prefer going to that specific store.

Why does this happen? When you understand the psychological theory behind the human senses, you’ll realize why sensory marketing is so important. Our senses are our connection to the outside world. Our brain interprets the messages they send and forms its perception of the world in accordance with those interpretations.

Marketers can implement sensory experiences to make their campaigns more effective. With sensory marketing techniques, you lay the foundation for a positive brand impression. Let’s see how our senses influence our perception of a brand, so we’ll understand this approach a bit better.

1. Taste

Unless you own a restaurant or coffee shop, this is the sense you can influence the least. However, taste can still become an important aspect of your marketing strategy. For example, if you’re promoting an Italian brand of jewelry, you could organize a cocktail for your most faithful customers where you serve Italian gelato and wine. These tastes will remind people of the Italian lifestyle, and they’ll see how your jewelry fits in.

The sense of taste can deeply influence our memories, emotions and moods. A savvy marketer will find ways to use that fact to the campaign’s advantage.

2. Sound

You already have experience with sound affecting your perception of a brand. When you dine in a fancy restaurant, you want slow, calm music in the background, right? When you’re at a nightclub, the music that’s being played affects your experience. When you enter a store, the music can make you feel energized or relaxed, depending on the selection.

But it’s not limited to in-store experiences. Daniel Monroe of BestEssays explains how sounds are important even for online services: “The element of sound was crucial when we were designing the live chat. We didn’t want our website visitors to be disturbed, which is why the live chat is never activated without their request. When they drop us a message, however, they surely want to be notified when the agent sends a response, so the sound has to be noticeable yet subtle. It has to create a sense of urgency without making the website user nervous.”

Think: what behavior are you trying to encourage in your target audience? What kind of music would promote such behavior? Once you answer this question, it becomes easier to implement music and sound effectively in your brand experiences.

3. Touch

The sense of touch also influences our behavior. Research has shown that touching rough or smooth objects has an effect on our decisions. Hard surfaces, for example, evoke the impression of firmness, stability and security. However, they also impose a sense of strictness. They might be great for offices or banks, but you’d want to include a bit of softness in a store that sells products for kids, right?

Many brands neglect the sense of touch in their campaigns, mainly because they’re selling products that already have a particular structure. The way you design the packaging and space around the products, however, will have a huge effect on the brand experience.

4. Sight

This is probably the sense that affects our brand perception the most, since we first see a product before involving any other senses in the experience. That’s why brands invest so much effort and resource in visual content.

When you’re presenting your brand to the world, advertising and packaging have a huge impact on audience perception. This effect is heightened when all your branding is consistent and cohesive. Posters, social media posts, flyers, newsletters and other promotional materials should all share a similar design and color scheme. After all, those colors are rarely chosen by accident.

For example, when we’re trying to evoke optimism, warmth and clarity, we often reach for the color yellow. Orange is cheerful and fun (like Fanta), and red is bold and exciting (like Virgin). Blue evokes trust, strength and dependability—think Dell and HP. Green is peaceful and symbolizes growth and health, which is why you’ll find it in the logos and marketing of many environmentally friendly or healthy lifestyle brands.

5. Smell

Have you ever wondered why brands like L’Occitane and Lush sell their products in specialized boutiques? It’s because their marketing campaigns are based on the sense of smell, and they don’t want their scents being diluted by other products in the store. When you get to the Lush store, you’re so mesmerized by the smells that you simply cannot leave without a new bar of soap. That’s how powerful scents can be.

Even if your brand is not related to scents, you can still benefit from sensory marketing. Researchers found that the smell of chocolate can boost sales in bookstores. They observed the behavior of the customers and concluded that when the bookstore smelled like chocolate, people were more engaged with the staff and the books. They looked more closely at books, read the summaries, and lingered in the store. That’s not a coincidence.

The smell of chocolate is comforting and inviting. It’s no wonder why many real estate agents like to bake something in the kitchen before showing the property to a potential customer. They also make sure the property is clean and smells nice in every room.

Just as a pleasant scent promotes better behavior, an unpleasant odor will have a negative effect. If the store is dusty or smells funky, it won’t matter how awesome your brand and products are. The smell will distract visitors from taking the action you want to encourage.

Key takeaway

Our senses have a major impact on our purchasing decisions. Sensory branding is a well-established practice in some industries, such as cosmetics and food. However, brands from all other industries can benefit from this approach, too. Which sensory marketing techniques could you take advantage of in your next branding campaign?

Protecting your brand—not only how it looks but also how it’s perceived—is essential.

Your brand is everything that makes up how your customers see you, and if you’re not presenting a consistent message across the board, you run the risk of confusing, alienating or even frustrating your customers. On top of that, you’re missing out on the opportunity to establish your brand and grow recognition, authority and trust.

If you’re operating in a multi-location company with staff working in various departments, establishing a process to ensure brand compliance is key.

Where once a central marketing team might have created and controlled all marketing output, we’re now working in a much more democratic and fast-paced world. Branding, content and communications can’t just sit with one team anymore; it’s become a multi-player, multi-platform game that almost everyone in your company is involved in.

So when artistic license, so to speak, is given far and wide, how do you ensure consistency across the board—especially when it comes to multi-location branding?

How to ensure brand compliance

For many companies, frequent barriers to brand compliance include:

Luckily, with a growing list of new approaches to these old problems, the future of your brand looks bright.

Ramp up your brand compliance efforts by employing these two fail-safe strategies.

Create and implement brand compliance guidelines

With the creation of effective and detailed brand compliance guidelines, you’re dramatically improving your company’s chances of consistency.

Our report on the importance of brand consistency revealed that companies are twice as likely to see a consistent presentation of their brand when formal brand guidelines are in place and enforced.

A typical set of brand guidelines will cover:

The goal with your brand guidelines isn’t to limit the creativity of your marketers and designers, but to give them a set of guidelines to work within. There should still be plenty of opportunity for them to come up with new and exciting ideas that comply.

When it comes to enforcing brand guidelines, you’ll do a whole lot better if you can take away the challenges your people face.

As an absolute minimum, make sure the guidelines are easy to follow and centrally stored so that everyone—including partners—can access them without hassle.

The next step is to support all your people (not just your designers) by providing the resources they need to comply. With clear guidelines and easy processes, you’re leaving little room for error.

Create shared resources & customizable content templates

This strategy—known as distributed marketing management—is becoming an increasingly popular option for growing organizations who take brand compliance seriously.

Rather than relying on an overworked design team to churn out request after request (often with a lengthy turnaround time), customizable templates put some of the responsibility back with the individual or local team.

A modern brand management system such as Marq will empower local marketers and salespeople to create their own content and campaigns that still adhere to brand guidelines.

With the introduction of innovative software like Marq, you’ll get the following benefits:

With a system like this in place, you’re giving your people the power to act quickly and take advantage of local opportunities without compromising brand compliance.

Further, by opening this process up to your partners and affiliates, you see even more rewards. When you can give them access to brand guidelines and templates that are locked down, they’ll have more independence when it comes to collaborating and cross-promoting. All without putting extra pressure on your marketing team.

Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?

Key takeaway

Total brand compliance is achievable, but it takes forward-planning, smart software and well-thought-out processes. To give your brand the best chance of success, create and enforce formal brand guidelines and implement a central system for sharing on-brand resources and customizable templates.

Instead of trying (and failing) to do everything for your people, give them the guidance and tools they need to do things for themselves.

Newcomers to the world of brand awareness marketing often feel overwhelmed or utterly lost. There’s a veritable plethora of channels, tactics & tools to explore. To make things even more difficult, some make much more sense for your business than others, depending on a matrix of circumstances.

Before jumping into a brand awareness campaign, remember to ask yourself these key questions.

Is your content tailored to the right people?

You’re pretty sure you wrote compelling content… but is that actually the case? It’s time for a bit of self-reflection and honesty, which—while sometimes tough to swallow—is vital to the refocusing process.

One of the easiest mistakes to make in brand awareness campaigns is tailoring the content towards current customers. In reality, you’re targeting potential customers instead. [Tweet this]

The people you’re targeting likely have no idea who you are prior to seeing your ad. This is why the content has to be super compelling, either to draw them into visiting your site right away or ensuring that when they need a service or product like yours, you’re at the front of their mind.

The main things you need to include within the copy are:

  1. The unique selling points of your business—what makes you different from all of your competitors?
  2. How you can solve their problems—most consumers have some sort of problem (which is why they purchase services/products), so tell them how you can be the answer they’re looking for.
  3. A convincing call to action—whether this is telling them to visit your site, sign up for your newsletter or take advantage of a limited-time promotion or discount, tell people why they should act on their impulses now.

Put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers. What would you want to read? What would convince you to use your own product or service?

Marketers often forget to place themselves in the shoes of their target market and instead take a product-oriented approach.

Are you targeting the correct people?

Next, examine your target audience. Are you completely confident that you targeted the correct people? If your brand awareness campaign failed, then it’s possible you performed for the wrong audience.

Basing your target audience on your current customers seems like the place to start. They clearly love your brand, so people who share the same interests are your perfect target, right? Not necessarily.

In most cases, the audience you want to target is going to be slightly different. Before your current customer base found you, they were high-intent users actively searching for an answer to their problems.

In a brand awareness campaign, however, your audience isn’t likely to be high-intent when they first see your ads.

This is where you have to be creative; think about the types of people who may have pain points you can solve but don’t quite know it yet.

Think about the age range that’s most likely to face these pain points soon. Are there any geographical areas more likely to need your help? Are there any interests people have that could likely lead to needing you?

For example, if your brand specializes in decorating services, based on intent and life event options, you can target people who are moving soon or have recently moved. This would be more effective than simply targeting people who love decorating.

Are you tracking success correctly?

Finally, let’s review how you measure your brand awareness campaign’s success. You could run a hugely beneficial campaign, but if you’re focused on the wrong metrics, you may see it as a failure and not capitalize on it.

There are so many metrics you can use to gauge the success of a campaign that it can be difficult to know exactly what you should be looking for.

Success metrics should be chosen during the planning stage of your campaign, to give you a clear view of how the campaign should be structured and how you can get a sensible idea of the performance.

When you sit down to decide these metrics, use SMART goals and objectives. Many of you have probably already heard this acronym, but just in case, it stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

Setting your goals this way will help you get an in-depth understanding of which metrics to evaluate when measuring the campaign’s success.

And when it comes to brand awareness campaigns, success can be harder to measure. Focus on top-of-funnel metrics rather than sales or conversions. When it’s over, don’t stop reporting just because the initial boost of traffic and engagement has died down. Remember that these campaigns can continue to pay off with gradual increases over time.

Common brand awareness mistakes

With so much on the line, you can’t afford to dive in unprepared. Here are 7 rookie mistakes that often fly under the radar yet profoundly impact your brand awareness strategies and goals.

Mistake #1: Scattergun approach

Spreading yourself too thin is an easy trap to fall into. You can’t please and cater to everyone—and you shouldn’t. In fact, attempting this futile endeavor will result in satisfying no one.

Case in point: many startups establish accounts on every social network they can, only to find that managing them all is virtually impossible. Even if you do post to every network with the help of automation, you’re not delivering a great experience tailored to that platform—and you’re likely missing out on a lot of engagement.

Instead, do your research to find a highly targeted market. Know who they are and understand their habits, wants & needs. You have to find where they are and spend time there, not in a hundred places where you desperately hope to stumble upon them.

Mistake #2: Passive social presence

A “build it and they will come” mentality does not work on today’s internet. You can’t just set up a website or social media page and hope to see customers eagerly interacting with your brand. First, you have to engage the audience. Responding to comments in a timely manner is a good place to start… but it’s only a start.

Come up with a content calendar and post on a regular basis. Talk to users and influencers, and ask them for opinions. Use your social presence to carry out customer service around the clock via instant messaging and other channels. Social media is about building lasting, meaningful connections that strengthen brand loyalty. You can’t simply stuff your messages with hashtags and expect magic to happen.

Mistake #3: Incoherent cross-channel strategy

Rookie marketers tend to lose sight of the big picture and how coherent their messages appear across different channels. This is not the way to build strong credibility and inspire trust. Successful brand marketing is deeply rooted in consistency.

This journey calls for much more than investing in a decent logo and slapping it everywhere you can. You will need to use elements like the color palette, fonts, visual identity, images, and voice to set the tone for your marketing campaigns. Tailor to the medium and the platform, of course—but never lose the integral pieces of your brand’s identity. [ ]

Mistake #4: Overcommitting to digital

Cost-effective digital platforms have unparalleled reach, but they are not be-all and end-all of brand marketing. Not everyone is tuned in to social media, apps and online search. Depending on your target market, you could work wonders with print collateral or merchandising.

In other words, you can let human psychology work to your advantage and leave a lasting impression by giving away branded office supplies, quality printed shirts, and other handouts. Don’t overlook the potential of printed media. You could reach a lot of people via brochures, business cards, flyers, newsletters, and other printed marketing materials. In the digital era, print is personal and memorable.

Mistake #5: Going all-in on advertising

Advertising is the mainstay of many brand awareness campaigns. However, it’s generally a bad idea to put all your eggs in one basket-especially if you’re a rookie who’s worried about wasting your budget.

What’s more, people have grown weary of aggressive pop-ups & ads, even when they’re targeted with laser-like precision. They install ad-blockers to completely shut them down.

Instead, try to start small and set aside a limited ad budget. Test your awareness campaigns over a course of few weeks and evaluate the results. Paid marketing works best when you prioritize ROI, so as you learn the ropes, gather data and scale your campaigns based on your insights.

Mistake #6: Misunderstanding content marketing

Viral marketing is one way to enter with a big bang, but directing all your efforts there is a double-edged sword. If you win, you win big. If you don’t, you get nothing. You’re probably better off crafting compelling, quality content on a consistent basis. Be entertaining, educational, and add value to people’s lives.

Once you start producing a stream of relevant content, you have to promote it. Bear in mind that you might not achieve immediate success. Don’t cut corners, and show patience. It takes time to gain momentum and traction. In due time, your efforts will start to snowball via word-of-mouth and social signals.

Mistake #7: Disregarding or copying the competition

It always pays off to scope out the competition. Doing this homework will show you what works for them—and what doesn’t. You gain valuable insights that help you set your brand apart. You should always keep an eye on what others are doing, but refrain from imitating them.

Looking and feeling like another business stirs brand confusion and slows the development of your own reputation. Instead, being genuine is the best way to win people over and keep them in your camp. That being said, you can still borrow good ideas and implement them in your marketing strategy. Just make sure you’re doing it in a way that’s fresh and authentic to your brand.

Key takeaway: Brand awareness by design

Effective brand awareness campaigns are hard to pull off. You have to put the right messages in the right place and serve it to the right people. Much easier said than done. There’s a lot of ground to cover without losing your footing and plenty of tools to consider.

Right away, put a sound strategy in place and let it guide your efforts across channels and platforms. Steer away from common mistakes that can bite off a big chunk of your budget and hinder your brand. Concentrate on turning curious visitors into prospects, prospects into customers, and customers into satisfied brand ambassadors.

In 2014, Marketing Sherpa published a report on customer acquisition costs (CAC) in e-commerce. According to this report, the median CAC is somewhere between $12 to $25. These costs add a lot of overhead to your business. If you’re a low-margin business, like most e-commerce stores, high customer acquisition costs can sink you fast.

One way to bring CAC down is by building a bigger brand for your business. Branded e-commerce stores attract a lot of loyal customers. Such customers tend to shop several times throughout the year and are instrumental in improving profitability.

Let’s take a look at some strategies that can help e-commerce businesses establish themselves as a brand.

Establish stringent brand guidelines

The first step in the brand-building process is to establish stringent brand guidelines. These guidelines must include parameters like the “tone of voice” used in your messaging, logos, color palettes, fonts, photography style, and so on. Basically, it should cover anything used in your marketing materials.

To establish better brand equity, it’s important to accomplish two specific objectives. First, invest in building a style guide that will set you apart from the competition. This includes picking unique fonts and colors that aren’t common in your industry. You could also invest in creating unique image filters that will give your photos a distinct identity. Second, follow these guidelines across all your marketing channels: social media, website, TV, print and any other form of marketing.

A good example of this is Frooti, an India-based fruit juice brand. Although it’s not strictly an e-commerce brand, you can see that all their visuals adhere to a brand philosophy that includes flat design and a limited color palette.

Frooti on Instagram

Source: Instagram

The reason this works is because your target audience tends to associate these visuals with your brand. This contributes to better recall and builds loyalty over time.

Pro tip: Lucidpress has a template-locking system that can help you adhere to brand guidelines consistently. Read more about it here.

Find your competitive advantage

There are many factors that contribute to an e-commerce sale. One of the most powerful ways to establish a brand is by identifying one factor where the rest of your competition sucks and mastering it. For instance, if you’re in a niche where the leading sellers take at least a couple days to ship, you might invest in overnight shipping. Alternatively, if all your major competitors charge for shipping, you could choose to offer free shipping.

This is exactly what Zappos did to establish themselves as the online shoe seller of choice. CEO Tony Hsieh realized early on that customers tend to have unique tastes for shoes, and in order to succeed, they’d have to make the return process ridiculously simple. The company provided its customers with prepaid return shipping labels that they could print for free returns. In doing so, Zappos outdid all competitors and established the most well-known brand in online shoe commerce.

The reason this works is because doing something better than others gets noticed by customers who then associate your brand with it. [Tweet this] In addition to bringing word-of-mouth publicity, this strategy also gets your customers to return for future purchases. While such strategies can cost a lot of money, they also help to establish a brand name and improve customer loyalty.

Know your customers’ values

Learning your customers’ values means building a relationship with them that goes deeper than just producer/consumer. When people recognize and trust your brand, it’s because they see their own values reflected in it.

One of the easiest ways to learn about your customers’ values is simply to ask them. You could do some informal research on social media (or your blog) by covering certain topics and testing the engagement. Or, you could be even more scientific by conducting surveys and focus groups to learn more about the audience you’re pursuing.

After you’ve done this research, look back at your company. What do you already do that’s aligned with the values of your customers? These are the messages that will ring out the loudest.

When you can back up what you say with what you do, people will trust you and be drawn to your brand. [ ] Begin by looking for the values you already share with your target audience, then find ways to embody the others.

Know your brand story

For as much as things have changed in the world, people still love a good story. Whether it’s the story of a hero, an underdog, or simply the shared challenges and pleasures of the human experience, a good story moves people’s hearts and minds.

Every brand out there has a story—every one. The challenge is to share that story in a way that’s authentic and relatable. It might take some time to discover the best way to communicate your story to your target audience.

Start by zeroing in on your company’s purpose, or more specifically, the problem you solve. Let’s consider an example.

Say you manage an e-commerce brand that sells eco-friendly furniture and clothing. What’s your story? In short, you provide people with comfort and security in an environmentally friendly way.

But there’s something larger going on: climate change and the movement to address it. Your role in this global story is to meet people’s basic needs at a significantly lower cost to the environment. Your brand creates better harmony between humans and the earth, and people who care about the planet will want to help your cause.

In this example, your story represents and exemplifies your brand’s values. Positioning your brand as an environmental activist, or as a lover and defender of nature, will help you connect with your target audience. This powerful brand image comes from digging into the story, bringing to light what it really is.

L.L. Bean is a good real-life example of this. It started with a man designing his own pair of boots to make it easier and more enjoyable to walk around outside. But the larger story is about humanity’s love of nature. Through this narrative lens, you can easily recognize L.L. Bean’s brand. This is no coincidence.

Of course, your history might not be as deep as L.L. Bean’s, but it’s still meaningful. Take some time to find the best way to communicate your story, and it will clarify and reinforce your brand in the eyes of your customers.

Investigate influencer marketing

When it comes to ecommerce branding, customer trust is heavily influenced by the testimonials and referrals your business receives. Influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways to impact trust. This strategy involves hiring niche influencers (that is, social media users with thousands of followers in your industry) to spread the word about your brand.

Success with this marketing strategy relies on how targeted your influencers are. It’s a good idea to start small and reach out to influencers who have small audiences of less than 10,000—such influencers cost less and have a highly targeted audience.

Measure the impact of such a campaign and use the lessons to deploy larger campaigns. While partnering with large influencers outright might seem like a good idea to scale fast, these influencers appeal to multiple demographics and are thus not as targeted. The conversion rate from such campaigns tends to be lower.

The reason influencer marketing works is that prospective buyers tend to associate the credibility of the influencer with the brand they endorse. This makes it a much quicker way to establish a brand presence than growing your followers organically.

Pay attention to content authority

A typical customer goes through several stages of research before they land in your store for a purchase. Your store could miss on some real branding opportunities by not investing in content that the prospective buyer uses for research.

So, why is this important? First, it helps establish your brand as an authority in the industry. Customers trust authority sites which they return to for future product research. A comprehensive directory of articles could potentially make your website their “go-to” source.

It also provides your brand the opportunity to shape readers’ opinions and nudge them towards products in your store. Additionally, a comprehensive content directory helps your business rank better in Google searches, which reinforces your brand authority.

One of the best ways to do this is called the pair-up strategy. Essentially, marketers are advised to create a comprehensive content page that’s mapped to each of their product pages. Prospective buyers land on this central page during their research phase and are nudged toward the product pages through the content.

