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There are 30.2 million small businesses in the United States as of 2018; it does not matter how small or large a business is, each one must have some sort of way to identify themselves within their market. The American Marketing Association defines branding as “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” In order to truly stand out in a crowd full of cut-throat competitors, your business must have some sort of unique identity that separates your brand from everyone else out there. If your business does not have a branding system in place, then your business is at risk of going through an identity crisis; this is especially true if there is another business out there that has your company’s name (but doesn’t necessarily offer the same services as yours). The most important thing to remember is that establishing a system of branding gives your business a stronger sense of identity to help it stand out from the crowd. Let’s go over some examples of companies who have effective branding systems in place.
Everyone around the world knows about Coca-Cola and their bright red cans and bottles of their famous fizzy drink. Coca-Cola is the 4th best known brand in the world according to Interbrand, right behind Microsoft (3), Google (2) and Apple (1). One factor to consider about Coca-Cola is that their branding system makes it easy for anyone to recognize; the script used in the logo is recognized by people all over the world due to its unique script font. In conjunction with the logo, their red and white color scheme is also recognizable by many people. Consistency in branding helps ensure that the brand remains memorable, and Coca-Cola gets an A+ when it comes to remaining consistent. Coca-Cola has not changed their logo or color scheme in several years, although the presentation of their logo has been slightly different. Failure to remain consistent can create problems for any brand, as it can lead to a brand’s identity crisis. What if Coca-Cola were to completely redesign their logo in another font and even change their color scheme? The public would certainly fall into a state of confusion and their products would be harder to spot on the shelves; customers would have a hard time looking for a bottle on the shelves simply because the original logo and red/white colors would be gone. Can you see how disastrous that would be for a brand well known around the world?
One of Coca-Cola’s most effective marketing campaigns was their Share A Coke campaign which began in 2014 in the United States (2011 in Australia). This campaign helped increase Coke’s relevance in the market among consumers by encouraging people to buy a Coke with their name on the bottle and share it with their friends. This campaign was so successful because it brought their marketing down to the customer on a personal level. Additionally, the campaign alone could be described as a “brand within a brand” as “Share A Coke” becomes its own identity with its own proprietary font. Share A Coke was considered the most successful marketing campaign in decades back in 2014.
Known for its unique hamburgers served in its A-frame style restaurants, Whataburger has a special spot in the heart of Texans everywhere. People familiar with the chain are familiar with the chain’s “flying W” logo, the logo’s whimsical font and the bright orange and white colors.
As we learned from Coca-Cola, consistency is key in developing an effective brand. Color schemes should consist of no more than three colors and should be used appropriately across marketing materials; because Whataburger is a fast food restaurant they have more items to apply their branding to beyond a website and their TV commercials. Take a look at the photo above, how many places do you see the orange and white colors that make up Whataburger’s corporate branding?
Facebook grew from being a small private website that connected people across a college campus to being the #1 largest social media network in the world. The brand is easily recognizable for reasons such as its unique logo font and the blue/grey color scheme implemented across its website. Aside from its main logo, many people are able to identify Facebook by the “F’ in its name alone as well as the thumbs up “Like” symbol and more recently by the Messenger app. Because Facebook is people-focused product, they also attempt to market to the consumer on a personal level. Take a look at their landing page above for example; they use a headline that reads “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life.” They are trying to encourage people to sign up for their service as a means to help them connect to their friends and family easier; the use of a world map graphic is also encouraging to future users to let them know that they can connect with people they know all over the world. And the icing on the cake is the headline above the registration form: “It’s free and always will be.” Everyone likes free stuff, right?
