Once you have made the investment to learn about your target audience, the ideas for branding imagery begin to be narrowed down. See our article ‘Business Branding’ http://thinkwebstore.com/business-branding/) for more general information on the branding equation. When the concepts for your company brand begin to become clear, it’s now time to bring in the design team. A good design team is there to receive your ideas about how you want to brand your company, and then take those ideas and turn them into effective communication.
Choosing Your Design Team
Choosing a design team is a very important part of the branding equation. If you are to be successful, the design team has to buy into your ideas, and you both have to be on the same page. That does not always happen! And when the client and the designers do not see eye to eye, then the work suffers.Take your time to choose the right design team. Visit them, interview them, look at their past work, test out some of your ideas to see their reactions – do your due diligence to try and find the team that will fit you and your project best.
Once you have found your design team, you then get to share with them your vision for the branding of your company. This conversation could include most anything: your company message, imagery you like or dislike, ideas you discarded along the way, your audience, information about your products and services…the more you can give your team in the beginning, then the better they can design. The designers then take all of the information that you unload, and they begin to turn your ideas into images and/or words.
Branding with a New Logo
The first piece to be designed for your brand will be your company logo. Your logo is the most central and foundational piece of branding design. Every other piece of advertising that you do will be based on the look/feel/color/energy of your logo. So your logo should definitely follow the rules listed in our last blog post – it should fit what you do, it should immediately convey a message, it should be accessible to your target audience, and it should be something which will immediately begin building brand recognition. Your logo will be on everything, so take the time and spend the money to have it done right! A well done logo which follows all of the “rules” is a powerful piece of advertising even when standing alone.
Website Design for Your Brand
The second thing to do is your website design. Again, this design will be based on your company message, your logo design, and also configured according to the branding philosophy that you have developed for your company. For many companies, the first place potential customers encounter them is on the web. This means that your website has to do a great job of representing your company. The design and content should both communicate and instill confidence in your visitors. You cannot be there when people visit your site! That is obvious. So make sure:
- that the site is consistent with your company image;
- that the design communicates your message and overall site content;
- that the site looks good (i.e. the design is professional and attractive);
- that your site is intuitive and easy to navigate;
- that the site answers the important questions people will want to know, and does it in a place and a way that is easy for the user;
- that your contact information is easily found on every single page of your website.
There are many more things we could say about website design, but if you’ve followed through the general branding steps and the proper logo steps, then you’ll be applying those same concepts on your website design.
Content Drives Traffic, Leads and Sales
The next thing you can do, once you have both a logo and website design, is begin designing “light content” pieces. This includes items like business cards, letterhead, social sites, print/online ads, etc. All of these are important for getting your company out in the public eye. No matter how small we think an item might be, a business card, for example – the same rules of design should apply. If the only advertisement a person sees is one that does not represent your brand well, then all of your effort is wasted. So take the time, and the resources, to ensure that each of your design pieces properly represents your brand to your potential consumers.
Finally, you can design your “heavy content” pieces. This includes things like brochures, booklets, packets, etc. We also recommend hold off on these heavy content designs, if possible, for a very practical reason – once you have printed something, it’s done. And it’s expensive. So we often suggest that people massage and revise their core content on their website, where reviews and revisions are much less costly. Then, once you feel good with your brand presentation on the website, you can pull from there to populate the heavy content design pieces.
Branding for Success
Branding, as we have said in these last 2 posts, is critical to your company’s success. Design, or the actual execution of your company’s branding ideas, goes hand in hand with this success. So if you are beginning a new company, or revamping an existing one, take the time and the effort at the front end to develop quality branding and designs. These things will be in front of the public constantly – you will not regret the extra time spent at the beginning to help develop a proper image for the long run.