Key takeaway

Building a brand for your e-commerce business is an investment, but it’s one with dividends. By enforcing brand guidelines, finding your competitive advantage, and influencing buyers with great content, you’ll lower customer acquisition costs and develop an impressive reputation for your brand in the process.

Where to go next? Learn more about building & managing an online brand in our free eBook: How to build your brand in 2020

Think of some of the most iconic brands all time. What comes to mind? Nike? Apple? Disney?

Most likely you think about a logo, a slogan, or a general aesthetic that is unique to the brand. Whether sleek, futuristic or full of princesses, you should be able to conjure up some visual.

Why do these brands leave such a strong impression? Because they have been able to craft a consistent, creative message that sticks with you.

Any company will benefit from brand consistency in all touchpoints along the funnel. But before we talk about how they benefit, let’s break down what this really means.

What are the touchpoints?

According to Salesforce, consumers interact with 6 to 8 touchpoints just to get to sales in the funnel. That’s a lot of times to touch one brand before you commit to a conversation. And that’s only the top of the funnel.

As someone is transitioning from an unknown prospect to a customer (and an advocate), these are some of the touchpoints they encounter.

As you put effort into each of these touchpoints, you want your audience to connect the dots. This saves you time, effort and money down the road.

What do we mean by creative consistency?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines consistency as “the quality of achieving a level of performance which does not vary greatly over time.”

In a creative sense, that’s assuring your logos, design elements, messaging, tone and imagery stay the same from one touchpoint to the next.

This is often achieved by first implementing a brand style guide and templates across teams, then maintaining open lines of communication and support with other teams creating touchpoints.

Creative consistency means a level of work with your brand over time which does not vary greatly, such that people will recognize your brand from one interaction to the next.

Why is this important?

Creating a consistent brand image from one touchpoint to the next is important to for both psychological and economic reasons within your organization. It can help your company achieve the following results.

1. Makes your brand easily recognizable

Humans are hard-wired to look for patterns. Since the beginning of time, we’ve looked for patterns as a way to survive. We’ve used them to speed up our information processing, as well as look for dangers in our environment.

Creating a consistent brand helps people easily recognize and place your brand over time. It also helps people be more comfortable interacting with your brand along different touchpoints because they know what to expect.

2. Builds trust across channels

Have you ever gotten an email that just doesn’t look right because it’s different than what you expected? If so, it’s entirely possible that was a dangerous phishing email—and hopefully, you deleted it. Remember our reliance on recognizing patterns to survive? The same goes for building trust.

Since humans are hard-wired to look for patterns, we’re also wired to be suspicious of anything that deviates from the norm. Keeping your logos, colors and messaging consistent helps people see that they can trust your brand.

This goes double for any communications from your support and services teams. Since people reach out to those teams when they’re vulnerable and need help, creating a pattern of trust gives them reason to be comfortable working and sharing with your team.

3. Sets expectations with users

Have you ever clicked an ad for an article, only to find out the article was not what you expected to read? It doesn’t feel good for the user. How do you know you won’t be disappointed again the next time you click? Users want their expectations met as they click from one touchpoint to the next.

As users progress through your brand’s touchpoints, they’ll start to recognize each one as part of a larger picture. Everything you create will be part of that story. Creating consistency across everything from ad copy to messages from sales reps will reinforce the customer’s expectations as they move from one phase to the next in your sales process.

4. Lays a good foundation for content

Before you build a solid marketing plan, you have to start with a few building blocks—create some personas, map your customer journeys, inventory your assets and resources. Imagine how hard it would be to produce creative brand content when you’re missing those pieces.

To build an effective campaign, you have to know what imagery and messaging resonate, and what your audience expects to see. Do you have a quirky mascot, tagline or hashtag that you can build on? Then you can iterate on that concept’s success to tell a better story.

5. Promotes effective storytelling

One-off, single-channel interactions are out. Omni-channel, multi-touch processes are in. This is why we use techniques like ad re-targeting and marketing automation. As a marketer, you must connect the dots from one channel to another.

Consistency across these marketing touchpoints builds a story over time. They may not see the pieces all at once, but they will feel their cumulative effects. You’re more likely to respond to retargeting ads when the brand is one you recognize and trust.

Think of how much money you spend to acquire a single customer. Almost always, that acquisition is not done as a single event, but done over the course of multiple touches. Each of those touches costs money to create (either in dollars or in time). To maximize that investment, potential customers should feel these touchpoints form a single experience.

Don’t try to reinvent the wheel with every project or campaign. While we should always be improving and building better campaigns than the last, it helps to start with a consistent design, template or ad, rather than continuously spending time or bandwidth to re-design it.

Key takeaway

Building touchpoints with creative consistency leads to an effective, cohesive, trustworthy brand, and the more time your company can spend on the same page working towards that vision, the better.

Want to know more about the impact of brand consistency? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

When we consider brand-customer relationships and interactions, many of us instantly think of viral examples of “brands behaving badly”—like a tweet about a lost online order or a post about terrible airline service. And then there’s the aftermath of such an interaction, where the brand scrambles to do damage control by pledging to do better next time and make changes going forward.

But, what if there was a way companies and brands could respond to every customer in real time with a completely personalized approach? There is a new way of cultivating and maintaining customer relationships. It’s faster, easier and cheaper than any call center.

Enter chatbots

First, what are chatbots? Chatbots complete automated tasks and services via messaging apps. They also respond to users by pulling answers from a database and relying on pre-programmed phrases. Some bots employ artificial intelligence (AI) to learn and get “smarter” with each interaction, like voice assistants Siri and Alexa.

Because of their ability to interact and provide instant answers to users’ questions, bots are uniquely suited for improving customer service. Here are just a few ways chatbots can benefit brands.

Chatbots are available 24/7/365

Thanks to apps like Lyft and Uber Eats, our society has become even more accustomed to instant gratification. We want everything right here and now; it’s the definition of the on-demand economy that apps and bots helped to create. So, it makes sense that bots would step in to fulfill our need for immediate interaction with brands and companies.

Protecting your brand’s reputation for stellar customer service could be as simple as deploying an after-hours chatbot for your website. Long after your human customer service reps have clocked out and gone home, your bot is hard at work fielding questions from customers.

Additionally, since bots are designed to complete tasks and gather information, brands are positioned to solve some of their unique customer service challenges with the implementation of chatbots.

One thing to note: Be upfront when customers are communicating with a bot. In other words, don’t disguise the chatbot as a real person. In fact, bots are favored over humans when it comes to answering quick questions. So, let customers know that after-hours customer service is handled by chatbots.

Chatbots are proactive

Browse through any e-commerce website, and you’re likely to encounter a bot in the form of a helpful personal shopper. More brands are using chatbots to interact with customers and establish contact proactively in anticipation of shopper needs.

Why the shift? A recent poll found a whopping 83% of shoppers say they need help while shopping online. The thought behind this strategy is that not connecting with a shopper until they actively reach out with a question often results in the loss of a sale. But, if a brand can reach out and start a conversation with a customer at the beginning of their shopping experience, there’s a better chance of keeping them on the website.

Brands like Aerie and Whole Foods are using chatbots exceptionally well to proactively engage with customers and offer things like discounts and recipes.

Think of all the possible ways a bot could help a browsing customer before they even know they need help:

Chatbots are more consistent, faster & cheaper

Humans get burnt out, have bad days, and need to take breaks. Bots have no such problems. Bots can work around the clock and never waiver in the level of customer service they provide. Humans have a limit to how many people they can realistically help during a shift, while bots are not beholden to any such rules. Because bots are inherently adaptive and exist solely to help users, they can even build relationships more efficiently than humans. (That is, to a degree.)

Chatbots are great at collecting data from their interactions with customers, which can then be used to improve or personalize future communication. Instead of a customer starting over each time they visit your site, a bot can pick up right where they left off and build upon the previously established relationship.

Bots can handle tedious tasks (like gathering and verifying account information) much faster than a human employee, and they do it all without the need for a paycheck. Plus, the overhead required to staff a 24-hour call center far outweighs the cost of programming a chatbot.

What’s next?

Humans will never be fully replaced by chatbots for meaningful interaction, especially in face-to-face instances. But, as engineers fine-tune their programming to become more sophisticated and handle increasingly complex requests, more brands will use chatbots as a way to stay “always on.”

Every business owners’ hope is that their business will grow. Whether it’s a small, medium or large business, there’s always room for growth. It’s an exciting process, but it might be short-lived if you’re unable to manage your brand consistently.

As you add more people to your team and start producing more content (such as landing pages, social media posts and ads), how do you keep everyone on the same page? How do you maintain brand consistency to keep your brand’s message clear and strong?

Here are five tips on how to do just that.

1. Create a brand style guide

With more employees and less time to look over every piece of content, it’s difficult to catch off-brand materials before they go out.

Create a brand style guide that shows employees how to use your branding properly. This will help your employees create on-brand content that shares a consistent look and feel.

Your brand is more than just the logo and colors that you use, so naturally, your brand style guide will cover more ground than that. Here’s a list of useful sections to include.

Mission

What does your company do? Lay the foundation for your style guide by first addressing your company’s goals and what you hope to accomplish in the future.

If you haven’t written a mission statement or want to spice yours up, here are some powerful examples.

Target audience

Discuss who your target audience is. What’s most important to them, and why do they use your product? This will help your employees better understand who they’re talking to and why it’s important to communicate with your audience in a consistent way.

Values

When someone reads through your brand style guide, they should be able to relate to your brand and anticipate how your brand will respond in certain situations. This is why it’s important to have a section dedicated to the values of the company.

What values must come first in your company? By including these, your employees will know how to communicate with your customers.

Brand personality

Your brand personality comprises the characteristics you use to describe it. If your brand was a person, what would they be like? Professional, witty, funny?

If you’re struggling to think of characteristics that describe your company, survey your customers and ask them what personality traits they feel your brand has.

This helps bring your brand to life and give better depth to your brand’s voice, tone, messaging, and even its visual elements.

Visual elements

This section is where you put all the specifics regarding your logo, colors, typography and imagery. Provide as much direction with these elements as possible. For example, show each version of your company’s logo and describe how it should be used, where it should be located, when to use certain colors, etc.

For more help in setting up your brand style guide, check out our post on great examples of brand guidelines. You can also look at this 99designs blog post that goes into more detail about brand guidelines.

2. Pay attention to messaging & tone

Communicating with customers is often achieved through writing. Text appears on your advertisements, in your product, in blog posts and on your website—just to name a few examples.

Imagine how confusing it would be if you had a friend who always spoke with a Midwestern accent, but then one day, they showed up talking like a Californian surfer or a seasoned New Yorker? All of these accents are great, but you’d be pretty confused about what was going on with your friend. Could you even trust them anymore?

This is why consistent messaging is important for your customers. If the writing on your website uses a formal tone, but they receive emails from you that sound like a casual conversation, they’ll be wary—and rightfully so.

While creating your brand style guide, focus on describing your company’s tone and provide writing examples that fit your company’s voice.

When you read what other employees have written, give specific feedback about what is on-brand and what is not. Over time, they’ll learn which words, phrases and punctuation are appropriate for the brand.

3. Regularly train your team

Now that you have a brand guide for your employees, show them how to use it. If you don’t, your brand style guide will likely end up being ignored. If you can get your employees excited about your brand, they’ll be inspired to represent it well by following your style guide.

The opposite is also true. If you fail to get your employees onboard with your branding efforts, they may reject these new “restrictions.” This will promote more inconsistency and upset employees.

Keeping your brand consistent is a team effort that requires everyone to be onboard. Prepare an engaging presentation to introduce the brand style guide and strategy. Listen to their feedback, but make sure everyone understands the importance of consistency.

There might be a need for additional training for employees who are more involved in branding efforts such as writers, designers, marketers, customer service reps and managers. Once these employees are ready to build up your brand, ask them to share the same training with new employees as they onboard.

Keep an eye on the enthusiasm surrounding your brand. As it fades, you’ll have to recalibrate with reminders and additional training. It’s important for employees to know that you will champion the brand over the long term.

Key takeaway

When you focus on building a brand, the most important thing is to commit to it. No matter how well thought-out your brand is or how clever your messaging is, if it’s inconsistent, consumers will lose trust in you.

Create your brand guidelines, train your employees, find the right messaging and stick to it. The best companies in the world have championed their brands for decades. This consistency is part of their success—they’ve become familiar, beloved names for millions of customers. Lay the foundation for your brand today, so it can reap the benefits for years to come.

Want to know more about the impact of brand consistency? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

When you’re fine-tuning your brand, it’s important for everyone in your company to be on-board.

Let’s face it: Keeping your brand consistent is a tricky task—but it’s one that’s almost impossible if your staff aren’t fully educated about the strong brand you’re trying to create.

But, how can you keep everyone up to speed with the branding guidelines you’ve put together? In the modern age, when teams are becoming increasingly tech-savvy, an old Word document with a bulleted list of brand elements isn’t the way forward.

There’s one not-so-tiny thing that can help: a brand platform.

Here’s how you can create your own brand platform, and a free template to help you get started.

What is a brand platform?

Acting as the overarching document that includes important details about your business, a brand platform typically includes:

Every company, no matter what industry they’re operating in, should have a brand platform.

Why do I need a brand platform for my business?

It’s all well and good for me to harp on about brand platforms, but you want to know why this document is so important for businesses, right?

Here’s your answer: This central document helps to make sure everyone in your business is on the same page. From sales and marketing teams to creative departments, your business’s brand platform should be accessible by all employees, and clearly understood before undertaking any new marketing strategy or messaging.

This helps to keep your brand consistent—a tactic that has been proven to influence a 23% increase in revenue, on average.

In short: You’d be foolish to neglect it!

The perfect template for creating a brand platform

While brand platforms are critical, creating a document that is well-received by all members of your team isn’t an easy task.

However, we’ve created this brand platform template to provide inspiration for your own development. Simply open the template in Lucidpress and edit each element to match your brand.

various branded pieces of content

Download this free brand platform template.

3 tips for adding your own identity to this template

Now that you’ve got a template to base your brand platform on, use these three tips to add your own identity.

1. Dig deep into your business’s true values

Certain sections of this template require you to dig deep into the core of your brand—including the mission statement and brand personality sections.

So, avoid filling this section of your template with fluff. Remember: A strong brand has a strong reason behind the things they’re doing.

You could gain valuable insights for this section of your brand platform by:

The latter option is fantastic because you’re able to identify which of your branded elements have worked previously. For example, if you notice an overwhelming number of customers purchased because of your company-wide passion against animal testing, don’t miss out by failing to include this in your brand platform. It’s already proven to be effective.

2. Use your brand platform for every type of marketing activity

Planning to launch a Facebook advertising campaign? Looking to use Google Ads to sell more products? Gearing up to attend an industry trade show?

In any of these occasions, your brand platform is critical.

Why? Because a powerful brand is consistent. Think about it: One of the most recognizable brands in the world is Nike. I’ll bet their signature checkmark logo wouldn’t be as iconic if it wasn’t plastered across their sneakers, website and social media profiles.

So, use this consistency concept when doing any type of marketing activity. Encourage all members of staff to refer back to the brand platform when representing your company, and you’ll be on the road to a strong, powerful brand in no time at all.

3. Don’t try to be something you’re not

Did you know that 94% of all consumers are more likely to be loyal to a brand when they commit to transparency? Attempting to be something you’re not isn’t going to sit well with the people you’re working so hard to win over.

Going back to our tip on digging deep into your brand’s true values, pretending to be something you’re not—and fabricating your values to seem more interesting—shouldn’t be part of your brand platform creation process.

Instead, be true to your brand. Marketing to the beat of your own drum is much better than following the crowd. 

Final thoughts on creating a brand platform

Are you ready to make a start on your brand platform and experience the benefits of consistent branding?

That’s great, but don’t let your hard work go to waste.

Make sure every member of your team is fully on-board with your brand platform before publishing any marketing materials—including social media posts, online ads or blog posts.

Whether you’re printing out the template and pinning it to your office wall or holding a company-wide meeting to explain each element, your new brand platform won’t be effective if it’s not being taken seriously. Be the champion your brand platform needs, and you’ll see results in no time.

Customer loyalty separates historically successful brands from the rest. Why do people consistently drink Coca-Cola or wear Nike sneakers? The answer is a simple one: Those brands have earned trust from their customers. Their products are of high quality, and their brand messaging has remained consistent, making it easy to cultivate brand integrity with customers.

Building integrity through your brand requires following the correct blueprint. You can’t build an entire house by following instructions on how to assemble a new sofa. In the same vein, building and maintaining brand integrity starts by using strategies that help you stay on-message and foster loyalty and recognition.

If you’re looking for the right blueprint, consider following these five guidelines to build and maintain your company’s brand integrity.

1. Choose the right products

One misstep can create a long-lasting negative impression for a brand. IHOP drove this lesson home when the company changed its name and logo to IHOB to announce new burger offerings on its menu. Customers and critics alike lampooned the decision, stating that the company had strayed from its breakfast roots. IHOP reverted to its old name and logo, and it claimed the move was only a temporary promotional stunt. Even if that’s true, it didn’t undo the negative publicity the brand endured.

The lesson here is simple: Choose the right products to maintain consistency in your brand message. Trying to go “off the menu” to deliver what you think is a better product could confuse customers, employees, vendors and other parties. Products should always feel cohesive and congruent with your overall brand identity. That consistency lays the foundation for brand trust.

2. Make customers your top priority

Customer engagement forms the backbone of any successful business. Your company gains strength by offering high-quality products and reliable services to its customers time and time again. It’s the cornerstone for building relationships of trust with those customers.

Dropping the ball can be a disaster. Customers notice when your company makes mistakes, such as producing inferior products or offering poor customer service. Such slip-ups can convince them to leave, which ultimately hurts your brand reputation and negatively impacts your bottom line.

One of the best things your business can do is to fulfill what your brand promises by putting your customers first. Start by

Because when your business is approachable, customers are more likely to trust your brand to find solutions for their problems as they arise.

3. Be honest

Chances are, when you see an infomercial pop up on TV, you quickly change the channel. Why is that such a common reaction? The simple answer is that no one likes feeling manipulated.

Infomercials have a lousy reputation partly because the products featured are often long on promises and short on results. From cookware guaranteed to never wear out to miracle cures for a host of ailments, these products are often too good to be true. No customers enjoy feeling misled, and the brands associated with “As Seen on TV,” products often suffer the results of negative perception.

Your business should be wary of falling into the same trap. Always be truthful in advertising and other forms of communication with customers — respect their intelligence. Be honest about what your products and services can do, and play to their natural strengths.

Fostering integrity with your brand starts with honesty. If a customer can’t trust your brand messaging, how can you expect them to trust your business?

4. Employ realistic marketing strategies

Reckless marketing campaigns give the wrong impression about your brand to customers and employees alike. It’s tempting to kick the hype machine into overdrive whenever you roll out a new product or service. But bigger isn’t always better. If your marketing veers into uncharted territory by making promises your business can’t keep, the road back to restoring brand integrity can be long and treacherous.

How do you feel when a product works as advertised? It’s amazing! You want to give that same feeling to your customers and employees. Give them a reason to feel excited, of course, but make sure you’re still coloring within the lines. Focus on the real benefits and results of your products, rather than allowing your creative energy to devise claims that aren’t achievable.

5. Maintain a consistent moral code

Doing the right thing for the right reasons is not an antiquated virtue. Businesses who play dirty often end up looking dirty in the eyes of the customers they want to attract.

Understanding which values your customers cherish is essential. Take enough time to learn what those values meanwhile you’re conducting market research. Then, take it a step further and weave those values into the fabric of your brand.

If your brand has core values that define your company’s culture, stick to those values. Doing so fosters an authentic and favorable brand image. Betraying those values can do more to undermine your brand’s integrity than just about anything else. The last thing you need to do in a crowded marketplace gives customers and employees a reason to turn away and march into the arms of a competitor.

Key takeaway

Building and maintaining brand integrity is a long-term strategy for success, but the results are well worth the investment. By choosing the right products, putting customers first, making promises your brand can keep, and sticking to your company’s values, you build a long-lasting brand that customers and employees are proud to support.

Want to know more about how to build your brand? Download our free ebook on how to build a brand in 2020.

Do you want to learn how you can make your company stand out from the crowd?

Or how to position your company so a prospect sees you as the only viable option when choosing between you and a competitor?

And finally, do you want to learn some little-known tricks that some of the biggest companies in the world use to turn people into loyal fans?

You’re in the right place.

By the end of this article, you’ll understand what digital branding is, why it’s important, and how you can adapt the methods big brands like Nike & Apple use to sell more products.

You’ll see concrete examples of how to plant in your prospects’ minds the brand image you want them to perceive.

Whether you want your company to be seen as the best, the cheapest, the fastest or the best customer experience, these actionable techniques will help you.

But before getting into the strategy, let’s cover the basics.

What is branding?

Digital brand management example

How would you describe this shape? It’s called a swoosh. But, you know what’s really interesting?

Most people don’t know what a swoosh is. And most people don’t know why Nike adopted it as a logo or what this shape is supposed to convey.

Still, we’re willing to pay more for a T-shirt with this shape on it than for a plain T-shirt made with the same cotton.

Nike isn’t the only example, of course. Take Mercedes or BMW—or any other well-known brand. Do you know what their logo means? Their history? Why they’re better than their rivals?