Remember, your company’s #logo is the face of your company. It should represent its character and be memorable. #logodesign #graphicarts #graphicdesign #corporateidentity #corporateidentitydesign #illustration #corporatebranding #corporatebrandingdesign #branding #brandingdesign #identitydesign #businessidentity #businessidentitydesign #companyidentity #contentmarketing #contentmarketingtips #digitalmarketing #digitalmarketingtips #marketing #marketingtips #smallbusiness #smallbusinessmarketing #entrepreneurship #entrepreneur #logoillustration
One of the most important ways to give your business the right identity is to have the right logo implemented. True business branding does not even begin without having a logo; a company without a logo is like a person without a name. While there are many free programs out there that will let you build a logo at no cost, you need to understand that using templates puts your company at risk of using a logo that looks similar (or even worse, identical) to another one out there used by another company. When branding your business, you must use a unique logo that was designed professionally in order to truly stand out. Take a look at the example below of a logo we produced for our client Stone Cold Meats this past January (we also created their website and launched it on July 30th):
The “Before” example was created by the client using Microsoft Word, a program professional designers steer clear (no pun intended) from in terms of being creative. It could be considered a preliminary example, or somewhat of a guide that we had to go by. After going through a few revisions with feedback from the client, we eventually fulfilled their satisfaction with the logo shown for “after”. The logo uses a unique font and also uses a steer to symbolize the fact that they are a meat market, since beef is a major staple in their product line. Aside from being unique, the logo’s symbolism is a great reflection of the products that they carry. A great logo is memorable, unique and uses symbolism when possible; but remember, the most important job your logo should accomplish is to take all of those factors and develop your brand’s character and image. People should be able to identify your business not only by looking at the entire logo, but even by only looking at a small portion of it.
Choose your typefaces wisely for your #business. They define the personality of your #business. #contentmarketing #contentmarketingtips #digitalmarketing #digitalmarketingtips #graphicdesign #graphicarts #typography #branding #brandingdesign #brandingidentity #brandingidentitydesign #corporateidentity #corporateidentitydesign #corporatebranding #corporatebrandingdesign #marketing #smallbusiness #smallbusinessmarketing #smallbusinessmarketingtips #marketingtips #businessmarketing #typographydesign #typographyinspired
Remember that branding defines your business’ personality and character, so it is important to choose fonts that give it the image you want present. When choosing your fonts, you will want to keep these factors in find: how they will look on the logo, what looks nice for headings as well as what looks good for paragraphs. You need to remember that you will want to choose fonts that look good on both digital and print media; any fonts you choose will be used on all of your marketing materials (website, brochures, business cards, etc. We will cover these items later in the post). How do you want to present your business’ image? Elegant? Serious? Fun? Executive? Once you have decided on a theme for your business, it will make it easier to choose the right fonts to present your desired image. However, you need to keep professionalism in mind; do not simply choose any font that you want.
Remember, when #branding your #business choose your #typography wisely. Never use unprofessional #fonts or colors. #corporateidentity #corporateidentitydesign #identitydesign #brandingdesign #corporatebranding #corporatebrandingdesign #graphicarts #graphicdesign #contentmarketing #contentmarketingtips #digitalmarketing #digitalmarketingtips #marketing #marketingtips #businessmarketing #smallbusiness #smallbusinessmarketing #entrepreneurship
Regardless of the theme that you wish to brand your business with, your type choices should always remain professional. Avoid using crazy, cartoonish or simply unprofessional fonts such as the ones shown above. Secondly, avoid using overused boring fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial; using fonts like these can make your brand look too generic. Times New Roman does not look good on headings as it is a serif font (a serif is a small line attached to the end of a stroke in a letter or symbol); these little strokes can make your headings look too busy. Headings should be presented in a clean, sans-serif font (such as Bebas Neue) while it is safe to present your paragraph text using a serif-based font. When using a serif-based font, do not use Times New Roman as it is generic, overused and would make your marketing materials look like newspapers or college research papers. Unprofessional font choices are not only limited to the ones shown above in the Instagram post; fonts that are too decorative and also hard to read (one or other, or both) should be ruled out immediately. Let’s look at some examples of some unique logos that have good font choices.
Fun & Simple. Does not go overboard.
Casual & Simple. Easy to read and looks fun.
Serious & Focused. The font is clean and looks stylish.
Classy & Unique. Decorative, but presents an extremely upscale image.
Only use about 2-3 fonts in your brand.
