Having so many ways to communicate about your business — in-store merchandising, websites, direct mail, events, product packaging, mobile, print ads, social media, email — makes it easy to send mixed messages. If there was ever a time when everyone in your organization needs a style guide to be on the same page, it is when you are planning multi-channel marketing efforts. The fastest way to undermine the power of an effective brand is to be inconsistent in the look, feel and tone of your marketing. Here are some strategies to keep your brand messages on target.
A brand strategy can be created in-house if you have marketing, design and digital talent on board or as a collaborative effort with an outside marketing firm. If your company doesn’t have a visual identity, create one by designing a logo and a tagline, and by establishing a look and feel that will be used in all your marketing. You’ll also need to determine key messages to communicate as well as the voice you will use — professional, fun, hip, friendly, as examples. Your brand should reflect the personality of your company. For example, if your company makes ice cream, your brand will likely be playful and fun; if you run a law firm that handles litigation for multinational corporations a more professional tone will be in order.
Create a simple set of guidelines for your brand identity. The style guide will keep your creative team on track, ensuring that they are using the color palate, typefaces, key messages, style and tone chosen for your brand.
Everyone–from the CEO to the newly hired copy writer–must understand the company’s branding strategy and why it is important not to veer off the prescribed path. You don’t want a graphic artist to use an oddball typeface because she thinks it is more “creative.”
After you establish a brand strategy, use it in every form of communication created — even in places where you think it might not matter like a basic form on your website. For a brand to be strong, it has to be used at every opportunity, so make every piece of communication your own, using your typeface, your logo and your company’s language and style.
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