If you’re a huge fan, maybe. But, most people don’t.

Still, we have preferences. When it’s time to open our pockets, we eventually choose one over the other. How and why do we choose one over the other if we don’t know that much about either?

The answer might seem a little obvious: because they made us feel something.

When you buy a Mercedes, you aren’t just buying a car. You’re buying status. When people see you driving it, you feel accomplished, educated, wealthy and so on.

When you buy a fresh pair of Nike Jordans, you feel empowered like a great athlete, you feel like you’re going for it, and you almost feel like a star.

Why do we feel that way? Because that’s how brands are telling us to feel.

Branding is not what people know about your company, products or service. It’s not a static set of characteristics to remember about you. It’s not your content marketing, social media or creative advertising.

Branding is everything you do to make people feel a certain way.

This leads us to our next question.

Why is digital branding so important?

Why should you put a lot of effort into making people feel a certain way about your brand?

Imagine you go into a sports store to buy a T-shirt. You have three brands sitting in front of you: Nike, Adidas and a generic brand. All the same color. All the same fabric.

You don’t care about the material since they’re all made of basically the same fabric. They look the same. They feel the same. The only difference is the logo and the price.

But in a matter of seconds, you make a decision. You decide intuitively that brand A is better than brand B. And that’s why branding is important.

Branding is a promise that buying a product from brand A will give you more benefits than buying a product from brand B.

Now, how do you plant the perception in people’s minds that your brand is better than your competition?

This leads us to our next section.

Essential digital brand management tips

Branding shares similar principles whether it’s happening online or offline. Your goal is to make people feel a certain way about you, no matter what channel you’re using.

Since everything is shifting towards the digital world, below you’ll find mainly digital brand management tips that will help you build your online identity and stand out from the crowd.

1. Find your core values. What do you stand for?

If you want to build a strong, lasting brand, you need a strong, lasting strategy. Any powerful branding strategy starts with the company’s core values.

Here’s Apple’s mission statement from 2017:

“Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.”

Words like “the best,” “leads,” “revolution” and “reinvented” clearly tell you that creativity, innovation and being different are things Apple cares deeply about. And we’ll see in a minute how they express that.

But first, let’s return to a previous example: Nike. What does Nike stand for?

It isn’t about the shoes. It’s about great athletes, striving and going for it. It’s about being the best version of yourself. Or, to put it in their words:

Digital brand management example

“Our mission is what drives us to do everything possible to expand human potential. We do that by creating groundbreaking sport innovations, by making our products more sustainably, by building a creative and diverse global team and by making a positive impact in communities where we live and work.”

Considering these two examples for reference, how do you want to be perceived by people?

At Lucidpress, our mission is to make creating beautiful, on-brand content quick and easy for everyone. We believe each brand has a story, and our graphic design software exists to make it easy for brands to tell their stories visually. You can see how this mission influenced our homepage design:

Digital brand management software

2. Express those values consistently in everything you do

If you want people to feel about you in the way you decided, you have to keep representing those values in everything that you do.

Let me give you some examples to show what I mean.

We mentioned earlier that Apple stands for creativity, innovation, and being different, right? Here’s how they express it, even in the small details.

Not that many years ago, there were only black headphones. That was the norm.

When Apple released the iPod, they had a problem. The device lived in people’s pockets, so no one could tell you were listening to an iPod just by the sight of your black headphones.

What did Apple do?

Digital brand management example

They designed white headphones.

As psychologists and business experts have noted since the iPod’s release, the decision to make its earbuds white sent Apple’s reputation as an uber-cool company into the stratosphere.

That’s an offline branding example. Here’s how they deal with digital branding on their website.

Digital brand management example

In every aspect of its communication, Apple keeps repeating its core values.

Even if it’s not explicitly stated, they suggest them to you, which is often more powerful than just saying it.

Let’s return to Nike. As stated earlier, they don’t just sell shoes. They celebrate great athletes, and they want to expand human potential.

If you look at their digital branding, you rarely see pictures or videos showing off their shoes. Instead, you see athletes and performers being the best version of themselves, exemplifying one of Nike’s core values.

Digital brand management example

3. Keep your style & communication consistent

If you want people to recognize your brand instantly, then keep your style consistent across all channels, including digital branding and offline branding.

What do I mean by style?

It’s the fonts you use. The colors. The tone of voice. The choice of words. Your logo. Everything that defines what your brand is. This area of branding is also known as brand identity design.

Here’s a digital branding example from Carlsberg. If you take a look at this post, you’ll see that they’ve repeated part of their value proposition: probably the best beer in the world.

Digital brand management example

For more, head over to their Instagram profile. Almost every post uses green, and they use their value proposition innovatively to describe experiences related to enjoying a beer.

Digital brand management example

Or on this real-world banner where they don’t even show the bottle, but you can instantly recognize it’s about Carlsberg.

Digital brand management example

This consistency builds recognition and trust, because the brand has become a familiar personality people can relate to.

4. Make it easy for people to understand

Find a way to concisely tell customers who you are. And I’m not referring just to the tagline here, but to your communications as a whole.

Don’t try to play clever word games that become too complicated. Don’t try to use big words and phrases that have no real meaning.

Your message should be closely associated with your brand’s values, and you should condense it into one or two sentences.

This part of the brand building process goes beyond your logo and tagline to define:

To summarize, your definition should be instantly understandable while simultaneously striking an emotional chord. Make it resonant.

Think about it this way: You don’t have half an hour to explain to your customer what your company does. In most situations, especially if we’re talking about digital branding, you barely have half a minute.

Carlsberg is probably (see what I did there) one of the best examples of a clear value proposition.

But as I mentioned earlier, it doesn’t have to be about the tagline. Effective digital branding can be done in the details, like your website’s headline, the signature of your email or a short description on your business card.

Brand management example

Okay, so we’ve reviewed a few crucial digital branding tips. But, how do you make sure your brand stays consistent throughout all your marketing channels?

What if you go through a rebrand? What if your marketing team goes through some personnel changes? How do you make sure your brand maintains its style and core values?

Fortunately, we’ve got some tips here, too.

5. Establish brand guidelines with a clear identity

To make sure everyone is on the same page, you need to have documented brand guidelines that anyone in the company can find and use.

It’s a document that contains all the rules for composition, design, and general look-and-feel of all a brand’s collateral.

For ideas and inspiration, here are a few great brand guideline examples.

Medium

Digital brand management example

See the full brand guide here.

Skype

Digital brand management example

See the full brand guide here.

Scrimshaw Coffee

Digital brand management example

See the full brand guide here.

If you want a few more great examples, check out our post: 10 best corporate identity design examples

And if you’re ready to create your own brand guidelines, we’ve got a handy template to help you get started: Brand style guide template

Speaking of templates, let’s move onto our next point.

6. Invest in templates which reflect your brand’s aesthetic

Ok, so you have the guidelines. But, what if a new person joins the team and hasn’t managed to get a solid grasp of them yet?

One easy way to minimize errors is to invest in a designer who can create “best practice” templates that are in line with your brand’s ethos and aesthetic.

This ensures no one in your company has to take matters into their own hands, because they can draw on templates that reflect your brand every time they create a new document.

If you’re using Lucidpress, you can customize templates to easily create stunning content without having to start from scratch every time. And because of its innovative Brand Assets feature, you can make sure everyone is using the latest version of your branding elements. Fonts, colors and logos are all pre-loaded and ready to go.

Digital brand management software

7. Make sure you update your brand messaging & visuals everywhere

At this point, you have (or will have) a brand manual and a handful of templates that are in line with your brand aesthetic.

But, what if you go through a rebranding? What if your designer has to make a small change to your logo—how do you ensure your team uses the right version?

There are two ways to avoid this.

The hard way: You create a spreadsheet where you keep track of every edit you’ve ever made. Of course, you realize how tedious this can be—not to mention this method isn’t foolproof.

The easy way: You can use brand management software to make things much easier, and you can be 100% sure there are no errors.

Digital brand management software

Of course, we’re biased here, but with Lucidpress, your team has access to all brand assets in one place. Beyond that, you can lock down branded elements in your templates that should never be changed.

Lucidpress also offers real-time collaboration, which makes it easy for anyone on the team to work together and make sure your brand stays consistent throughout every channel.

Key takeaways

There are two main things I would like you to remember from this article.

1. Consistency is key to building a strong brand.

A strong, lasting brand takes years to be developed. Just look at the big brands out there. There’s no such thing as an overnight success. That’s why consistency is key.

2. Start with your company’s core values.

Before starting any brand marketing, make sure you clearly define your company’s brand identity. Your values, who you want to be, how you want people to perceive your company.

Because if it’s not very clear for you, don’t expect it to be clear to customers—no matter how often you’re communicating with them.

When you know exactly what you want to communicate, you’ll easily find ways to convey that message, and your audience will notice.

Want to know more about the impact of brand consistency? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

It’s something you’ve been told to do for years, as far back as your high school English classes: Define your voice. Voice is sometimes talked about as some ineffable je ne sais quoi. It’s something that’s felt more than defined.

But in reality, voice—the elements of personality that make a brand or person so distinctly themselves—can and should be defined. In fact, according to the Nielsen Norman Group, voice can have a huge impact on how much consumers trust or care about a brand. And that matters, because customers are far more likely to spend money with a reliable brand than an unreliable one.

What is brand voice?

Brand voice specifically refers to the content your business publishes online, in print, and anywhere else. It’s made up of the words you use and how you choose to use them—in other words, it’s the voice with which your business speaks.

Not sure what your brand’s personality is or should be? Here are five tips to help you define and sustain your brand’s voice.

1. Spend time putting words to your brand voice

While this step might look simple on the surface, it’s something a lot of companies overlook. If you want your brand’s voice to be consistent and scalable for growth, you have to clearly document it.

Begin with a voice tool as a starting point, or simply play through a few improv-style scenarios, feeling out how you and other stakeholders would expect the brand to respond in a given situation. As you launch new products, would your brand message contain more excitement or confidence? When customers write in for support, is it more important for your staff to be appeasing or authoritative? Which main values or interests do you want your messaging to regularly drive home?

Carefully document the responses, then identify any patterns or trends. Narrow down your list to a core set of descriptors (between three and five). From there, you can construct statements highlighting what your brand identity is and isn’t. By establishing and documenting the foundation of your company’s voice, you have a point of reference for any future communication or branding.

MailChimp’s voice and tone guidelines are a great point of reference for how to do this. The description is fairly brief, but each word gets a lot of work done.

2. Create consistency in every bit of content and copy

A truly effective voice requires consistency across all messaging. No piece of copy, content or communication should stray from that core persona, or you risk hurting how consistent your brand is perceived. And given that consistency can provide a 23% revenue increase over brands that lack it, inconsistency is one mistake you really can’t afford to make.

Take Cards Against Humanity. Every piece of writing in its games and on its website bursts with snarky sarcasm. The company has even set up training to ensure that support staff can meet customer needs without losing the signature sass that has come to define the brand’s voice.

If you want to follow this model, share the brand guidelines you established in the point above so all staff members know what is and isn’t allowed. Set up QA processes to make sure that everything aligns, from your social voice to your customer support voice. Specific tone can differ to suit different situations, but the central voice that defines your brand should remain constant across all communications and posts.

3. Raise your brand’s voice through proper channels

Everyone has that one extended relative—a grandma or a great aunt—who uses Facebook in a way that’s just a little bit off. And that’s exactly what you want to avoid. Because in a lot of ways, where you share your message matters almost as much as what you’re sharing.

The reason for this is twofold: First, it makes good financial sense to put brand resources and time where they will have the most impact. Second, and maybe more importantly, the platforms you use can impact how your brand’s voice is perceived. A teen-focused brand posting primarily on LinkedIn will confuse a lot of people; the platform lends itself to more formal business voices. Forcing a casual, slangy brand into that mold could be a recipe for failure.

Influencer marketing and advertising deserve attention here, too. If your strategy involves partnering with influencers or celebrities to sell a product—and there are plenty of good reasons to go this route—pay careful attention to how and where they share their messages. You can’t demand that an influencer change their persona to advertise your product without defeating the point of influencer marketing. Instead, spend some time listening to and watching the people you want to partner with to find someone who naturally matches your brand’s voice.

For a great example, look to underwear brand TomboyX. The brand works hard to speak to the LGBTQ+ community in a voice that feels human, confident and aware. TomboyX found an ideal voice pairing in Cameron Esposito, with an influencer-esque ad that plays during Esposito’s podcast, QUEERY. The ad, which involves Esposito giving a positive review of her own experience with the brand’s product, sounds genuine and real, perfectly harmonizing with TomboyX’s voice.

4. Walk the talk

As we’ve discussed, content and copy are huge parts of brand voice definition—but that’s not where consistency ends. For a voice to feel honest and genuine, it has to be backed up by other brand elements, including visuals and products.

A lot of beauty and fashion brands have pivoted to include more “natural” messaging in recent years. “Organic,” “pure,” “unretouched” and similar terms have gone beyond slogans and now feel baked into brand personas. But, how many brands succeed when it comes to backing up those words with concrete action, both in terms of visual advertising and product offerings? Not many.

That’s part of what made American Eagle’s recent #AerieREAL campaign so refreshing: The brand translated its voice and values into its ad campaign photography. For many consumers, this was the first fashion campaign they’d seen that included models with disabilities—real bodies wearing the product they were advertising.

If you really want to sell your brand voice, you have to back it up. Otherwise, even the strongest voice will start to ring hollow.

5. Don’t be afraid to—consciously—grow and adapt

Finally, adjust your voice as your brand grows.

That’s not a call to revamp everything at the drop of a hat—constant rebranding won’t do much to help encourage company recognition or loyalty. But an occasional and purposeful shift to respond to a growing market or changing attitude can and should be encouraged.

A particularly relevant example of voice evolution is Soylent. It started out as a niche, DIY-focused product with a voice that spoke primarily to busy engineers and developers who cared more about the function than the form of what they were eating. The creator himself said that even the brand name was designed for “encouraging further discussion and thought,” solidifying the brand’s methodical, analytical voice.

However, as the product picked up new followers and expanded into new markets, that voice changed. It holds on to some of its original directness but now brings friendlier reassurance to the table. What once read as intentional austerity now feels more palatable.

Since the change, Soylent has seen more commercial success, moving into markets on Amazon and college campuses. It’s unlikely that it would have seen that level of success without some voice adjustment to better speak to its newer, larger audience.

Key takeaway

There’s no denying that it can feel daunting to establish your brand’s voice in a world that already seems saturated with a lot of noise. But, it’s not all about volume. Use the tips above to build a voice that resonates with your audience, and reap the benefits of better brand recognition and a better bottom line.

Why did you start your business? We’re pretty sure it wasn’t because you wanted to sell one product every blue moon, or because you don’t care about the services you provide.

Let’s be honest: We all want to make a difference, and we want to be recognized for delivering exceptional experiences. Without a positive reputation built on genuine feedback from satisfied customers, you can wave goodbye to local or worldwide recognition.

You’ve probably noticed that bigger brands tend to have this nailed down. You see that red-and-white logo and instantly recognize Coca-Cola, or that blue background and yellow text belonging to IKEA. Even those multi-million-dollar brands had to start from somewhere. How on earth do you create something memorable—something that a customer will recognize and trust right away?

One answer is product packaging. Packaging is the first thing someone will notice on a shelf or when they receive a delivery to their home. The more they relate to it, the more likely it is that they’ll purchase or recommend it to others.

However, before you reach stardom, there are several ways to increase the chance of getting noticed. From the way you speak about your brand to how you package your products, here’s how to tell a memorable brand story.

Write your story early on

Before you get too far in with your products, button up your brand story. Keep in mind that a business is generic and faceless without its history, values, mission, vision and personality.

To refine the story you’d like to convey to the public, ask yourself some of these questions:

Once you’ve answered these, it’ll be easier to focus your brand story—and that story can inform the choices you make with product development and package design.

Give your product a persona

Don’t think of package design as just a way to deliver your product. To truly convey a message, a story or a brand identity through your product, you should think of it as a person. That’s right, just like in marketing, you’re creating a persona—but this time, it’s for your product. This is where brand personality comes in.

By thinking of your product as a person, it’ll be easier to design packaging that reflects the brand personality and resonates with your target audience. Potential buyers will notice that authenticity and gravitate toward the product before they even realize what it is. They’ll know that it’s been designed for them.

Colors draw in the customer

Without color, the canvas is blank. A customer won’t look twice at your product if it doesn’t stand out to them in the first place.

Think about what feelings you want someone to get from your product. Should it make them feel like having fun, like a quirky craft beer? Should it make them feel cared for, like a health-related product? Make a list of how you want your product to make customers feel, and find ways to translate that to your packaging.

It can be easy to match colors with feelings: calming blues, bright yellows, passionate reds. A customer could be drawn to a certain color, depending on what they’re looking for. Colors can help you convey your brand identity, as well.

Who is your audience?

As with any form of marketing, keeping your audience in mind throughout the process is a must. Who will buy your product, and what product packaging will appeal most to that particular audience? Think about colors, shapes, sizes—even the wording on each individual product’s package.

Customers often read the text on a product to reinforce their purchasing decisions in their minds. [ ] For example, younger audiences prefer brighter, eye-catching colors with quirky shapes and blocky fonts. Older audiences who purchase luxury products prefer colors like black and gold, combined with elegant fonts and sophisticated language. It’s all about knowing who you’re selling to. Once you do, the rest will come far more easily.

Delivery boxes

No matter the size of your business, it’s not only important to have great product packaging on the shelves. When a customer makes a purchase online, they should feel the same excitement for their delivery as they do for the product in the box.

Depending on the size of your business, you might need to batch-order boxes for delivering your products. Businesses often need extra help to meet customer demand. BCS box-making machinery can help to create quality, durable boxing that makes an impact.

Consider sprucing up your boxes with custom-branded stamps, tape and delivery labels—as well as adding extra protection for your product inside each box. Think about padding, branded freebies, and money-off coupons as ways to encourage repeat purchases from your customers.

Logos & graphics

If you’re not including your logo and other branded imagery on your packaging, how do you expect a customer to know it’s you? When people see a familiar logo, they know almost instantly whether they trust that business enough to buy the product.

Graphics, although not always brand-specific, can often make or break your product packaging. If you’re selling healthy products, you’re more likely to succeed with a green, leafy design. Think about what works, and use a bit of common sense to gauge how you want the product to come across.

Product blurbs

Your brand story is important. So important, in fact, that many businesses make space on their product packaging to write a little about how their business started. Other companies write about their values, such as Lush and their natural, eco-friendly approach.

You can probably think of a few other examples of brands who do this well—which means they’re doing things the right way. The care and effort you take here will pay off when customers remember your story and take it to heart. Shoppers will appreciate an attractive design with an inspiring blurb more than one with a cut-and-dry description. Don’t forget that it’s often the packaging of a product that sells it, not just what’s inside.

Don’t over-design it

It’s easy to succumb to this temptation. In trying to make a product the most eye-catching or unique, some companies over-complicate the packing design. Sometimes, these products luck out and sell well, but they do little to build or reinforce the company’s brand.

Don’t get too carried away with embellishing your packaging designs. Stick with simple, clear concepts that your audience will easily understand. Often, it’s the most simple and well-thought design that wins out in the hearts and minds of customers. [Tweet this]

Be consistent

According to famous designer and author Robert Brunner, “Everything you do creates the brand experience. Ergo, design is your brand.”

Just as it’s important to maintain brand consistency in your marketing, it’s important to design product packaging that’s consistent with your brand’s identity and values.

We’re not saying you should slap your logo on everything. But you do need to design concepts that reflect your brand—concepts that could be informed by the logo, typography, color, etc. Even if your product doesn’t share the aesthetic characteristics of your brand, it should feel congruent with its values.

Invest in packaging

Don’t underestimate the power that packaging design can have on your brand. Because your packaging often sparks the first connection between a customer and your product, it’s often the first experience they’ll have with your brand.

On top of the time and money spent on product design, you should also carefully consider your packaging. Design packaging that stirs up emotions of excitement, joy, delight or amazement. Once you’ve created packaging that instantly connects with your customers, your brand awareness and recognition will benefit.

Key takeaway

An effective brand will help sell products and attract customers. If you want your customers to get excited about your new products before they’re even announced, build a strong brand using these concepts.

Bonus: Product packaging infographic

Want a few more tips and pointers on the importance of product packaging? Check out this data-packed infographic from our friends at Uppercut Box.

Product packaging infographic

Why talk about sustainability?

You’re probably fed up with the terms “millennial” and “Generation Y,” but they’re still helpful when describing that particular group of consumers.

For example, one trend that keeps popping up is their desire to buy from brands brave enough to set standards of behavior and live by a set of principles.

I’m a millennial, and for the first time this year, I was able to go to my local zero-waste store and buy travel toiletries for my summer vacation. I even paid a lot more for the privilege and left the store with a fuzzy feeling and a huge smile. Does this sound unusual? Trust me—I’m not the only one in my peer group who looks for opportunities like this.

If you’re looking for more reasons to build your brand around sustainability—and examples of brands that are doing just that—read on.

Boosting that bottom line

If you want to show the market that your company is in it for the long haul, having a sustainability strategy is a case of when, not if.