As previously mentioned, you should have one font for your headings and one font for your paragraphs; sometimes it can be appropriate to use your logo’s font for your headings on websites and print materials to maintain consistency. Let’s go back to our client, Stone Cold Meats. When establishing the typefaces to be used in their branding, we were aiming for a western and classical look and feel for the brand.
We just finished #branding Stone Cold Meats to help them stand out against the crowd. Check their #website at stonecoldmeats.com to see our work in action. #corporateidentity #companybranding #corporateidentitydesign #brandingdesign #corporatebranding #corporatebrandingdesign #identitydesign #graphicdesign #graphicarts #logodesign #logo #webdesign #marketing #smallbusinessmarketing #smallbusiness #digitalmarketing
As seen in the photo above, we have chosen to use a proprietary font for the logo’s text which is also used for headings on the website.
The navigation bar
Sections on the home page.
As you can see, we chose to use Baskerville for the body copy font (paragraphs and lines of text not used for headings). Baskerville is a serif-based font and you can see that it looks very clean and easy to read underneath the special font used for the headings. The heading font has a western look and feel to it that is fun while the Baskerville font looks old-fashioned and classical. A total of two fonts were used and if we were to add any more, it could complicate the design. As you can see from all of the examples above, the right fonts can give your business the right image. But it does not stop there; you also need to consider the right colors that will truly give your business the right image to help it stand out among the crowd.
This week’s tips are for you #smallbusiness owners. We will be going over branding/identity basics! Today’s tip: Choose your colors wisely. They need to establish your #businesses personality. #contentmarketing #contentmarketingtips #digitalmarketing #digitalmarketingtips #business #marketing #marketingtips #brandidentity #brandidentitydesign #corporateidentity #corporateidentitydesign #colorschemes #colorscheme #branding #brandingdesign #smallbusiness #smallbusinessmarketing #smallbusinessmarketingtips
When giving your company’s image some character, you should use colors that give it the character you are aiming for. Just like when choosing your fonts, you need to choose your colors wisely; colors need to flow together to help catch the eye. Picking random colors will look extremely ugly; you want your colors to grab someone’s eye not detract them from looking away.
This is an example of an extremely ugly color scheme; this is the “Hot Dog Stand” color scheme that was available on Windows 3.1. By looking at this, your eyes are probably hurting and you are probably scrolling down really fast to hide this ugly picture. Don’t let your business be represented by ugly colors that do not go together; choose your colors based on your theme and make sure they flow together to create a professional look. Take a look on how we incorporated the color scheme we established for Stone Cold Meats into their website:
Black and white are two primary colors used in the company’s branding, with the burnt orange color used as a tertiary color; the dark red color can be used as an alternative choice to the burnt orange in some cases. These two colors were established based on the fact that the client wanted to incorporate a butcher block into their website, which you will see below:
The products offering page on Stone Cold Meats’ website uses a butcher block/wooden texture for the background, which is where we extracted the burnt orange color from that is used throughout the website. The red color is used to compliment the burnt orange color rather than as an alternative to it while the primary colors in the branding (black and white) are used in the primary areas of the website such as in the headers and footers. Aside from the website, the color scheme must be used consistently and should be presentable on both digital and print materials.
Shown above are the front and back (top and bottom respectively) of the business cards we designed for Stone Cold Meats. The cards use the brand’s two primary colors of black and white, where they are inverted when the card is flipped over from one side to the other. The cards are easy to read and reflect the brand’s image without too much fuss; the black and white colors used on the website are used here to ensure consistency. Never use colors differently across marketing materials as this will cause confusion and give your business a messy identity; consistency is key. Customers would be confused if they saw that the website was strictly orange and red (ugly to use solely on their own, anyway) and the cards were black and white. All of your marketing materials should be extensions of each other, with both fonts and colors used in a consistent manner across all of them. But you may be thinking, what types of marketing materials should my business be using? Let’s go over the typical materials commonly used by businesses alike.