We know that 75% of millennials millennials say sustainability is a shopping priority, more than any other group. [Tweet this] Yes, we came of age during the Great Recession and aren’t the richest generation (hello Boomers), but we are getting wealthier. And, importantly, we are willing to pay more for things that matter.

The problem with sustainable business practices is the misconception that being good equals less revenue.

Even Forbes agrees that you can earn better returns from investing in good companies. If you’re not positioning your company to look after the planet and its people, you’re already behind. The time is now.

Leading from the front

Do you want your brand to be on the cutting edge, forming relationships with international audiences? Or do you want to be trying to figure out why your quirky social media campaigns aren’t getting the engagement they used to?

The United Nations are fully focused on achieving their Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and your brand can be part of that through the work of the Global Compact division.

Of course, this is step one in the process. Your brand won’t survive on goodwill alone. It has to produce a steady profit to grow and spread your positive message further.

Step two is telling your story, integrating sustainability into your brand and making sure the entire company is on board and proud of the work you’re all doing.

Telling your “triple bottom line” story

If you’re not familiar with the triple bottom line, it’s the idea that your business should be measuring and reporting not just a financial bottom line, but social and environmental bottom lines, too.

This is how you truly integrate your business with sustainability. There are several ways to get started on this, but some useful resources are:

You can use these frameworks that are already created and layer them throughout your business. It’s a time-consuming process to get all of the data in place, but once you have it set up, it’s well-worth the effort.

What’s important to you?

The next part is understanding which issues are important to you and your audience. For smaller brands, your audience will include customers, employees and management teams. For bigger brands, that list might also include governments, local residents and other organizations.

A great place to start with your sustainability efforts is to pick an issue that you all feel strongly about. This will get everyone excited to transition, and while we all know that change can be difficult, successfully launching one project makes it easier to do more.

If you’re thinking of starting a business or just launched one recently, this can still apply to you. Think about your processes as you build them, and ask the question: “Can I repeat this action for the next five years and feel good about it?” If the answer is no, then you have an opportunity to future-proof.

Now that you have an amazing project going on—whether you’re off-setting your carbon output, adding mental health support to your team’s healthcare packages, or engaging your local community in a social development project—it’s time to tell the world.

Using social media

We’re past the point of debating whether social media is relevant. It is. It’s also a fantastic place to tell your brand story in an authentic and engaging way.

The number-one rule here is not to just throw out a few posts about sustainability and expect them to get the engagement they should. Create a new marketing plan with your project at the heart of it, and find ways to tie more of your posts back to sustainability.

The power of Instagram and live-streaming

For Instagram, consider using longer captions. If you have a good reason for a long post, then don’t be afraid. Yes, social media is often about standing out, but that in itself is not a sustainable business practice. If you’re just using pictures of puppies because research shows that puppies get the most likes, then you’ve missed the point of marketing.

Make your social media pages (especially Instagram) reflect your authentic self. Check out @ErinOutdoors or @SophieHellyer, who’ve both attracted loyal communities with their authenticity. Let it showcase the values of your brand so you can attract an audience who cares about those same things.

lifestraw

A post shared by Erin Sullivan (@erinoutdoors) on Oct 12, 2018 at 8:00pm PDT

If you have someone who’s particularly good on camera, give them a platform to talk about your project in a live stream. Most social platforms now have a solid live-streaming option. Take advantage and give your audience access to backstage conversations about your brand. Be brave and be there for your community.

Building a community

Having worked in marketing for a long time now, the most common thing I see is a fear to stand up for something important because it might upset some of your customers. You could sell anything to anyone, but that’s not building a brand legacy—that’s trying to make a quick buck.

If you consider community-building to be part of your marketing strategy, then you need to have a positive message. Brands that build positive messaging in their content and communication are the ones that stand out against the negative cycle of mainstream news.

Examples of great sustainable storytelling

There’s nothing like seeing examples that work, so we’ve curated a few samples of brands we absolutely love.

TRIBE — Sports nutrition with a conscience

At Conscious Creatives, we try to encourage physical activity as part of a healthy lifestyle, getting our team healthy through running, cycling, surfing and more. One of our biggest forms of inspiration in this respect is Tribe—a brand dedicated to making sports nutrition products with natural ingredients.

What we love about Tribe is that their marketing plans are based on creating a community. They’re a collection of people who love being outdoors, brought together by sporting events all over the world and a combined effort to rid the world of human trafficking.

like a girl

A post shared by TRIBE (@the_tribe_way) on Oct 15, 2018 at 12:46pm PDT

Tribe is a community of nutrition experts who care about the world. It just so happens that they also sell nutrition products.

Lewis Pugh — Swimming to save the seas

An example of someone who definitely fits the definition of inspirational is Lewis Pugh: swimmer, speaker and general mind-boggling human being.

He’s just completed The Long Swim, a 560-kilometer effort spanning the length of the English Channel.

Why would a person attempt such a thing? To raise awareness of the sorry state of our oceans. Lewis’s feat is the start of a worldwide campaign that aims to fully protect 30% of our oceans by 2030.

A real-life hero and conservationist, Lewis defies all logic and pushes himself to the limits to earn media coverage of the cause. See this photo of his encounter with a plastic bag during his long swim. He used a powerful image, a long caption and specific instructions to make our oceans cleaner.

lewis pugh

A post shared by Lewis Pugh (@lewis.pugh) on Aug 22, 2018 at 7:19am PDT

That is how sustainable marketing will change the world.

rCUP — Recycling reusable cups

I am proud to share a hometown with these folks. They discovered that only 0.4% of recyclable coffee cups were actually being recycled. So, they set about designing a product made from precisely those cups.

The rCUP is a reusable coffee cup that is affordable, looks great and has some wonderful little design elements that make it really easy to use.

A post shared by rCUP (@rcuponeplanet) on Jul 21, 2018 at 11:32am PDT

Sustainable marketing is so much easier when you’ve got products that make a real difference.

How to get started

If you’re reading this and are equal parts excited and confused, you are not alone. I suggest finding a community of like-minded business folks who are also looking to make more money by doing the right thing.

LinkedIn is a great resource for finding sustainability professionals, and our community is strong in voice. We’re all so proud of the work our peers are doing and the causes that we stand for.

Look into your industry to see which organizations support sustainability. You’ll be surprised to discover wonderful groups ready and willing to help, no matter what stage you’re at. For example, if you work in fashion, the Ethical Fashion Initiative is a wonderful example.

The key, though, is to start.

Don’t be afraid to try. Know you aren’t going to do it perfectly, but also know that simply trying is a great thing. Watch as your community grows and rallies around your brand for years to come.

In the digital age, we are constantly surrounded by bleeping phones and notification alerts. The onslaught of incoming communications can seem incessant and unceasing. Most modern consumers are surrounded by distractions, and marketers have a tough job helping their brands catch the attention of prospects.

Related: Create strong emotional connections with your brand story

Often, an effective approach is to add to the stream of information and hope to outdo competitors by offering big discounts and exclusive deals. These quick wins can help your business reach its short-term goals, but they won’t lead to long-term loyalty from consumers. Brands need to build trust with customers so they come back time and again—a one-off discount can’t achieve this.

Instead, the best-known and longest-surviving brands create and nurture emotional connections with their customers—turning them into faithful followers. To do this, marketers use emotional branding. It can take some time to reach the point where your customers’ actions are fueled by emotion, but it is worth the investment, as repeat customers are extremely valuable.

Why invest in emotional branding?

It costs more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep one. The exact figures vary, with different studies suggesting it can be between 5-25x more costly to attract a new buyer than to retain one. One Harvard Business School study suggests that improving customer retention by 5% will increase a company’s profits by between 25% and 95%.

Every marketer knows that building a strong brand is hugely important in distinguishing a business from its competitors. But, they may not realize just how much it can impact their bottom line. A successful brand goes much deeper than its logo; it creates an emotional connection with customers.

Emotional branding defined

Emotional branding is about building a brand that appeals directly to consumers’ emotions, needs and ambitions. With emotional branding, marketers aim to trigger an emotional response in consumers.

By provoking emotions, marketers can create a bond which disrupts traditional consumer decision-making models. These models are largely based around the idea that consumers make a purchase based purely on logic, but these models are changing.

Emotional branding

Quizlet’s rational decision-making model,lovingly recreated in Lucidpress

When emotional branding comes into play, decisions can become irrational. When given the choice between two similar products, a consumer may simply follow logic and choose the cheapest or most convenient option. However, when emotion is in the mix, they may choose to buy the brand they relate to most.

It’s easy to see how building an emotional bond with consumers can increase profits and why premium brands like Nespresso and Coca-Cola engage in building emotional connections with their customers.

Often, people choose purchases based on ego rather than necessity. Consumers can show who they are through the brands they choose—and they are willing to pay more and go out of their way to do this. It is up to marketers to position their brands in a way that will connect and resonate with their target audience. When done right, cutting through the distractions of the modern world will come easy.

How to incorporate emotional branding in your marketing strategy

The likes of McDonalds, KFC and Disney employ a number of methods to connect in a meaningful way with consumers. The longer a business is around, the easier this becomes, and many brands take advantage of anniversaries and nostalgia to bond with their market.

But, newly founded businesses don’t need to miss out. Here are just some of the approaches to emotional branding that can be used to bond with consumers.

1. Show your customers you care

To succeed at emotional branding, it’s essential to thoroughly know your audience. You need to treat your customers as people rather than faceless consumers. Do your research, conduct surveys, then decide how you can connect with your audience.

What do they value? What triggers them emotionally?

Once you’ve decided which emotion you want to tap into, this should consistently be evident in your marketing messages. From social media to customer care, a brand should constantly address customers’ emotional needs.

Over the years, e-commerce site Zappos endeared itself to customers by going above and beyond to provide great service. From providing free overnight delivery to a customer in a sticky situation to assisting a hungry helpline caller in need of pizza, the site has built up a loyal following.

Zappos - Emotional branding example

While Zappos provides an extreme example of customer care, creating an emotional connection by meeting and exceeding customer service expectations doesn’t have to be so extravagant.

Apple has built a cult following simply by demonstrating that it understands the needs of its users. Nike recognizes its customers’ dreams and ambitions, and the brand uses marketing to show how it can help with the journey.

French beauty brand L’Occitane simply provides customers with beautifully presented deliveries and free gift-wrapping—making a memorable impression which, for many of its customers, is more appreciated than a discount.

L'Occitane - Emotional brand example

2. Be consistent

For online marketers, consistency is key. Sharing content which demonstrates a consistent tone and style builds both visibility and trust for a brand.

Without the trust of your audience, there is no way you’ll be able to build a strong emotional bond that will keep customers coming back.

Here are some practical ways to ensure brand consistency:

3. Give customers an experience they won’t forget

Disney - emotional branding

Beyond providing great customer care, consider what other kind of experiences your brand can use to build an emotional connection with customers. Big brands often sponsor concerts and sporting events—or run their own. What could be your brand’s Disneyland?

If you have a brick-and-mortar location, could you host an entertaining event? If you’re working with a smaller budget, could you provide an Instagrammable installation in-store? This is a simple, but impactful, way to connect with consumers in today’s digital world.

Redemption Bar - Emotional branding example

Source: Redemption Bar

Provide a positive experience as customers use your product or service wherever possible. UX is growing in importance for online businesses and is intertwined with the overall brand experience.

Companies like Slack impress customers by providing a helpful and supportive experience through friendly reminders, convenient app integrations, and cleverly auto-populated gifs.

Alternatively, you can use marketing campaigns to align your brand with a particular lifestyle or emotional experience. Coca-Cola’s “Open Happiness” campaign is a clear example of this.

Coca-Cola - Emotional branding

4. Put a friendly face at the center of your brand

Whether it’s a celeb, an Instagram influencer, or an employee-turned-brand-ambassador, sometimes the best way to connect with consumers on an emotional level is through a warm human personality.

Female consumers don’t go through enormous lengths to get one of Kylie Jenner’s lip kits just because of the product’s quality. They do this because of their love for the company’s CEO.

You don’t have to have a famous face to build a close relationship with your audience. Many charismatic CEOs have become the heart of their company’s brands.

Gary Vee - Emotional branding example

Think of Gary Vaynerchuk or Neil Patel, who have both built strong personal brands and businesses through social media. Their willingness to share knowledge and expertise with consumers has helped them to connect with audiences on an emotional level.

On a smaller scale, it’s very possible for a friendly waiter to drive customer retention by creating personal connections with diners. Brand ambassadors can come in many forms, and they’re a great way to reinforce brand values and build rapport with customers.

Key takeaway

Emotional branding builds lasting relationships with your audience and can improve the profitability and longevity of your business. You want to bring your customers to a point where they can’t imagine going to anyone else to get the products or services you provide.

Big brands are leading in this area, but small businesses can get in on emotional branding through the smallest of gestures and actions. As social media algorithms change and internet browsers seek out online communities, connecting emotionally will become a key strategy for cutting through the distractions of the modern world and reaching audiences.

Learn more about the power of emotional branding & storytelling in our webinar with branding expert David Brier.

Taking your brand global is an exciting prospect but also a significant challenge. Establishing and growing your brand in your own country is challenging enough, but expanding it into other parts of the world will present hurdles different from any you’ve experienced before.

One of the principal challenges is maintaining consistency as the brand spreads into other cultures and regions. Being consistent, though, is key to success. That’s not to say you should ignore the differences between customers in different markets—you need to meet customer needs while still keeping your brand consistent, which is easier said than done.

Maintaining a strong brand while going global requires substantial research and planning, as well as careful monitoring. Here are 6 branding tips to remember when you’re going global.

1. Establish brand guidelines

Before attempting to expand a brand globally, the company should have well-established, consistent brand guidelines. It needs to distribute these guidelines to everyone who will represent the brand in any way and ensure adherence.

What should be included in brand guidelines? They cover the overall definition of the brand, visual style and content style. That’s not to say all of these elements need to be included in the same document, but they should all be well-defined. The guideline should define the brand’s values, mission and vision statement and include a description of the key messages you want to send, as well as the brand’s personality.

These guidelines should include rules for using the company’s logos, colors, fonts and any other visual elements. They should also describe its preferred voice and tone, any words that should be used and any to be avoided. The use of these guidelines must be enforced throughout the company to keep the brand consistent. This will be of immense value, since research shows that consistent brands expect to earn 23% more revenue annually than inconsistent brands.

2. Emphasize your values

Your brand guidelines should include a description of company values, but they should be emphasized through every aspect of the global expansion. This strategy consists of both customer-facing and internal elements and will help the brand maintain its essence, even if the details of how the company operates are different in new markets.

Making sure everyone in the company understands its values is crucial to consistency. Brand values can serve as a guidepost when trying to determine whether something is on brand or not. While representations of the brands should still be subject to review, understanding brand values can help keep ideas on track in the early stages.

3. Be aware of culture & language differences

Before expanding into a new region, a company should take time to research any aspects of culture or language that may affect how their brand is perceived. The business should also conduct a legal assessment to avoid inadvertently breaking any rules or regulations.

If your company is seeking to form partnerships and make business acquaintances overseas, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the country’s business culture. For example, in Singapore, it’s important to talk about any successes as a team effort. The interests of the group as a whole are generally put ahead of individual interests there—something you’d want to keep in mind if you were trying to create a mutually beneficial partnership.

When translating a brand into another language and culture, miscommunications are easily possible.

If a company doesn’t take sufficient precautions, it risks making a faux pas that could damage the brand. KFC fell victim to this issue when it expanded into China in the 80s. The company translated its slogan “finger-lickin’ good” to “eat your fingers off.” While KFC eventually recovered from the mistake, this slogan did not send the right message.

4. Keep it customer-focused

While you need to maintain brand consistency, you also need to ensure that you communicate your brand in a way that will resonate with the new customers you’re attempting to reach. You may need to make small adjustments to better appeal to customers in different regions, as well.

Determining what you can change to appeal to a new set of customers and what you can’t alter without sacrificing brand consistency is critical.

KFC provides us another example—but this time, in a positive way. In the 70s, KFC created a campaign in Japan called “Kentucky for Christmas” that encouraged Japanese customers to go to KFC on the holiday.

The campaign was a huge success because it capitalized on the fact that there weren’t many established Christmas traditions in the country. KFC still catered to one of the traditions that did exist in Japan, however, by including a special cake in its Christmas meal bundles.

5. Optimize your approval process

Companies should have an established approval process in place before expanding globally. This process helps employees to easily submit materials and enables company leadership to ensure brand consistency.

A complicated process can lead to off-brand materials slipping through the cracks. Once they do, these misbranded materials can spread, because people who see them will assume they’re acceptable.

Using a brand templating platform like Lucidpress can streamline the approval process, which encourages employees to get quick approval of their materials and move their projects forward.

6. Promote consistent internal communications

To orchestrate a global brand expansion, a company needs a strong internal communications system to ensure that all offices, departments and employees are on the same page.

You need a reliable communications system to inform everyone in the company of updates to branding guidelines, information about new products, details about new promotional products and more. Internal disconnect creates a risk of brand inconsistency.

Businesses should create an internal communications plan that includes information about communication objectives, target audiences, available channels and more. They must then monitor their progress to ensure that their internal communications are effective.

Also, everyone within a company who needs access to logos and other brand materials should have access to them. Using a cloud-based system like Lucidpress (through which employees can download logos from anywhere at any time) can resolve this issue seamlessly.

Key takeaway

Expanding a brand globally is, of course, no small feat. A global brand has many moving parts that all face different challenges based on their location. Despite these differences, the branding must be consistent throughout the entire company.

Achieving this kind of cohesiveness requires a well-defined brand and open communication about what the brand is to everyone in the company. That information and meaning can then be communicated effectively to customers across the globe.

Want to know more about the power of brand consistency? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

To get people interested in your brand and have them become loyal customers, it’s no longer enough to simply produce a good product or provide a great service.

What buyers are looking for today is an impeccable user experience—one that really makes them feel like they’re getting their money’s worth. This is why top brands appeal to their customers’ emotions; they realize most purchases aren’t rational. Your brand exists in the minds of your audience as all the experiences, impressions and interactions they’ve had with you, both positive and negative.

The power of branding is so incredible that 72% of marketers say branded content is more effective than print advertising. To help you harness that power, here’s our list of 9 ways to make people fall in love with your brand.

1. Focus on user needs, not features

This is where many brands go wrong. They choose to toot their own horn and go on about how great their product is, when in reality, the market couldn’t care less about it. What they really care about (whether they’re looking to buy a lawnmower or reaching out to cheap writing services) is what the brand and its product can do for them.

Make sure your brand focuses on how buying your product will solve a particular issue for your audience or address a particular pain point. Make them feel like the hero for choosing you.

2. Research what your target audience wants

While it’s fairly easy to assume that the attention span of most millennials is only a few seconds or that older generations are not present on social media… If you’re basing your branding strategy on these assumptions, you have failed spectacularly right off the bat.

Researching your target audience and identifying their needs is crucial if you want your brand to connect with them on an emotional level. Find ways to speak to your customers—and ideal customers—about what really matters to them.

3. Respond to consumer feedback whenever possible

According to research, 57% of consumers say that brand’s failure to respond to negative feedback is a good reason to cut ties with that brand. Responding to user feedback and acknowledging it, even if it’s negative, can help turn things around if you try your best to remedy the issue.

By responding to customer reviews and feedback, you’re showing that communication is a two-way street, and that your brand is not generic and faceless like all the others out there.

4. Provide a free solution

Obviously, the whole point of marketing and building your brand is to get potential customers to purchase from you—but getting there doesn’t have to involve you pushing for a sale. For example, you can provide your audience with helpful, applicable, free content that will help them overcome a particular problem.

What this does is inspire trust and establish you as an authoritative resource. When they’re ready to make a real purchase, your brand will be their first choice.

5. Deliver more than you’ve promised

One of the most effective ways to create a positive brand experience is to delight customers by delivering more than you initially promised. For instance, if you surprise them with a discount or throw in a free sample, they’ll be thrilled.

While it might be a sizable investment on your part, keep in mind that customer loyalty can be worth ten times more than a single purchase.

6. Find the right distribution channel

While mobile advertising and branding are the trend of the moment, how successfully you’re going to reach your consumer audience depends on how well you’ve done your research.

For instance, if you’re trying to reach older people with your brand, you might assume mobile advertising is off-limits. And while it’s true many of them don’t use social media, they do still use smartphones—which would mean that your brand might benefit from SMS marketing.

Think carefully about all your options, and don’t take any off the table before giving them proper consideration.

7. Tell a story

It’s pretty easy to fall into the trap of making your brand’s message too salesy. A much better strategy is to tell a story with your message. For example, if you’re trying to sell an espresso machine, don’t talk about how it’s made of stainless steel or how it can make you a cup of coffee in less than 30 seconds…

Instead, focus on how amazing that first cup of freshly brewed coffee feels on a lazy Sunday while the kids are still in bed. You’re selling a better quality of life, and your product can make that happen. Figure out how to tell a story that captures what your brand can really do for your ideal customer.

8. Pay attention to the visuals

Up to 90% of purchases are influenced by visual factors—especially color, which can increase brand recognition by up to 80%. Having a website which features eye-catching responsive design is a must, but your brand identify should also extend to your social media, marketing materials and product packaging.

Every visual touchpoint is an opportunity to tell your brand story, so don’t let them go to waste.

9. Find out where your audience hangs out

Make peace with the fact that your brand cannot be all things to all people. While casting a wide net might help you attract a bigger audience, it might not be worth it when you take into account all the marketing expenses.

Instead, find your intended audience online and figure out what they want. Regardless of what your product or service is, there’s a target audience for it out there. It’s up to you to find out where they are, how they communicate, and what they value.

Key takeaway

These techniques will not only make people fall in love with your brand—they will keep them coming back for more. And when it comes to building brand loyalty and driving growth, that’s really the best-case scenario, isn’t it?

Want to know more about how to build your brand? Download our free ebook on how to build a brand in 2020.

At the onset of building a business, branding might not seem like the first thing to conceptualize. Establishing the foundations of your brand by creating a brand book could be a tedious process, but its long-term benefits are well worth the effort.

To help you get started, let’s review what a brand book is, what it does, why you should take the time to build one, and how to best go about it.

What is a brand book?

A brand book can also be called a brand bible, a brand style guide or a brand guide, among other similar terms. Essentially, it’s the document that sets distinct guidelines for maintaining brand identity across all aspects of the business.

From designers to marketers to sales teams, a brand book helps align different departments in communicating consistent messaging.

Some of the things included in a brand book are:

Why do you need one?

One of the biggest benefits of having a brand book is that it gives the business a framework of consistency and cohesion. This consistency and cohesive messaging serve as great tools for defining your company’s personality—which, when committed to over a period of time, breeds trust. Strong, consistent brands are valuable; we know from our research that consistent brands expect to earn 23% more revenue annually.

When your audience sees that there is consistency in color scheme, tone of voice, and logo usage across all platforms, it delivers a level of professionalism that tells your customers you’re a brand they can trust.

Pros of having a brand book

As pointed out by Mayven, having a detailed brand book establishes the voice and personality of a company, governing virtually every aspect of company communication. From in-house communications to marketing messaging, having a well-made brand book ensures everyone is on the same page, consistently delivering a unified message that’s always on-brand.

Cons of not having a brand book

On the flip side, the inconsistency that easily creeps up when you don’t take the time to create a brand book can confuse and, eventually, alienate your customers.

Imagine a coworker who’s always well put-together: perfectly ironed shirt, neat haircut, clean shoes. Now imagine if, out of nowhere, that same person came to work with unkempt hair, ripped jeans and a neck tattoo. You’ll inevitably feel uncomfortable because it’s just not something you’re used to from that person. Chances are, you’ll be wondering if everything was okay with that coworker or if there’s some inner turmoil going on.

Essentially, the same instinct applies to brands and the way they present themselves to their audiences. You don’t want to confuse your audience with mixed messages.

How to create a brand book: Setting up the brand

Before you create a brand book that guides all aspects of the business, you need to envision what you want the brand to be. This means understanding four key components: the brand’s mission, its vision (which includes core values), target audience and brand persona.

Mission

When you’re crafting your brand mission statement, don’t fall into the trap of stringing together buzzwords that merely result in empty concepts and vague statements. As noted by Branding Strategy Insider, settling for a mission statement of that ilk does little to guide the company or employees toward having and maintaining a competitive edge. On top of that, it doesn’t provide motivation or a daily mission to make each workday matter.

Instead of vague concepts, your mission statement should clearly establish:

Establishing these does a number of things for your business: it immediately helps employees figure out whether they fit what the company wants to be, it creates strong brand differentiation from competition, and it inspires consumer passion and engagement.

Vision

As noted by Goalcast, a strong vision statement will serve as a guiding force for all of your business decisions. It’s a virtual compass that points the company towards where it wants to be and what it wants to become.

To help craft your vision statement, you can ask questions like:

Paired together, your mission and vision statements serve as important start and stop points—tools that will guide you as you make strategic business decisions that refine your brand.

Brand persona

Establishing a brand personality is a key element in setting the tone for your brand messaging across all communication channels. Mixed messages make it harder for customers to connect and identify with your brand.

One age-old practice is thinking about what kind of person your brand would be. Do you want your brand to be straightforward and to-the-point? Or would you rather it be playful and witty?

There’s also the old is/is not exercise. This involves listing three to five adjectives that your brand is and three to five adjectives that it is not.

Whatever collection of traits you decide to incorporate into your brand persona, it’s best to turn those into a statement that guides your overall messaging.

Lucidpress—a brand templating platform—uses this:

Lucidpress is the intuitive brand templating platform that empowers anyone to easily create on-brand materials.

In this statement, you can see a number of descriptive branding words:

These traits drive our messaging and many other branding decisions, from how our software should feel to who would benefit from using our platform. Speaking of which…

Target audience

Just as you need to understand your brand, it’s likewise important to understand your target market. What types of people do you want using your products? Which ones do you want to visit your website, consume your content or subscribe to your emails?

To identify your audience, you need to have a solid understanding of what their needs, wants and values are—and how you factor into all of those.

The process of identifying and understanding your target market allows you to narrow down your audience focus. Your messages are always tailored to your audience, and it gives you a clear picture of what you need to be for a specific group of people.

How to create a brand book: Visual guidelines

Logo usage

Coming up with a distinct, identifiable logo is one thing. Ensuring that it remains optimized in different environments is another. This part of your brand book should include all approved versions of your logo and how it will be used in different platforms, from placement to acceptable alterations.

How to make a brand book

Source: Design Shack

As you can see with Adobe’s brand guidelines, it’s very clear how the logo should be used, including its placement, size and white space.

Color palette

Your brand’s color palette is another element that gives your business a consistent look and feel. Most brands choose four or fewer main colors that don’t stray too far from the hues of their logo. As you can see with Heineken’s color palette, they picked one light color for backgrounds, a darker color for text, a neutral hue, and one that gives design elements a bit of pop.

How to create a brand book

Source: 99designs

And just as it is with your logo, you need to outline how and when each color should be used (Which ones are for text and design elements? Which are for the logo, and which are for backgrounds?). Mayven also points out that you should define the following:

Typography

Similarly, there should be a defined font style for both print & digital applications. In your brand book, typography should cover how and when certain fonts are used, which typefaces are acceptable, as well as guidelines for additional styling, size, and use of color.

As pointed out by Mayven, most brands use one or two primary typefaces, a complementary typeface, and substitute typefaces.

Tone of voice

As with all the other elements on this list, your tone of voice needs to be consistent across all communication channels—email, social media, press releases, blog posts, ads, etc. Your voice should be aligned with your brand’s persona, mission, vision, values and target audience.

How to make a brand book

Source: 99designs

You can start by identifying words you like and don’t like to be associated with. Then, decide what type of language fits your brand persona and your target audience. Go back to your list of adjectives describing your brand personality to come up with language that is on-brand.

How to create a brand book

Source: Design Shack

Imagery

Apart from indicating whether you’ll be using photos, illustrations and other types of graphics (as well as when and how you’ll be using them), your brand book should also detail how images will be edited, which colors to place them with, and any other design elements related to image use.

Collect inspiration from successful brands, particularly those that have similar brand messaging as yours. You can also create a mood board with images that convey the feelings you want people to get when they interact with your brand.

Key takeaway

A thoughtfully crafted brand book will bring your business consistency, alignment and cohesion. To avoid confusion, your brand book needs to be detailed, covering all possible bases to ensure everyone’s on the same page. It will give every employee in the company a concrete framework to work with, while still giving them the freedom to do what they do best.

What is brand authenticity? Well, generally speaking, it’s when brands act, illustrate and feel (or be) genuine to their customers. 

The byproduct of brand authenticity is more important than brand authenticity itself — i.e., brand loyalty. Brand loyalty is the emotional affirmation of your brand’s authenticity. And brand loyalty is what drives your revenue. 

But brand loyalty requires hard work and patience. And it involves understanding your customers’ core values and delivering on them. 

So, what makes a brand authentic? 

Brands that do all three are brands that customers prefer and trust. How can you adopt these qualities and make your brand more authentic? 

We gotcha!

TIP 1: Be reliable – Quality over quantity, and keep your promises

Seems like a no-brainer, right? Unfortunately, there’s an authenticity deficit in the global marketplace today. Not all brands keep the promises they make, not all communicate honestly, and not enough place the customer’s interests above their own. 

Take any variety of tech companies for instance (with admittedly the exception of large-scale corporations like Google, Facebook and so forth… kindly ignore those!) PayPal comms SVP Franz Paasche said: “Tech brands combine the excitement of innovation with [making] the everyday living of life easier, and that gives you a trusted role in people’s lives.”

For example, even when Microsoft felt customers brand loyalty wane after the launch of its disastrous Vista operating system, they hit the ground running to find out why it let their customers down and focused its efforts on trying to right the wrong.

Kathleen Hall, advertising and marketing VP of Microsoft, said: “We went back to our consumers and did a global study, visualizing what the brand meant to them. There was consistency worldwide: Microsoft means opportunity, access and connection, a combination of strength and possibility.”

Ten years later, the company is still enjoying the fruits of that study. The idea is to take stock of what people need and expect from you, then deliver on your promises. What you do on the ground can sometimes speak more than your marketing dollars ever could.

TIP 2: Be respectful — Customer-centricity is key to revenue growth

By far, the most important aspect of a brand’s authenticity is its customer-centricity.

It’s crucial to treat your customers as the most pivotal part of your business. You don’t need a major PR push to show the world how much you care, instead what you need are genuine efforts to deliver the basics and help your customers.

Take the Patagonia brand as an example. The company mission statement is to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” To that end, the company has many checks in place to ensure it hits on that mission statement. Such as:

Now, that’s just the beginning. To see for yourself, check out Patagonia’s core value page!

TIP 3: Be real – Personalize customer communications

Authenticity doesn’t come from the product or service you sell, but from how, why and where you sell it. 

Winning brands take great pains to communicate with customers in ways that feel personal. They see themselves as a productive part of the customer’s life, and each marketing message is personalized for them. They nail practices like cross-cultural marketing, localization, creating dedicated websites for different countries, and identifying as a local brand despite being a global brand.

By being real, you inevitably build trust and rapport with your customers. And to establish that trust, you need to be honest in your words and actions. Michael Boychuk, the former executive creative director of Amazon, said: “You can say whatever you want, however, you want to say it, but if you’re not interacting with people authentically, advertising is nothing.”

Be really reliable, respectful — and really real

Be reliable, be respectful and be real. That’s what gets customers to trust you and perceive you as an authentic brand. Revenue and profits are a byproduct of customer-centricity. Always remember that a good brand serves the customer. If you can take these ideas to heart, you’ll build better brand authenticity than millions of marketing dollars ever could.

Want to know more about the power of a strong brand? Download our free 32-page report, chock full of stats & great insights.

“We need a logo” is a loaded request that designers and creative agencies hear from their clients. High expectations are always involved—that’s a fact. Every client wants a remarkable logo for their brand, and they’re counting on you to create it.

How do you deliver an innovative, impactful design on demand? If you’re running low on creativity, we’re here to fill in for your muse as she turns a blind eye to your deadline. Load up on logo design inspiration from the guidelines and examples below to get those juices flowing again.

Logo design examples for your inspiration

Consulting Logos

Consulting logo idea #1: Accenture

Accenture is one of the biggest management consulting firms. The company offers strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations services. Their revenue was around $40 billion in 2018, so we could definitely learn some design lessons from them.

Accenture - consulting logo design ideas

Consulting logo idea #2: Capgemini

Capgemini is another consulting giant that can teach us a valuable design lesson.

Capgemini - consulting logo design ideas

The key lesson here is that you can build a financial empire… even if your logo isn’t closely related to the services you’re selling.

The Ace of Spades has been present in their logo since its inception, but it has little to do with their business. In fact, it refers to bridge—a card game that the founder of the company, Serge Kampf, enjoys. In bridge, the Ace of Spades is the highest-value card.

Consulting logo idea #3: DLA Piper

If you’re offering legal consulting services, here’s what you can learn from one of the biggest global law firms. (How big? DLA Piper has lawyers in more than 40 countries and over $2 billion in revenue—that’s how big.)

DLA Piper - consulting logo design ideas

The open-ended shapes represent out-of-the-box thinking. Something you might actually want from a lawyer, right?

If you look at it from a different angle, the logo seems like a talking bubble, which shows they value the art of communication… or that they’re friendly. You decide.

Lucidpress: Click the image to use the template

Use one of our consulting logo templates as inspiration for your own logo. Switch out colors, fonts and texts to create your logo in seconds.

Browse all logo templates

consulting logo
in depth consulting
Del Mar Consulting

Real estate logos

1. Smith Mountain Homes

First up is this beautiful logo from Smith Mountain Homes.

Best real estate logos

2. Cabo Cribs

If you’re looking to buy property in Cabo, I’ll bet Cabo Cribs’ logo catches your attention.

Best real estate logo designs

3. Williams & Williams

If you’re in the market for a luxury property, you’ll love Williams & Williams’ logo.

Best real estate logo ideas

Lucidpress: Click the image to use the template

Use one of our real estate logo templates as inspiration for your own logo. Switch out colors, fonts and texts to create your logo in seconds.

Browse all logo templates

sunset realty logo
happy home logo
For Sale Logo

Health and fitness logos

1. Heavy Mettle Fitness

When you have too many ideas, just stick to the basics, even if it’s cliché.

Fitness logo samples

Source: GLDesigns

2. Peachy

What’s that number-one thing your audience wants? Point it out, and people will remember you as that gym or that fitness instructor or that nutritionist who can help them get it.

Fitness logo design ideas

Source: 99designs

3. Necessary Payne

If your ideal audience is into hardcore training, a logo like the one below could be a great strategic move.

Fitness logo design inspiration

Source: Design your way

Lucidpress: Click the image to use the template

Use one of our health and fitness logo templates as inspiration for your own logo. Switch out colors, fonts and texts to create your logo in seconds.

Browse all logo templates

Fitness Logo
Fitness logo samples
Gym Logo

Striking use of color

Powerful colors make a logo vibrant and eye-catching. In recent years, logo design trends favored simple and spirited colors that appeal to new generations of customers.

Best logo design examples

It’s interesting to see the process behind this logo and Volusion’s brand identity design.

Best logo design examples

TeleMadrid’s rebranding is another example of a colorful and adaptable logo design.

Best logo design examples

And Duolingo’s 2019 logo update builds on their playful and energetic brand.

Memorable use of layout

Another way to make your logo unforgettable is to surprise people with an unexpected layout.

Best logo design ideas

This example from Bajo Protección invites a second look with its 3D effect.

Best logo design ideas

The Dutch National Opera & Ballet logo has us peeking from the balcony.

Best logo design ideas

And Moonpig champions creativity by updating their logo to match their surreal name.

Beautiful use of typography

Fonts are another excellent source of inspiration.

Typography can help you balance simplicity and intricacy in logo design. It’s also an essential element for your brand creation process.

Best logo design inspiration

Typography was just what Tom Sands needed to make this logo a timeless presence on their acoustic guitars.

Best logo design inspiration

Typography can also create a sense of motion, as it does in this example.

Best logo design inspiration

And sometimes, like in the case of UK-based creative agency Dry, fonts are all you need to capture your brand spirit.

Clever use of symbols

The symbols you include in your logo give people a glimpse into the brand’s spirit and generate emotional connectivity.

Best logo designs

This redesign concept uses the nave ship, a historical symbol of Paris.

Best logo designs

Airbnb logo redesign is a great example of mixing various symbols into a memorable logo.

Best logo designs

Chairish provides an honest and straightforward testimony of their dedication to their craft.

Creative use of patterns

You can incorporate different patterns into logos while still maintaining brand consistency—and these examples are proof.

Best logo ideas

The redesign of Melbourne’s logo provides a playful space for patterns and placements.

Best logo ideas

The German Historical Museum’s logo uses juxtaposed shapes that can fit well in intricate contexts.

Best logo ideas

In this example, patterns and negative space convey a message of unity.

Surprising use of negative space

“In the end, creativity isn’t just the things we choose to put in, it’s the things we choose to leave out.”

Austin Kleon

In this quote from his book Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, author Austin Kleon captures the inspiration negative space can unleash.

Logo design ideas & inspiration

The Swan & Mallard logo challenges you to find the intertwined characters.

Logo design ideas & inspiration

Whether you’re into cats or bears, you can’t help but spot the figures that hide behind this typeface.

Logo design ideas & inspiration

This Flight Finder logo creates a sense of motion and pleases the eye with its symmetry.

Surprising use of animation

We live in the golden age of GIFs, and their cultural impact now influences logo design ideas as well. These examples show how you can add animation to a professional logo.

Logo design inspiration & ideas

PetCloud’s logo has adorable spelled all over it, wouldn’t you agree?

Logo design inspiration & ideas

I bet the designer behind this logo knew his clients would be over the moon with its design.

Logo design inspiration & ideas

And this creative used animation to deliver his logo design with a bang!

Before you go, remember this

As a designer, you know coming up with cool logo ideas is a complex process. What helps is to lead with a deep understanding of your client’s business and brand values.

It’s equally useful to draw inspiration from diverse sources and experiment with your ideas until you find the right fit. Play with colors, layout, typography & symbols to design the creative, custom logo your client expects.

Once you have it, use the logo to build branding that’s consistent across all channels. Give customers a familiar and reliable presence to count on and build meaning with.

Use this 5-step process to design creative logos

Unfortunately, a clear creative brief for logo makers is a rare occurrence. That’s why designers and agencies explore, select and clarify ideas before proposing anything.

Here’s a secret experienced creatives know: Sometimes you can reach your best ideas by using a systematic approach.

Whether you’re building a brand from scratch or planning a thorough rebranding, this 5-step process can help you come up with cool logo ideas.

1. Understand the customer’s business

The logo is central to a brand’s identity. In fact, the best of them are deeply rooted in the company’s mission. If you’re lucky, your customer has their mission clearly articulated. If not, roll up your sleeves and focus on research.

First, observe and analyze how their customers talk about them.

Explore:

Logo design ideas & inspiration

Source: TrustPilot

For brand new businesses, you can look for similar details in their competitors’ activity to give you a starting point.

2. Map out the brand’s values

The best branding relies on a deep understanding of what people want when they buy something. Tweet this

A custom logo that builds differentiation has to speak to customers’ psychological needs. A powerful design triggers a reaction and influences the choices consumers make when they see it.

Define what the business stands for to ensure your logo design speaks to the brand’s values.

For example, Patagonia strives to “build the best product.” They aim to “use business to protect nature” and do so in a way that’s “not bound by convention.”

Buffer commits to “default to transparency,” “cultivate positivity” and “improve consistently,” among other values.

Logo design ideas & inspiration

Source: Buffer

Using your customer’s brand values to guide your logo design can be incredibly inspiring.

3. Choose a series of adjectives

Now that you know what the business is all about, you use this information to pin down specifics. Make a list of adjectives that capture the brand personality.

For example, when you think of Patagonia, words like humble, altruistic & adventurous may come to mind. Buffer inspires words such as helpful, calm & dependable.

Examples of adjectives you could use:

  1. Bold
  2. Serious
  3. Rational
  4. Imaginative
  5. Idealistic
  6. Generous
  7. Clever
  8. Humorous
  9. Whimsical
  10. Luxurious
  11. Glamorous
  12. Rugged
  13. Brave
  14. Rebellious
  15. Cooperative
  16. Edgy
  17. Gentle
  18. Playful
  19. Old-fashioned
  20. Youthful

Want to go the extra mile? Analyze the vocabulary customers use when they talk about your client and dig up adjectives from it.

Single out associations that point to what makes the company different. Narrow your list down to 3. Now you have the emotional substance that fuels your logo.

4. Collect inspiring ideas

Logo design ideas often come from unexpected sources. Take it from people who faced the same challenges as you do now:

“I use weird sources for inspiration. I look at forms in nature and try to reduce them to basic shapes. I’m always trying to invoke a sense of humanity to a logo.”

Josh Baron, Media Art Director at Sparxoo

Multiply the opportunities for creative inspiration to kick in and increase the chances to get that grand idea. Look for compelling symbols, icons and patterns.

Check out fresh photography from sites that offer free stock images. Peruse design websites like Dribbble, Behance, Designspiration & Dunked.

Even better, browse countless logo examples on Logoed, Logospire, Logo Gallery, Brand New, Logo Moose & Logo Design Love.

Collect fonts & color options to create a mood board. This collage of elements helps define your concept at this stage. Include notes to explain your thought process so you can give your client a consistent overview of your creative direction.

Logo design inspiration & ideas

Source: Dribbble

Ask for feedback at this stage. Get input from your client to save you time and energy down the road. For example, knowing which elements your client notices can help you come up with better, more relevant logo design proposals.

Feedback in hand, it’s time to create the best logo you can.

5. Choose & validate the best ideas

Fast forward through dozens of iterations to logo_v27_final_FINAL.indd.

You’ve received feedback, integrated it and designed (what you assume will be) the final version.

Logo design inspiration & ideas

Source: Tubik Studio

Your moment of glory awaits, and so does your deadline.

Use this time constraint to strengthen your creative process. Stop before you get caught up in a never-ending cycle of “I know I can do better.”

Instead, focus on shaping a logo that can outlive design trends. Give people a chance to build meaning into your logo over time. Tweet this

Here’s what experienced creatives recommend:

“All logos should be four things: simple, memorable, timeless and flexible.”