If you are in any type of business, you must have a professionally designed website that is unique to your brand. With many people browsing the web either by mobile or computer, it is the easiest way for people to find you. Your website should contain pages with the most important information about your business such as Home, About, Services and Contact pages. Each page should have SEO (Search Engine Optimized) content to ensure that all of the major search engines pick up and index your content easily. Without a website, you may not have many other options to display your content in its own unique place on the web. Websites should be designed using a professional platform such as WordPress; never, ever use free website builders like Wix or Weebly as they are limited in functionality and they will make you display an ugly credit footer across your site that says “This site was designed with (name of builder here). Get your own FREE website today.” If people see that you built your website using a free builder, they will assume your company is cheap and limited. Additionally, using these free builders means you have to use their templates; this prevents your brand from being unique online because someone else probably has a website using this same exact template. You don’t want your website to look identical to someone else’s, now do you?
Within your company’s website, there should be links to each social network that your company has a page with. These pages should reflect your company’s branding by using the logo for the profile picture and a header graphic that with complies with your branding standards. The header area is a great place to advertise specials or other important messages you want people to see; the header graphic should be consistent by using your company’s color scheme and font choices. These same rules also apply to any graphics you post in general; however, some exceptions can be made. If your promotions are based on a certain theme (holidays like Christmas, special events, etc.) then you can use graphics that relate to these themes with appropriate colors and pictures. Remember, social media for business is much different than social media for personal use; always keep it professional. We have some tips for business use of social media here.
Your most important offline marketing tool, you should never leave your house without your business cards. Ensure that your business cards use the same color schemes and fonts used throughout your brand and make sure that there is a WOW factor within their design. Your business card should be able to grab someone’s attention the moment they look at it; otherwise, it will most likely end up in the trash. Business cards should be unique and designed especially for your company; never use templates on Vistaprint or worse, templates found in Microsoft Word. Just like with template-based websites, using a template based business card puts you at risk of having a card that looks like someone else’s. Your business card must be designed uniquely for your business.
Brochures & Flyers
If you offer a lot of services and want people to be able to read about them without the need to send them to your website every time, consider getting some brochures (if you need to present a lot of information) or flyers (if you do not need as much space as brochures) made . The same branding rules apply to brochures and flyers; they must reflect your branding guidelines and they must be designed specially for your business. Again, the same rule regarding templates applies; it may be tempting to use the free templates provided by Microsoft Word and Microsoft Publisher, but using these templates can immediately destroy your company’s image and make it look cheap. These templates are generic and most likely used by other people. You cannot give your business a unique brand that stands out from the crowd if you are using templates that everyone else is using. It makes your business look generic and it will blend in with everyone else easily.
Postcards are a great way to advertise your business, especially if you want to offer coupons and introduce your business to complete strangers. Think of them as large scale business cards; they should have your contact information and services presented on them and present the information using your branding guidelines. Your postcard should contain a breakdown of your services, nice photos and coupons to help get some business from people who receive them. In addition to mailing them, you should also give them away to people you meet and have a stack on the front desk of your office.
Your business may not have the budget to get a mobile app made, and your business may not even need one. However, mobile apps are a great way to get your name out there if you choose to invest in one. They are a great way for people to make appointments with you, interact with you directly and even buy products from you. Additionally, it gives your brand a place on everyone’s phone desktop. Apps should comply with your branding guidelines, with your company’s logo as the app icon and the screens within the app using your brand’s color scheme and typography.
Although this may require a little investment, ads that circulate across different websites and on social media are great way to get your name out there. An enticing message presented on a graphic using your branding guidelines will get people clicking to find out more about your business easily. The example above, designed for Houston Baptist University takes their college colors as well as their logo’s font to encourage people to succeed by getting a college degree. How many people would click on this if it didn’t say “Learn More About Our Programs. Click Here”? Call-to-actions are important when creating web banner ads; we have created a guide on effective call-to-actions that we encourage you to read here.
We want to make sure your business is presented like no other.
Disclaimer: CDG has no affiliations or connections to any of the brands mentioned in the post, with the exception of the aforementioned clients. The information presented here is for educational purposes only. We cannot guarantee that your business will be more successful upon implementing the advice presented in the post.
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