Cory Schearer, Creative Director at Ferebee Lane

Keep in mind adaptability when you design your client’s logo. Your creation will be used in print, in emails, on social media, on websites and digital advertisements.

Wherever it may be featured, the logo’s role is to get an emotional reaction.

Ready to design your logo? Give us a try.

There’s more to crafting a memorable brand than putting together a quick logo and color palette. Instead of calling it a day there, successful brands take the time to design a well rounded brand identity – one that combines a strong purpose with intentional visual and written elements. 

Here, you’ll learn the seven key elements of brand identity design, and how they work together to build a consistent brand your audience will love. 

New to the branding game? Let’s go over some important context.

What is brand identity?

A brand is the sum of how a person, product, or business is viewed by its audience and/or customers. 

Brand identity is how a business wants to be viewed. 

These two ideas often go hand in hand, but can sometimes be at odds, depending on how well a brand is able to cultivate and maintain their brand identity. 

If we zoom in a bit, brand identity design includes everything from logos, and typography to colors, packaging, and messaging. Ultimately, the goal here is to create an ecosystem of visual and written elements that complement and reinforce your brand’s ‘why’. Once established, your brand identity can both attract new customers and help your current customers feel at home.

That’s why It’s vital that your brand identity stays consistent. Because they represent and reinforce your brand’s purpose, your brand identity elements need to be clear and consistent wherever they might appear. 

Why is brand identity important?

If you were about to interview for a big new job, you wouldn’t show up in sweatpants. You’d want to present yourself as a well put together, competent, and approachable candidate. 


The same idea applies to your brand. Your brand identity is the face of your business, and you want to put your best face forward for your audience. 

Along with building credibility and trust, a strong and consistent brand design should also give people insight into what your brand is all about. For example, do you use bright, pastel colors to convey a cheerful, playful tone, or do you employ detailed line art in your logo to imply an artisanal level of quality? When you’re thinking about what you want your brand identity design to look like, consider what it will feel like as well. 

To give you a better idea of what we mean, take a look at these three brilliant examples of brand identity: 

3 examples of strong brand identity design

When you’re designing your own brand identity, there’s no need to start from scratch. Here are just a few examples of great brand identity design to get some inspiration from. 

And while it’s important to create something that’s uniquely your own, there’s nothing wrong with taking a note from some of the greats.

Hootsuite

If you look at a lot of tech brands today, you’ll notice that many tend to use similar no-fluff, utilitarian branding principles. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this, it can become hard to differentiate brands after a while. 

We like how Hootsuite’s redesigned logo injects some new color and personality into the social media marketing platform. It’s friendlier, more approachable, and most importantly, more human. 

Kodak

Sometimes, the best rebrands happen when you go back to your roots. In 2006, the company had already eliminated the big red “K” block in favor of a simpler wordmark, but then they decided to reverse the decision. Using a fresh sans-serif font, they were able to create a simple and fresh new take on their logo and typography. It just goes to show that sometimes the smallest of changes can have a big impact. 

We love how easy these guidelines make it to view the history of Kodak’s branding, along with the when/how/why to use each design.

Burt’s Bees

In a beauty industry full of incredibly bright, futuristic, or luxurious branding, Burt’s Bees stands out for its humble, down-to-earth aesthetic. With muted colors and thoughtful artwork depicting the brand’s founder, the brand calls back to its purpose – to honor the natural world by creating environmentally-conscious products.

How to build a successful brand identity

Now that we’ve taken a closer look at some great examples of brand identity design, let’s dive into the seven elements you’ll need to build a brand identity your audience will love.

1. Establish a clear purpose and position

The first part of establishing a brand identity is determining your purpose and goals. Brand purpose is the ‘why?’ behind everything you do. Why does my brand exist? Why is my product or service better than the competition? Why does our brand look/feel/communicate the way it does?

According to Arielle Jackson, startup founder, and Google veteran: “Your purpose is how you want to change the world for the better.” Jackson also recommends this diagram as a guide for determining your purpose:

Jackson explains the diagram like this: “In one circle, you have cultural tension. This is what is happening in the world that’s relevant to you. In the other circle is your brand’s best self. This is what your company delivers at its prime,” says Jackson. “The intersection of these two areas is… ‘the big ideal’ — or your purpose.”

For a great example of a succinct, tangible corporate purpose, check out this statement from Apple:

“Apple’s 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.”

Not too shabby, right?

You’ll also want to spend some time thinking about brand positioning, or the unique value that your brand brings your audience. Think of this as your brand’s ‘elevator pitch’. All the work done here will inform your strategy as you create a logo, decide on a color palette, etc. 

Zooming out, brand positioning is the process of making your purpose actionable. By naming your target customer and differentiating yourself from the competition, you’ll lay the groundwork for your brand to accomplish your purpose.

2. Conduct thorough market research

A brand’s purpose and positioning can (and should be) informed, at least in part, by market and customer research. Research is crucial to understand the “cultural tension” described in the previous section. For beginners to market research, there’s a wealth of content online to help get you started.

Oftentimes, one of the best ways to conduct market research is to simply talk to a lot of people. For example, phone interviews allow your teams to have detailed, human-driven discussions with your customers – something that could be helpful if you want to appeal emotionally to your audience.

Beyond phone interviews, online survey tools, like Survey Monkey, are a fast way to gather a lot of information. Don’t forget to look into available government resources too, like this helpful toolkit from the US Small Business Association.

Good market research can also help you determine your main customer personas, a term that is a slightly different concept than “target customers.” Your customer persona(s) go beyond just defining what problem a customer has and gets into the nitty gritty details behind your focus customers’ professional and personal traits. Defining these traits will help you know what kind of personality your brand should have to appeal to customers, which brings us to our next point.

3. Craft a loveable brand personality

“If your brand were a person, what would they be like?” It might be a bit cliché, but this is a smart way to think about brand personality.

If you get your brand’s personality right, it will shine through in every part of your brand identity. Brand personality greatly impacts the voice and tone used in your marketing materials and other communications. Why is this important? Your customers will get mixed messages if your brand’s personality isn’t well established, and they may have trouble connecting emotionally with your brand.

If you’re having a hard time getting started, here’s an exercise to try: Which celebrities or fictional characters best represent your brand? Is there an actor or actress, musician, or public personality that embodies the same traits as your brand? This could be a good starting point for nailing down different aspects of your brand’s personality.

Once you’ve pictured the kind of person your brand would be and listed off a few attributes they have, it’s helpful to think about how your brand will come to life through your voice and tone.

Here is how we defined Marq’s brand personality.

How did we do?

Your logo is central to your brand identity design. It’s the piece of your brand identity that most people will be exposed to. It needs to line up with all the other elements of your brand identity and the broader emotional appeal of your brand.

A few guidelines Marq CEO, Owen Fuller suggests on making a logo with an impact:

  1. Make it memorable. Are there unique elements/colors/etc that make it stand out?
  2. Make it simple. Can a 3rd grader draw it?
  3. Make it versatile. Can you apply it across multiple mediums and channels?
  4. Make it evocative. Does it make you something?
  5. Make it timeless. Will it work as your brand grows?

For example, we all know this logo:

Disney has built a brand that evokes nostalgia and magic. The playful script oozes creativity and fun, which tracks with the overall brand Disney has established over the decades.

A memorable brand is often the simplest brand. Take a look at the logos of the world’s top 3 brands (according to Kantar):

What do all three have in common? Intentionality in color, design, and simplicity. 

Speaking of simplicity, choosing a simple logo makes it easier to apply to different mediums. Whether you’re designing for a product, digital marketing, or print, actively designing with every channel in mind will ensure a successful logo development from the very start.

5. Choose an attractive color palette

Evocative and full of emotional potential, your brand colors are often just as memorable as the logo design. Consider looking into the dynamics of color theory when choosing the palette that best represents your brand.

A lot of color psychology is intuitive, like blue expressing calm and red and yellow expressing passion and energy. Depending on the tint or shade of a color you use, that emotion can be adjusted. A tint is a color mixed with white, making it lighter, and a shade is a color mixed with black, making it darker. A lighter tint of blue conveys tranquility, while a darker shade of blue often conveys trust, an effect that many banks use in their color schemes.

Be aware though that color connotations can differ wildly between cultures. For example, while yellow is often seen as a bright, happy color in the US, it is linked with mourning and death in places like Latin America and Egypt. If your brand plans to do business internationally, it’s important to double check that the colors you want to use don’t have any unintended meanings.

When it comes to creating a workable color palette, designers should select a set of primary and secondary colors to be used for specific purposes. Staying  consistent with this palette is key – the more you use it in the same way, the more you’ll be able to build brand equity over time.

A few more considerations on picking a great color scheme:

6. Pick the right typography

Stressing about finding just the right font may lead others to brand you as a “typography nerd,” but you’ll come out ahead when you pick a font that works in harmony with your logo and colors.

Fonts are powerful. The most famous fonts are recognizable even when taken out of context. You’ll want a single primary typeface to lead your brand design, which should work well with your logo and color palette. It should also, like your logo and color palette, be simple.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing brand fonts:

For example, here are several font pairings that work well together:

7. Leverage on-brand graphics and photography

The final step in creating a brand identity is to build an extended visual language with supporting graphics, design assets, iconography, and photographs.

Take a look at Google’s Visual Assets Guidelines to see how they carefully explain their take on icon design.

They cover a whole range of brand design considerations:

Because of Google’s close attention to their extended visual language, when you see a Google icon, you know it’s a Google icon.

Perusing other brand visual guides can help you get a better idea of what potential visual elements could work for your brand.

Maintaining a brand identity

Once you’ve got the perfect brand elements to work with, it’s time to secure your brand identity together with a comprehensive set of brand guidelines

Brand guidelines offer an easily accessible playbook to educate your teams on how, when, where, and why to use each of your brand identity elements. With these guidelines, anyone from your company should be able to put your brand to work in a consistent way.

Once you have these guidelines in place, using customizable templates can help save your team valuable time. Instead of creating every piece of marketing collateral from scratch, leveraging custom templates makes it easy to quickly create on-brand materials, even if you’re not a graphic designer.

Key Takeaways

While there’s always the possibility of redesigns and re-evaluation ahead, starting off with a strong, confident brand design and unified brand identity will add clarity and consistency to everything you do. Over time, your unique brand identity will be the one that pops into people’s heads when they have a problem you can solve. 

Ready to start building on brand? Sign up for free and explore our brand template library today.

Are you sitting at your desk waiting for that sweet, sweet logo inspiration to strike?

No matter whether you’re a consultant looking to brand your business or a designer looking for new ideas, this article will get you unstuck.

Below, you’ll discover different types of consulting logo ideas from some of the biggest consulting brands in the world.

Whether you’re looking for designs with hidden meanings or something more traditional, the examples below are bound to stir up some creative juices.

Before diving into our pool of inspiration, though, let’s see what makes a good consulting logo and what mistakes you should avoid.

3 golden rules to create a modern consulting logo that stands out

Make sure your logo doesn’t misrepresent your business

The color, the weight of your fonts, the spacing between the letters—everything stirs an emotion.

Why fonts matter

You have to make sure your logo conveys the right story, the right emotion and the right voice for your brand.

For instance, if you want to be perceived as an expert, you wouldn’t want an overly playful design.

Make sure your logo is clear and not too complicated

Yes, it’s true, your logo should tell a story. But, this doesn’t mean a person should figure it out in the blink of an eye.

Here’s what I mean. If you look carefully at Amazon’s logo, you’ll see an arrow pointing from A to Z. This is because they want to show people that they can find almost any product on their platform.

Amazon - consulting logo design ideas

This story now makes sense because I’ve just told it to you. It only took a few seconds, and a logo which was already effective before now seems even more so. It goes to show that you don’t need to overcomplicate your logo to tell a story.

Make sure your logo doesn’t look old or outdated

What would be your first impression if you saw a consulting logo like this? (Yes, we know Hot Wheels is not particularly known for its consulting prowess, but please bear with us for the sake of example.)

Hot Wheels - consulting logo design ideas

A vintage font combined with a childish design… If this actually were a consulting company, you’d probably think they don’t care about how they look—and maybe they don’t care about their customers either, right? Not great.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to update your logo every year just to keep up with the trends. You just have to make sure you’re not hanging on to outdated design elements that were only trendy 20 years ago.

And with that, let’s move on to our round-up of consulting logo ideas.

Consulting logo idea #1: Accenture

Accenture is one of the biggest management consulting firms. The company offers strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations services. Their revenue was around $40 billion in 2018, so we could definitely learn some design lessons from them.

Accenture - consulting logo design ideas

The sign for “greater than” is placed above the letter t to represent the future—a future where you’ve ascended and grown to be greater (>) than (t) you (u) are (re).

As you can see, your next consulting logo can be clean & simple and still have a deeper message to communicate.

Consulting logo idea #2: Capgemini

Capgemini is another consulting giant that can teach us a valuable design lesson.

Capgemini - consulting logo design ideas

The key lesson here is that you can build a financial empire… even if your logo isn’t closely related to the services you’re selling.

The Ace of Spades has been present in their logo since its inception, but it has little to do with their business. In fact, it refers to bridge—a card game that the founder of the company, Serge Kampf, enjoys. In bridge, the Ace of Spades is the highest-value card.

It’s simple, it’s sweet, and it works. The lesson? You don’t necessarily need to hire an expensive designer to create a custom logo that’s meaningful to your brand. There are plenty of free logo makers out there that can help you get started.

Consulting logo idea #3: DLA Piper

If you’re offering legal consulting services, here’s what you can learn from one of the biggest global law firms. (How big? DLA Piper has lawyers in more than 40 countries and over $2 billion in revenue—that’s how big.)

DLA Piper - consulting logo design ideas

The open-ended shapes represent out-of-the-box thinking. Something you might actually want from a lawyer, right?

If you look at it from a different angle, the logo seems like a talking bubble, which shows they value the art of communication… or that they’re friendly. You decide.

Do you see how the story starts to make sense after you receive more information? And how quickly this story can change, depending on the interpretation?

The point is this: If you’re just starting out and you’re not a giant corporation, don’t fret too much on pinpointing the right story behind your logo. You can refresh the design and infuse more meaning as your brand grows and develops.

Consulting logo idea #4: Deloitte

Deloitte’s revenue was over $40 billion in 2018, and they use one of the most basic design elements in their logo: a dot.

Deloitte - consulting logo design ideas

What could we possibly learn from this? Actually, it makes a great point. (Ha!)

Timeless shapes (like the point) and simplicity will never go out of style. You don’t need an overwhelming design that distracts people from getting your message.

Plus, a simple logo will be much easier to integrate in almost any sales collateral or marketing material you develop later.

If you need further proof, just study the logos of some of the biggest brands out there: Nike, Apple, Adidas, Dell, Intel, etc. Enough said.

Consulting logo idea #5: McKinsey & Company

McKinsey & Company is undoubtedly one of the biggest consulting firms you can study and look to for inspiration.

McKinsey - consulting logo design ideas

And it can teach you two important lessons.

The first is that you don’t need a fancy or even a creative logo to express professionalism or extensive experience within a field.

In fact, quite the opposite is true. If you study successful companies, you’ll see that most of them refined their logos into simpler, cleaner versions as they matured.

The second lesson here is that even your choice of font can tell a story.

At its core, McKinsey & Company uses a classic custom font because experience, heritage and legacy are what represent them best.

Consulting logo idea #6: L.E.K. Consulting

Want to make your consulting logo stand out while still maintaining a professional, bold look?

L.E.K. - consulting logo design ideas

Here’s a key takeaway from L.E.K. Consulting, a global company established in 1983.

Their logo stands out because of some basic design elements and principles like composition, contrast and negative space.

For instance, they draw attention to their logo by using the contrast between the negative space in the top-left corner and the logo in the bottom-right corner.

They also give a bold look to the whole design by leveraging one of the most basic elements—the rectangle—all in combination with a deep-colored background.

Consulting logo idea #7: KPMG

If you’re afraid that your consulting logo won’t be perfect right away, don’t fret.

KPMG proves that no design should be set in stone, even if it’s a logo. You can always change it, and there’s no tragedy in doing that. It doesn’t mean you have to lose sales or credibility.

For instance, here’s how many iterations their logo’s had throughout the years:

KPMG - consulting logo design ideas

Source: KPMG

As you can see, these weren’t minor changes—in fact, many were radical redesigns. Even its name changed each time the company got a new partner or the shares were redistributed.

Still, the company is one of the largest professional services companies in the world with over $28 billion in revenue for 2018.

Consulting logo idea #8: FedEx

FedEx isn’t a consulting company, but if you want your consulting logo to be more creative and have a hidden meaning, it’s a good example to follow.

If you look carefully, there’s a hidden arrow that communicates speed and accuracy to those in-the-know.

FedEx - consulting logo design ideas

Of course, now the question is, how do you come up with such clever ideas?

It’s simple. It all starts with your unique value proposition, the core message you want to communicate.

Find out that one thing, that most important thing that makes people want to do business with you. Then, incorporate it in your design.

Consulting logo idea #9: Sony Vaio

Sometimes, the hidden meaning in a logo can come from the product itself.

Here’s a clever logo idea from Sony Vaio. Even though it’s not a consulting company, it’s worth mentioning because they managed to create such a simple logo with a hidden meaning behind it. Take a look:

Vaio - consulting logo design ideas

Consulting logo idea #10: Eighty20

If you’re looking for creative consulting logo ideas, Eighty20 is probably one of the best examples you can use for inspiration.

Eighty20 is a business consulting company that uses big data to inform its market research, then they use these insights to help marketers and companies better sell their services.

Their brand is a combination of geeky and creative, and they express that well in their logo. How? Each of the horizontal lines represents a binary sequence. The blue squares represent 1s, and the grey squares represent 0s.

Eighty20 - consulting logo design ideas

In binary sequence, the top row is 1010000, while the bottom one is 0010100. If you transform these numbers from binary to decimal, it reads… you guessed it: 80 and 20. Pretty clever, right?

Before designing your next consulting logo, do this

There are thousands of logo design ideas out there. The problem is, the more you see, the harder it is to choose one.

Here’s a method professional designers use to come up with great ideas quickly (and easily decide on the right one).

First, stop looking for ideas. Then, define the core message you want to communicate.

Are you fast and precise? Do you offer a complete range of services? Do you have the most innovative solutions or the most comprehensive research? Are you affordable for SMBs, or do you only serve large enterprises?

Only after you define your core message should you start looking for inspiration. Don’t worry—we’ll be right here when you come back.

Ready to start exploring your new brand identity? Try creating a few logo variations in Lucidpress, using your brand colors.

Not sure how your next fitness logo should look and want a few examples to get your imagination’s wheels in motion?

Maybe you want to see some design ideas from well-known brands in the fitness industry. Or, perhaps you’re looking for creative logo ideas that stand out from the crowd.

No matter whether you’re a fitness consultant, own a gym or have any other fitness business, by the end of this article, you’ll have plenty of ideas to get you started.

But, first, let’s see what makes a good fitness logo and what mistakes you should avoid.

3 fundamental rules to create a fitness logo people will remember

1. Make sure your logo doesn’t communicate the wrong message

Every aspect of your future fitness logo will evoke an emotion, from the colors to the fonts and shapes you choose.

Fitness logo design

This is why you have to be careful about the first impression your visual identity makes.

For instance, a dark, sober color isn’t something you might want for a fitness logo if you’re also helping people keep a balanced, fresh and healthy diet.

2. Keep your logo simple and clean

Ideally, your logo should tell a story. Maybe the origins or the philosophy of your brand. Or, maybe just your unique selling proposition.

This doesn’t mean you have to overcrowd your logo with all kinds of elements in order for people to get your message. When you try to convey too much in a single logo, it comes overly complex and difficult to recognize and replicate.

Fitness logo examples

Imagine someone hands you a business card with a logo that looks like this:

Fitness logo ideas

What’s your first impression? Other than nostalgia, probably not a good one, right?

Of course, you don’t have to update your logo every time a new design trend comes along. Just make sure your logo doesn’t look like it’s stuck in the ’90s.

These are three critical aspects you should take into account when creating a logo. Now, let’s dive into our pool of fitness logo ideas and see what you can learn from each one of them.

Fitness logo design ideas for your inspiration

When you have too many ideas, just stick to the basics, even if it’s cliché

Sometimes we spend too much time brainstorming and browsing through thousands of logo ideas just to find that “perfect one.”

And, too often, the result is a complicated design that few will remember.

Fitness logo inspiration

When this is the case, it’s better to stick to something classic that anyone can recognize as a fitness business.

Plus, you have the advantage that most free logo makers have these elements in their gallery so you won’t have to customize your design too much.

Fitness logo samples

Source: GLDesigns

If you want to be compelling, point out something your audience wants

What’s that number-one thing your audience wants? Point it out, and people will remember you as that gym or that fitness instructor or that nutritionist who can help them get it.

Notice how, in a second, you know this fitness business can help you just by looking at their logo. Then, note how it brings us nicely to our next point…

Fitness logo design ideas

Source: 99designs

Make sure your fitness logo doesn’t drive away parts of your audience

Let’s say you’re a fitness trainer, and you chose the logo below to represent your business.

Fitness logo design inspiration

Source: Design your way

It’s great for people who are looking for hardcore training. But, there are lots of people who just want to stay in shape. Your logo might tell them that you’re not a good fit for them.

Of course, if your ideal audience is into hardcore training, this could be a great strategic move. What’s important is for you to think through these considerations before you make your final decision. For example, take a look at our next point.

Make sure your logo isn’t limiting future expansion of your fitness business

Let’s say that you start out as a yoga fitness trainer, but you plan to grow your business beyond the yoga niche.

Fitness logo examples

Unless you go through a complete rebranding, your logo will limit the growth of your business.

When you’re looking for design inspiration for your logo, make sure you also take into account any future plans. If you can spot them now, ahead of time, you’ll save yourself an expensive and time-consuming rebrand in the future.

Use a well-known symbol

Sometimes keeping a logo simple and clean can be most effective at showing what your brand is about.

Fitness logo samples

Source: Lucidpress

Incorporate a top benefit into a classic fitness logo design

In logo design, it’s efficient to incorporate an element that people can easily recognize, such as a gear or muscles if you’re in the fitness business.

But, these elements are also a bit overused, and you might want something more creative for your logo.

Well, why not incorporate additional benefits that your brand has to offer—such as good music, for example. Now people have two reasons to choose you over the competition instead of one.

Fitness logo samples

Source: Design your way

Apple’s logo has nothing to do with phones. Nike’s logo doesn’t represent shoes, clothes or sports gear. Subway doesn’t have a sandwich in their logo.

Your fitness logo doesn’t have to be related to muscles, fit bodies or any kind of elements related to sports. It could be something as simple as two shapes that convey motion.

Fitness logo inspiration

Source: Design your way

Use a color combination that stands out

Even if you don’t have a super creative logo layered with hidden meaning, you can still stand out from the crowd by using a powerful color combination.

Take Google, for example, or FedEx. Or, this fitness logo below.

Fitness logo ideas

Source: Logojoy

A highly detailed concept might look great on a large banner.

Fitness logo designs

Source: 99designs

But, how would this logo look on a small business card? Would it be as effective?

Fitness logo designs

Suddenly, all those details become so small that people can’t recognize them.

Before you finalize your logo design, make sure you test it in all the different scenarios you know you’re going to use it.

Let’s review a classic example for this one. FedEx uses negative space to hide an arrow that subliminally conveys speed and accuracy.

Fitness logo design ideas

Source: Pixellogo

You, too, can use different elements in a clever way to give your logo a double meaning. For instance, here’s a clever way to incorporate the infinity symbol as a yoga fitness instructor.

Best fitness logos

Source: BrandCrowd

Incorporate a sense of motion

As a species, we seem wired to detect motion, thanks to our neural underpinnings.

And since motion is a key aspect of your business, why not include it in your fitness logo? A dynamic design attracts attention and motivates people to get more active.

Best fitness logo designs

Source: Design your way

Before you create your next fitness logo, do this

If you want your next logo to be something creative or to have a special meaning, you first have to understand your brand’s identity. What is the most important message you want your business to communicate?

Only after you answer this crucial question can you start looking for ideas for your next fitness logo. Otherwise, you might find some good inspiration, but it won’t represent your business. So, take your time and do your research—then try out a few ideas.

Ready to start exploring your new brand identity? Try creating a few logo variations in Lucidpress, using your brand colors.

You likely already know that a logo is an important part of any business’s branding. Not only does it make your modern real estate company stand out from the competition, but a solid logo can attract and win over new customers. That’s what we’re always aiming for, right?

But, it’s tricky to design a custom logo for your real estate firm. You’ll need to think about the colors, fonts and shapes you’re using—not to mention arranging each individual element to create an impressive design.

So, we collected eight of the best real estate logos to help inspire your own.

The logo you’re creating for your real estate agency is one of the first things you’ll need to nail. But before we share some of our favorite modern real estate logos, let’s chat about what makes a logo so great.

A strong logo usually is:

Yet above all, the logo you’re creating for your real estate company needs to be on-brand. There’s no use in having a bright and colorful logo if your website, social media channels and letterheads are black and white.

Your audience won’t understand it, and you won’t see the 23% average revenue increase that businesses with consistent branding experience.

(Remember, that’s the aim of a logo: to make your business stand out.)

8 awesome real estate logos to inspire your own

You don’t have to start from scratch when you’re creating your own real estate logo. Take a look at these examples, pick out the ideas or concepts you like, and find a way to work them into your custom logo.

However, we’re coming at you with a word of warning: Please don’t directly copy these logo examples. The best logos are unique, innovative and stand out from the crowd, so take these ideas and try to put your own spin on them.

1. Smith Mountain Homes

First up is this beautiful logo from Smith Mountain Homes.

You can quickly understand the type of homes they sell, right? And it’s not just because the word “mountain” features in the brand name; they’ve used graphics to signal the type of property they sell.

Granted, the design and font choices are simple—but that’s often the best way to create a memorable logo.

Best real estate logos

2. Cabo Cribs

If you’re looking to buy property in Cabo, I’ll bet Cabo Cribs’ logo catches your attention.

Similar to the real estate logo above, this design is simplistic, but it doesn’t scrimp on the essentials of a good logo. It’s easy to understand, elegant, and has a small graphic that makes it obvious they’re selling homes.

Best real estate logo designs

3. Williams & Williams

If you’re in the market for a luxury property, you’ll love Williams & Williams’ logo.

Take one glance at this logo and tell me what you interpret. It’s gold-themed, has elegant writing, and shows palm trees with the properties they’re managing. It ticks one huge element of a great logo: It’s perfectly on-brand for their commercial real estate company.

Best real estate logo ideas

4. Compass

Who said a logo had to contain words?

Think of the world’s most recognizable logos. McDonald’s, Nike or Adidas will likely make their way onto that list—and none of them have a brand name in their logo.

Real estate firm Compass looks like they’ve drawn inspiration from those huge brands with their word-free logo. Although you can’t clearly see they’re selling properties, it’s a great way to make their audience stop and pay attention. After all, what are realtors for if not providing their clients with valuable guidance and direction?

Real estate logo inspiration

5. Blue Key Property Management

I’ve included this logo concept for Blue Key Property Management here purely because it’s so simple, yet so effective.

You might’ve seen by now that many real estate logos contain property-related graphics. But instead of taking the standard route of a house, this firm opted to use keys—a factor that helps them stand out from the competition.

Real estate logo design

6. Delicious Real Estate

A simple—yet effective—way to build your real estate logo is to think about your buyer personas and their pain points. What are they looking for when they’re purchasing or renting a home from your firm?

It seems like Delicious Real Estate think it’s a reasonably-sized home. That’s why they’ve portrayed the situation their customers are usually stuck in through their logo.

Real estate logo examples

7. Crown Real Estate

Remember how we mentioned real estate logos should be simple and easy to understand? Take a look at Crown Real Estate’s logo, which does exactly that while using simplistic fonts, a black-and-white color scheme, and a basic crown icon to match their brand name.

Crown Real Estate

8. Live Dubai

The final logo on our list comes from Live Dubai.

Much like the other real estate logos we’ve listed, this one is simple. But, what we really love about this design is the way lettering is used to create an interesting logo that’s totally unique to their brand name.

This gives them two options: use the graphic & text together as their logo or crop the image just to use the lettered graphic.

Real estate logo ideas

Feeling inspired and ready to start designing a new logo for your real estate company?

You don’t have to hire an expensive graphic designer to create a custom logo design. There are thousands of templates you can customize, making a DIY logo the best way to create a professional brand for your real estate business—even if you’re on a tight budget.

However, if you do have some cash to splash on a fancy real estate agency logo, hiring a graphic designer is a great way to make sure your logo is unique. …Just make sure they’re sticking with your brand guidelines.

Key takeaways

As you can see, there are tons of incredible real estate logos that can inspire your own.

Remember, the most effective logos are unique, bold and easy to understand. And while each real estate logo design we’ve listed here ticks those boxes, you’ll need to add your own spin to each design when you’re creating your own.

Ready to start exploring your new brand identity? Try creating a few logo variations in Lucidpress, using your brand colors.

Color is a big part of our world.

The colors we surround ourselves with can impact our mood, change our energy levels, invoke memories, and even influence our decisions. As you can imagine, color is a powerful player in people’s perceptions of your brand as well.

A blog post on Elle & Co. says 60% of people decide whether they’re attracted to a message based on the color alone — and color reinforces brand recognition by up to 80%.

Point is, color makes a big impact on customers.

This is why Google has reportedly tested 41 different shades of blue in its logo to see which blue performed best. The winning color, according to dozens of charts and graphs, was not too green and not too red.

“It’s interesting to see how you can change the way that people respond to the Web in ways that are not intuitive,” Google executive Marissa Meyer explained.

Color branding is about your customers

Many brands have a signature color (or colors) that makes them easily recognizable.

In many cases, it would be odd to see their logo in a different color. Can you imagine McDonald’s golden arches in a bright purple instead? What if Starbucks’ logo wasn’t green & white, Pepsi’s logo wasn’t blue & red, and Target’s wasn’t red all around?

When we see that bubblegum-pink writing, we know it’s Barbie — and when we see the tiny blue f, we know it’s Facebook.

But, it’s not just the logo. As an article on SpellBrand suggests, there are many ways to incorporate color into your branding:

According to Aprimo, marketing activities should focus on customers to create positive experiences each time they interact with your brand. Color will be part of those interactions, so deciding which color to use often comes down to who your customers are.

Emma Foley, design lead at Clique Studios, says, “As much as you might want them to, everyone is not going to be your audience. So, if you focus in and build a strong community of people you want to talk to, you can do a lot with using color as the first interaction with those people.”

For example, color has the power to make your website stand out among similar websites.

“One of your website visitors might think, ‘They are using this hot pink in a world of traditional blue and that’s really interesting. I want to learn more about this company’,” Emma explains.

She says there are really two schools of thought about how companies should manage color: 1) this is our brand color so we have to use it or 2) play around with colors because the rest of the brand is strong.

Before deciding which color makes sense for your brand, it’s important to take a step back and think about what colors mean.

What is color psychology?

Simply put, color psychology is the study of colors and their impact on human behavior. Sometimes color can influence unexpected things like our sense of taste. According to Neil Patel, “Color is 85% of the reason you purchased a specific product.” Sounds like good enough reason to implement a couple color psychology tricks into your own branding efforts.

However, keep in mind that our feelings about certain colors are personal and depend on both life experience and culture. For example, while the color white is used in the Western world to represent purity & innocence, in Eastern countries white is a symbol of death & mourning.

Types of colors and their impact on human behavior

The color wheel features two types of colors: warm tones & cool tones. Warm colors include red, orange & yellow and are associated with energy, passion & creativity. These tones are great for adding life to your designs. Cold colors include green, purple & blue and have a calming, soothing effect on people. (This is why you never see flashy colors in hospitals and waiting rooms.)

There’s another type of color which isn’t represented on the traditional color wheel: neutral tones. Neutral tones include white, grey & brown. In design, these colors are mostly used for backgrounds. To make those colors stand out more, you can add texture to your artwork.

Color psychology in branding

The concept of branding is based on the belief that colors (and other design choices) can evoke specific reactions & feelings. Despite the ubiquitous use of color in marketing, there’s not enough research to back up every assumption. However, over the years, marketers & designers have identified patterns that appear to influence customers’ purchase decisions.

If chosen correctly, your color palette can influence how customers feel about your brand.

Red

Red color branding

Source: Unsplash

The color red is associated with intensity, emotion, and a sense of urgency. It can invoke feelings of active energy, passion, trust, love, intensity, aggression, excitement and appetite.

McDonald’s uses red to provoke the appetite and a feeling of urgency. (Good move for a fast-food chain.)

Red logos

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Brands that use red: McDonald’s, Audi, Coca-Cola, CNN, Lego, Canon, KFC, TLC, ESPN, Target, Levi’s, Virgin and Netflix.

Blue

Blue color branding

Source: Unsplash

While there are many shades of blue that mean different things, blue is generally associated with depth and stability. It’s associated with conservative judgment, confidence, truth, order and understanding.

Invoking feelings of peacefulness & reliability, blue is the favorite color of tech & finance companies. For example, look at Facebook and Twitter. Those two companies use different shades of blue to portray trustworthiness & authority.

Blue logos

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Brands that use blue: United Airlines, Chase Bank, Dell, Ford, General Electric, Twitter, Oreo, Lowe’s, AT&T and Samsung.

Yellow

Yellow color branding

Source: Unsplash

Yellow is a bright & vivid color associated with positive energy, sunshine and freshness. It can make people feel alive, energetic, cheerful and optimistic. In branding, yellow tends to grab attention as a very bright color that stands out. Snapchat uses yellow to appeal to younger generations and make their experience light & fun.

Yellow logos

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Brands that use yellow: Subway, Shell, Post-it, Lay’s, Denny’s, Hertz and Snapchat.

Beige & ivory

Beige color branding

Source: Unsplash

While it’s not used too often, beige and ivory can invoke a feeling of simplicity, calm and pleasant stability.

Tilemark is a great example of a brand that uses beige & ivory.

Beige color branding

Source: Tilemark

Gray

Gray color branding

Source: Unsplash

Gray is associated with security, reliability, dignity, practicality, conservative judgment, calm and intelligence.

Gray logos

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Brands that use gray: Wikipedia, Swarovski, Lexus and Nissan.

Green

Green color branding

Source: Unsplash

The color green is associated with the harmony of nature, the environment and renewal. When looking at green, people often feel calm, relaxed, trusting, peaceful, hopeful and healthy.

Green is all about nature and is used by bio-friendly, organic and sustainable brands. If you want to portray your services as environmentally safe, green is your color of choice.

Green logos

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Brands that use green: Holiday Inn, Starbucks, Animal Planet, Spotify, Land Rover, John Deere, Tropicana, Tic Tac and Hulu.

Purple

Purple color branding

Source: Unsplash

Purple is symbolic of luxury, royalty, glamour, power, nostalgia, romance, introspection, nobility, spirituality and wisdom. It also stimulates creativity and problem-solving.

For centuries, purple has been the color of royalty. (Before the modern age, purple dyes and fabrics were both expensive and rare.) With its history, it’s not surprising that companies use purple to portray their brands as expensive & luxurious.

Purple logos

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Brands that use purple: Yahoo, Marketo, FedEx, Syfy, Taco Bell, Purplebricks, Purple, Hallmark and Wonka.

Orange

Orange color branding

Source: Unsplash

The color orange is associated with happiness, sunshine, citrus and the tropics. Orange is a playful color that makes people feel enthusiastic, creative and determined. It stimulates mental activity and supports energy, vibrancy and warmth.

Orange can be also associated with fire, combining the warmth of red with the happy brilliance of yellow. Orange tends to communicate energy & optimism. Usually, orange is associated with youth and creativity. If you want to look adventurous & competitive, orange is your color!

Orange logos

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Brands that use orange: The Home Depot, Nickelodeon, Firefox, Izze, Amazon, Fanta, Payless and Harley Davidson.

White

White color branding

Source: Unsplash

White symbolizes cleanliness, peace, innocence, youth, simplicity, purity and safety. As a reminder that colors mean different things in different cultures, it’s interesting to note that white carries connotations of death and mourning in many Asian cultures.

White logos

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Brands that use white: The North Face, Tesla and Vans.

Black

Black color branding

Source: Unsplash

Black symbolizes luxury and the mystery of the night. It’s bold, serious, powerful, elegant, wealthy, stylish and sophisticated.

Like red, black can convey both positive & negative emotions. It can invoke associations of power & minimalism, or on the other hand, it can portray something dangerous or gloomy. Depending on the context, its meaning can differ. In branding, however, black usually comes across as exclusive & luxurious.

Black logos

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Brands that use black: Chanel, Nike, Adidas, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Puma and Lamborghini.

Pink

Pink color branding

Source: Unsplash

Pink symbolizes love, romance, tenderness, caring, sweetness, warmth and youthful fun.

Pink logos

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Brands that use pink: Barbie, Baskin Robbins, T-Mobile, Lyft, LG and PINK.

Brown

Brown color branding

Source: Unsplash

Brown is associated with the earth, reliability, support, dependability, the outdoors, simplicity, endurance and support.

Brown logos

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Brands that use brown: UPS, Hershey’s, M&Ms, Gloria Jean’s Coffee and Cracker Barrel.

Key takeaway

While color has the power to affect people’s moods, choosing your brand colors shouldn’t be based on emotional response alone. As Emma Foley of Clinique says, “There’s so much more that goes into a brand than a logo and color.” Once you understand your brand’s customers and values, you can create a brand color palette that speaks to them.

Ready to start testing your new brand identity? Try creating a few logo variations in Lucidpress, using your brand colors.

Someone who cares.

When it comes down to life essentials, that’s all us humans need besides food, water, and shelter.

Our need for connection is wired into our brain because our own survival depends on it. As a result, we respond to and connect with other people who satisfy this fundamental need of ours.

There’s a big opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves not by being “the best” or “the first”, but the ones who care the most.

Is your company’s mission driven by the desire to help and support others?

If this your dominant characteristic, consider embracing the caregiver brand archetype. As the examples below reveal, there’s a lot you can achieve by growing into this narrative.

Does your brand fit the caregiver archetype?

As customers, we have an inevitable tendency to personify brands. This goes to show just how strong our need for emotional connection is.

If your brand personality already favors building relationships instead of coldly communicating product features, then you are already on track to become a caregiver.

Specifically, the characteristics of the caregiver archetype include:

Traditionally, these traits have been associated with NGOs, but there are several commercial brands that are true caregivers too.

In recent years, an increasing number of companies have grown based on these exact features. This strong foundation allowed them to develop a strong, recognizable brand with clarity and confidence.

The caregiver archetype examples below show exactly how they achieved this.

Truthful brand positioning has a ripple effect

We long for loving, secure relationships not only with people, but with other entities we interact. The more we depend on a company — for our water, safe travels or most sensitive data, the more we need to be able to trust it.

Organisations that embrace the caregiver archetype inspire trust due to their brand mission to help, protect, and care for others in ways they cannot do so themselves.

For example, Johnson & Johnson articulate mission clearly on their about page: “130 Years of Caring”.

Guide to the caregiver brand archetype

In 2018, Johnson’s Baby (no affiliation with J&J) launched a campaign called “Choose gentle” that states their commitment to a similar idea:

“We believe in the immense, transformative power of gentle. Gentle is something the world can’t ever have too much of. #ChooseGentle”

Guide to the caregiver brand archetype

P&G taps into similar values to articulate their mission:

“We will provide branded products and services of superior quality and value that improve the lives of the world’s consumers, now and for generations to come.”

Another brand from the same industry, Honest, tells their story along the same lines:

“Our story began with a simple desire: to make the right choices for our families. We were parents in search of safe options, but unsure of where to turn. We needed one brand that we could go to for trusted products and information. And when we couldn’t find what we were looking for — and realized we weren’t alone — the idea for Honest was born.”

As you can notice, brands that fit the caregiver archetype seek to inspire others to act on the same nurturing tendencies. They do so by acting on their brand values and operating from a posture of:

NGOs are the best equipped to harness the power of this brand archetype in a significant, impactful way.

Unicef’s USP — “For every child” — speaks to their dedication of working to improve the wellbeing of children around the world.

“We campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all” states Amnesty International, pointing to the bigger picture and inspiring others to join their pursuit.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has a similar position dedicated to selfless service:

“All Lives Have Equal Valuewe are impatient optimists working to reduce inequity”

For a caregiving brand, the core strategy is to do things for others. This can mean facilitating shared experiences or aligning people around common ideals. Also, this brand archetype excels at creating a feeling of belonging to something greater than oneself.

In this context, you can also achieve more clarity by assign a role for your brand to play in the market or in the community. You can be:

Developing your caregiver features can prove especially powerful for new brands seeking to build a recognizable personality. It can be equally helpful to companies trying to break out of their industry and reach a wider audience.

Being a constantly nurturing, supportive company creates a strong, consistent brand that customers are excited to endorse. That’s because these characteristics appeal to the universal values deeply embedded into our humanity.

Caregiver brands are good for everyone

When your company embodies the caregiver archetype, it:

To achieve these goals, pay attention to your brand voice. The caregiver is usually considerate, thoughtful, kind, positive, calm, and supportive. Can you identify these features in your communication?

Next, evaluate your visual identity. Do your color scheme, font choices, and layouts create experiences that reflect kindness and gentle understanding?

For example, Headspace — “Your guide to health and happiness” — breathes positivity into their users’ lives through their website, app, and all channels they use for communication.

Guide to the caregiver brand archetype
Guide to the caregiver brand archetype
Guide to the caregiver brand archetype

As you can see, their branding is remarkably consistent, albeit adapted to each channel’s specific communication style.

Another equally captivating example is Wistia, whose brand positioning empowers their customers to thrive: “Create, host, share, and measure your videos like the human you are. ?”.

Guide to the caregiver brand archetype
Guide to the caregiver brand archetype

Their branding is colorful but in a gentle, inviting way that combines feelings of calm and excitement in a way that feels healthy and balanced.

Wistia has also been recognized for their exceptional customer service which goes to strengthen their brand’s focus on helping others succeed.

Loyal followers will amplify your mission

Being a caregiver brand gives your customers a competitive advantage that’s associated with a powerful positive message.

Whether through shows kindness or empowering people to care for themselves, you will most likely attract people who value connection.

Those who have a lot of responsibility will naturally gravitate towards your brand as their tendency to look after other people is stronger.

If you make these customers feel loved, safe, taken care of, they will soon become thankful for your support. Nurturing that feeling of “we’re in this together” can lead to them becoming strong advocates for your mission who carry your message to their own circles of influence.

For example, The Salvation Army is top of mind for those who want to extend a helping hand to people across the world. When it comes to donations, they are also the first to come to mind.

Volvo launched in early 2019 the E.V.A. initiative which entailed sharing over 40 years of their own safety research so other car manufacturers can provide an equal level of safety for both men and women (who are at a disadvantage).

Guide to the caregiver brand archetype

To make it easier for your followers to share your call to action, make sure you provide them with up to date, eye-catching brand assets they can use on their own channels.

Visuals always work best, especially when you combine them with a clear and compelling message. AVAAZ does a great job at this:

Guide to the caregiver brand archetype

Ready to embrace the caregiver brand archetype and make the most of your resources to help others?

Start by unifying your communication around a clear set of values that will guide your strategy. Choose the role you want your brand to play in your community. Give it a voice, using words, visual assets, text and/or audio, and start attracting more loyal customers and supporters.

Strengthening your relationship with them puts you on a growth path that greatly benefits from the compound effect these acts of kindness have on everyone’s lives.

Is it time to update or refresh your brand’s identity? Learn more in our free ebook: How and why to rebrand your company

The main goal of your brand, as it is of any brand, is to make a profit and perhaps change some lives in the process.

But what if we said that every brand – whether intentional or not – has an underlying brand personality? And that this personality, sometimes referred to as a brand archetype, can actually be used to build deeper connections and drive more sales?

In this post, we’ll discuss the concept of brand archetypes. We’ll then highlight one archetype in particular – the magician.

Finally, we’ll show you how Lucidpress can help you to maintain a consistent brand personality across all of your campaigns and platforms. Let’s begin!

Why your brand archetype matters

The personality traits and characteristics of the magician archetype are well and good, but what does this matter to your brand?

It helps if you think of your brand as your company’s personality.

How do you want customers, potential customers, investors, and competitors to see you?

This is where the brand archetype comes in.

Humans like to connect with other humans. An archetype, then, helps your brand to appear more human. And this connection can lead to deeper, more fulfilling relationships.

Even further, this humanness can lead to more sales and higher profits.

The magician brand archetype

As the name suggests, the magician archetype is mysterious and somewhat elusive. They’re also incredibly persuasive and driven by the need to make positive change.

The magician archetype is far from the only one that exists, though. There are twelve brand archetypes in total. They are the:

1. Caregiver.

2. Creator.

3. Entertainer.

4. Explorer.

5. Girl/guy next door.

6. Hero.

7. Innocent.

8. Lover.

9. Magician.

10. Maverick.

11. Royalty.

12. Sage.

And while we’d love to dig deep into each one, we’ll be focusing on just one of these today: the magician.

A brand with the magician archetype is one that has lofty goals, but that also has the power and drive to attain those goals.

There are those who may say that the magician can even be a manipulator, but as with all things, balance is key.

Are you in need of brand inspiration? Let’s take a look at just three of popular brands with the magician archetype.

Example: Tesla

When you think of mystery and innovation, which brand comes to mind? For us, it’s Tesla.

Tesla is the American automotive and energy company owned by Elon Musk. Their goal? To change the world.

In fact, innovation and positive change seems to drive everything they do.

From mock-ups of their next vehicle model to their Instagram feed, Tesla is all about making an impact.

Example: Disney

When it comes to creating magical moments, who does it better than Disney?

Whether you’re watching their movies, cruising the seven seas on their liners, or strolling through their parks and chatting with your favorite characters come to life — Disney makes the impossible, possible.

Example: Red Bull

The owner of Red Bull doesn’t have plans to go to Mars (that we know of, anyway!), and they don’t own and operate the happiest place on Earth. But where Red Bull gets it right is in it’s lofty approach to brand marketing.

The brand’s slogan is simple, but explicit: “Red Bull gives you wings!”

In essence, they claim their drink is the magic potion that will help you to achieve your goals and even make a dream come true.

Which businesses would benefit from the archetype

You may have aggressive goals, and perhaps you even hope to change the world. But that’s not all it takes to become a standout brand that falls under the magician archetype.

Just as with the other archetypes, there are those that would benefit more from this angle. They include brands that:

That’s not to say that you can’t incorporate bits of the magician archetype into your overall brand strategy. But this is definitely not an archetype for the weak at heart!

How Lucidpress can help you to design your brand

A consistent brand design is crucial, but also difficult to achieve in reality.

That’s where Lucidpress can help.

Lucidpress is an online print and digital software program that helps you achieve your brand goals. How? Well, one way is with our brand management software.

As a brand templating platform, Lucidpress is a great way to help your marketing team stay on brand and generate the exact marketing content you need.

First and foremost, Lucidpress offers you one centralized location to store and manage all of your digital brand files. From anywhere in the world, your team members can access anything they need.

But Lucidpress is also a secure place to store your brand assets, including logos, fonts, and templates.

With Lucidpress, you don’t have to worry about finding the latest version of a logo on your computer, or uploading your brand-approved font for each digital design task. Just upload them once, and you’re all set!

And finally, Lucidpress enables you to design and distribute your branded content across numerous channels.

The drag-and-drop editor makes it easy to build brand templates, and you can then share with your team – or the world – with just a few clicks.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to bring your brand to life with the help of Lucidpress.

Your brand is one of your company’s most powerful assets. It encapsulates everything you want people to know about the business—what you value, what you stand for, and what you’re trying to do.

Which is why brand extension can be such a stressful process. Using the strength of your brand to enter a new market gives you a headstart that new companies can’t match.

Understanding how to extend your brand is crucial for engaging markets. Before you launch a new product or adopt a new strategy, you’ll need to think about a few things.

Before we get into those things, though, let’s agree on a brand extension definition.

What is brand extension?

Brand extension is the use of an existing brand name and logo on a new product. The original brand identity is called the parent brand, and the new products are called spin-offs. Companies use this strategy to capitalize on the brand equity of their existing brand to launch new products and enter new markets.

Let’s look at Apple. For 25 years, the company built personal computers. And they were good at it. That’s what they were known for—powerful, attractive computers that were easy to use.

And then they entered an entirely new industry: personal music devices. The iPod was an immediate and immense success. We’ll talk about how Apple pulled this off in a bit. First, let’s talk about why it was a good idea.

Why brand extension is so powerful

Apple had built a very strong brand over 25 years of making personal computers. Why would they risk diluting that brand by entering a new industry? The stakes are high, and the chance of failure keeps many business owners from even considering a big move like this one.

But Apple knew that building on their brand would be immeasurably valuable if they did it right.

Companies spend years and millions of dollars solidifying their brand. Marketing campaigns, social media interactions, advertising, public relations, and product development all contribute to a brand’s strength.

Why? Because consumers recognize and value brands. People are more likely to buy products from brands they know, whether they feel explicit brand loyalty or not.

This type of brand recognition means that the presence of a strong parent brand—like Apple—can significantly boost the sales of new products. Introducing a completely new product is hard. It’s much easier when that product is backed by a recognizable brand.

But sometimes his type of thinking can get companies into trouble.

Where brand extension goes wrong

Not every brand extension builds on a strong brand to create huge sales. Let’s look at an entertaining brand extension failure: Zippo Fragrances.

Zippo is a very strong brand in the world of cigarette lighters. Their name, design, and even the sound of the product is very distinctive. If you see a Zippo, you know it. Can you name another brand of non-disposable lighter? Probably not.

This is a strong brand. Zippo wanted to use their brand equity to enter a new field.

Why they picked perfumery is anyone’s guess.

The company actually used some good brand extension tactics. They kept the brand name and even used their distinctive lighter design for the perfume and cologne bottles.

But absolutely no one thinks of Zippo when they think of perfumery. Instead of seeing the brand and thinking, “I trust Zippo,” people think “Why would Zippo make a cologne?” That’s a failed brand extension.

Zippo missed a crucial ingredient of the brand extension recipe.

How to get it right

If you’re thinking about extending your brand, it’s worth looking at some recent successes. Look at Tesla’s expansion into trucking, for example. O, Oprah Winfrey’s magazine. Tootsie Pops. Virgin Airlines (and dozens of other Virgin-branded forays).

What do these brand extensions have in common? Above all, they play to the parent brand’s strengths. Tesla already knows how to build great vehicles. Oprah knows how to tell stories that capture the hearts and minds of her audience. Tootsie Roll knows how to make a candy that people love. Virgin knows customer service better than almost anyone.

Successful brand extension strategies place the new product as a logical extension of previous ones. That’s why Zippo perfume isn’t a household name. Everyone knows Zippo for their lighters. Their brand equity didn’t transfer to their beauty products.

Apple knew their brand equity would transfer to the iPod because their brand was already adjacent to the music device industry.

Be careful with brand extensions to reap their rewards

Brand extensions can be hugely valuable. But when used without enough forethought, they can also be disastrous.

It’s crucial to give any potential brand extension a great deal of thought. If you do decide to extend your brand, make sure to apply your branding consistently to take advantage of the loyalty that you’ve been building for years.

Don’t be like Zippo. Be like Apple.

How can brands stay competitive in today’s design-centric world? Explore the rise of the design democracy, then learn how your organization can ride it to the top.

Here’s a promise: by the end of this article you’ll know exactly what a brand promise is and you’ll have plenty of examples that will help you have your own in a matter of minutes.

And there’s something more.

Are you ever a bit confused about some of the marketing jargon out there?

Maybe you’re wondering:

I understand—everyone is using these terms with their own interpretation, right?

Fortunately, by the end of this article, everything will be clear. Promise.

Ready? Let’s dive right in!

What is a brand promise?

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say Las Vegas? Was it something related to gambling, poker, blackjack, casinos or nightlife?

What’s the first thing you think about when I say Volvo? Was it something related to safety?

What’s the first thought you have when I say Mercedes? Was it something about quality and luxury?

You see, a brand promise is your perception of how you feel about a brand.

A brand promise is not a tagline.

Do you know the tagline of Mercedes or Volvo?

Probably not, right? But you know what their promise is.

You know that they promise you a luxury car (Mercedes) or a safe car (Volvo).

And there’s one more important thing. You know that they can keep their promises.

But, this is starting to sound like a unique value proposition, right? You promise something that only you have, and people will remember you. Or… is it?

Let’s see.

A brand promise is not a unique value proposition (but it incorporates one).

A unique value proposition (or a unique selling point) basically says:

  1. What you do
  2. Who you serve (or sell to)
  3. How you solve your customer’s needs
  4. And how you’re different.

Here are a couple of examples:

For {target} who {statement of the need or opportunity}, {Name} is {product category} that {statement of benefit}.

For content marketing companies who always have tight deadlines, ContentBoost is the content creation software which helps teams produce long-form articles, blog posts and ebooks on high-speed because it lets you build on each other’s ideas.

We help X do Y doing Z

We help content creation teams write better and faster by dragging and dropping research into documents.

We do X, but the difference is {primary differentiator}

We help content teams put all their content together, but the difference is that writers are also able to pull from that database and add to a library of bite-sized research.

Is this enough to have a strong brand promise? Let’s do a quick imagination exercise.

You and I don’t know each other.

But let’s say we randomly meet at an event, and I tell you I recently started a company that creates the safest cars on the road ever — even better than Volvo.

Basically, let’s say I just tell you my unique value proposition. A simple statement that says what my company does for who and how we’re different.

Would you believe me? Probably not, right? You’ve just met me.

And if someone asked you half a year later what the top 3 safest car brands are, would you mention my company?

There’s probably 0 chance you have that instant association between my company and your safety. This is why a unique selling point is different than a brand promise.

So what is, in fact, a brand promise?

There are two kinds of brand promises: an implied one and an explicit one

For instance, an element of every airline company’s brand promise is that they will get you to your destination safely. You don’t have to promise that any more. It’s an obvious (implied) brand promise.

Let’s take another example.

A restaurant’s implied brand promise will be that they provide great food with great service. No one comes to a restaurant expecting an awful customer experience, right?

But, there are also other elements that are explicitly stated.

For instance, when FedEx first started out, they promised you that they “will get your package to you by 10:30 am the next day.”

This is a promise that 1) was different from what everyone else had, and 2) was also something people might not expect, so they stated it explicitly.

Here’s the most simple, short and down-to-earth brand promise definition:

A brand promise is what you instantly KNOW and FEEL about a brand.

But how do you create such a lasting brand purpose or promise? How do you get people to instantly associate your brand with a certain quality like safety, quality, luxury, or whatever you want?

How do you move people from being total strangers to trusting your brand?

You will see that a brand promise is, in fact, more like a process — and it’s part of the whole branding strategy and brand identity.

Let’s see what the essential elements you should take into consideration are if you want to create an effective brand purpose that people will remember.

1) Start with a promise that you would tell a friend

If you want people to remember something about your brand, it first must be clear for you what that something is.

And the way you do that is by actually telling it to a friend or an ideal customer.

Let’s do a short exercise that will help you create a first draft of your brand promise.

Imagine you’re drinking a coffee with your core customer. He is right in front of you, and he’s the best buyer in the world:

And now, he is just waiting for a reason to buy something from you.

What do you promise him in exchange for his hard-earned money?

It all boils down to this:

If you give me X amount of money I PROMISE I will give you _____ {this product / service} which will help you do / achieve / become _____ {introduce benefits} better than ____ {other services/products} because ____ {why you’re unique}.

Let’s say you’re the marketing manager or the CMO of an electronic e-commerce business.

Here’s an example of what your brand promise can be:

If you give me $1000, I promise I will give you this super-fast, octa-core laptop which will help you simultaneously work on however many engineering programs you want (without buffering or crashing).

What makes us unique is that we’re the only ones who use quantum computing, and we’re also the only ones who offer 10 years’ guarantee on every single product you buy from us.

You see, the brand promise isn’t a tagline. It isn’t “Just do it” or “Think different.” Because that’s not what you would say to a person face-to-face.

And this doesn’t have to be limited to a single product or service. It can be also adapted to a more general promise.

Let’s take the example above and apply it to the company level.

If you choose to do business with us, I promise you’ll never have to suffer from having a dysfunctional device, whether it’s a phone, laptop or any other electronic device.

This is because we’re the only ones who have developed special partnerships with all our suppliers, and we’re giving you not just a 10-year guarantee for almost any product you get from us, but free full service and support for the period your device isn’t functioning properly.

But is that all? This is the brand promise?

What if someone else comes along and says the same thing — or what if you don’t have something so unique to begin with?

What if, for instance, you want to create a brand promise for a restaurant, but you don’t have any special dishes?

This is how you start developing a more effective brand promise.

If you want people to remember it and instantly associate the quality you want — like great customer service, for instance — you also need the next elements.

2) Create a mental movie in people’s minds by making everything ultra-specific

One day, a friend of mine decided to do a little experiment:

He randomly called about 10 local pizza shops. He said something like: “Hello, I want to come to your place with 10 friends, but one of the guys insists on going to another restaurant. I need your help to convince him: why is your pizza better?”

Here are just some of the responses he got.

Response #1: (Annoyed) “Hmm… Not sure. It’s your call.”

That’s how not to make a promise…

Response #2: “We use high-quality ingredients.”

This sounds good, but what does quality mean? Plus, do you know anyone who says they don’t use high-quality materials, no matter what they’re selling?

You see, this is an implied brand promise. Quality, great customer service, great food, etc.

You don’t go to a restaurant and expect bad food, right?

So, there must be a better way to make a brand promise. Let’s look at another response my friend got.

(Full disclosure: the person who answered this time was actually the owner of the restaurant.)

Response #3“Oh, well, we use high-quality ingredients. For instance, our sauce and flour are made with true Italian ingredients.

Take the cheese, too. It’s not just cow-milk mozzarella. Instead, we use a buffalo-milk mozzarella.

And there’s also the sauce. Sir, we don’t use pre-prepared sauce. We use genuine San Marzano tomatoes right from Italy!

We’ve been handcrafting pizza for 5 generations. With every crispy bite you take, you taste 90 years of pizza-baking mastery!”

You see, the promise is really simple: You get tasty, Italian pizza with high-quality, authentic ingredients, and you can be sure it’s good because they’ve been perfecting it for generations.

See how it all changes when you actually put a picture in people’s heads about what those high-quality ingredients mean or what experience means?

Now, is this enough to earn a special place in people’s minds?

Well, it is a good start. But if you really want to get people to remember your brand promise, you need to apply element number three from our list.

3) Repeat it over and over again. Across all the channels.

By now, you’ve created the first draft of your brand promise.

You know what to promise if you’re face-to-face with your ideal client.

You also made it ultra-specific, and you can give people all the details on how you’re different and why they should choose you.

But, there are so many other brands that try to do the same. How do you get through the noise and get people to remember you?

Here is the simplest but most powerful thing you can do:

Repeat it as many times as you can. And keep it consistent across every communication channel you use.

Why is this so efficient?

Well, because each time you repeat your brand promise, you deliver it to people who might not have noticed it previously.

There’s more.

With each repetition of your core message, your audience gets more familiar with your brand, products & services, and company.

This leads to familiarity, to that feeling of acceptance.

Once people begin to accept your brand, and your promise, they also begin trusting you.

Ultimately, this opens the door to more sales with less resistance.

The bottom line is this: no matter how strong, unique or specific your brand promise might be, people won’t remember it unless you repeat it often.

How do you repeat a brand promise without annoying people? Here’s how.

4) Use the power of suggestion to make your brand promise memorable

How do you suggest to people what you want them to remember?

Metaphors, comparisons, analogies and stories are some of the most powerful persuasion techniques you can use. They’re like a backdoor to the human mind (see what I did here?), which make your ideas stick faster and longer than a rational explanation or affirmation.

By employing these little techniques, you can repeat your brand promise without annoying your audience.

For instance, here’s a visual metaphor used by Viagra when it began selling on Amazon.

Elements of an effective brand promise

As… bold as that was, you can still go a step further. Here’s a mind-blowing example.

Red Bull’s promise is that it gives you the energy to achieve whatever you want. It will help you do extraordinary stuff because it increases your performance, concentration, reaction speed, vigilance, etc. It empowers you to go beyond limits, right?

So, how could they express this better than a jump from the stratosphere?

During a 9-minute fall, Felix Baumgartner set records for both the height of the jump and the speed of descent (830 mph!).

Who gave wings to Felix? Red Bull — the event organizer and company that made all this possible.

The bottom line is this: let people get the moral of the story. This is how you build that instant association between a certain attribute and a brand.

5) Keep your promises. Even in the little details.

You know what they say: trust takes years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair.

It’s true for human relationships, and it’s true for brands, too.

You spend a lot of money to get people to finally believe in your promise, but if you don’t pay attention to the little details, it can all fall apart.

Here are some photos I’ve taken over the years that perfectly illustrate brand promise misalignments.

For instance, let’s say you’re boarding a plane and you see this:

Elements of an effective brand promise

The implied brand promise — that they will get you safely to your destination — is gone. In an instant.

It’s possible the plane was perfectly safe and the window wasn’t a threat to anyone’s safety, but the message communicated by this photo screams anything but.

Or, here’s a sign that I saw posted by the side of the road:

Elements of an effective brand promise

They might have a class “A” office, but they definitely get an F for design.

Based on this sign, would you truly believe they have an impressive office?

Or, let’s say you’re waiting in a doctor’s examining room and you see this:

Elements of an effective brand promise

Is this where a doctor should keep his thermometer sleeves?

I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a used cup — but if you think about it, the implied brand promise of any company is (or should be) attention to detail, clean supplies, etc. By failing to pick up on that, you could be sending harmful messages about your brand promise without even knowing it.

Now, let’s see a positive example of a brand promise.

FedEx’s core promise is that they will go to great lengths to deliver your package on time. And they have stories to prove that. For instance, a driver called Mike O’Donal single-handedly salvaged Christmas for one of his customers.

The customer found out just a few days before the holiday that he sent the package to the wrong address, and it didn’t reach its destination.

The package contained the only Christmas gift the customer could afford to give her daughter, and now it was in someone else’s hands.

So, the driver tried to retrieve the package. When the person at that address denied receiving it, O’Donal decided to play Santa Claus.

Elements of an effective brand promise

He purchased a duplicate gift out of his own pocket in time for Christmas Eve.

Through his actions, O’Donal did more than just replace a gift — he earned the customer’s gratitude and loyalty.

A quick recap on how to create a brand promise that sticks in people’s minds

A brand promise is like the moral of the story. Just like in the fairy tales, the moral was rarely directly stated or called out, but it’s implied through every aspect of the story.

For instance, nowhere in Pinocchio does it say that lying makes you look bad — but in the end, that’s the message we take with us.

So, here are the most important elements of a successful brand promise:

  1. Tell your brand promise as you would tell it to your ideal customer face-to-face.
  2. Describe your promise in detail. What does “quality” actually mean?
  3. Repeat it across all the channels. Repetition works.
  4. Use the power of suggestion: start with analogies, comparisons & metaphors.
  5. Make sure you keep your promises, even when it comes to the little things.

Ready to start building your brand? Learn about the 10 assets you need to effectively manage a brand online in our free ebook.