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Creative

Why brand guides are an essential marketing tool

By | Blog posts, Creative
brand guides
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Why brand guides are an essential marketing tool

Chances are high that even if you don’t have your own brand guide for your business, you’re familiar with the concept. And while the concept of “becoming a brand” might not be something senior stakeholders are ready to buy into, let us assure you that brand identity isn’t just for consumer products.

What is a brand guide?

Exactly what it sounds like. A set of guidelines on how to apply your logo to any visual assets. What fonts and colours to use, and the tone of voice and language.

Put simply, it’s a dummies guide to creating marketing collateral. It should make your job much easier if working with a creative or digital marketing agency. Your brand guide should immerse them into your company.

What should it include:

  • An overview of your brand’s past, present and future, its personality and values
  • Your message or mission statement, plus examples of how to apply these
  • Tone of voice with examples of language and keywords to use in campaigns
  • Your logo and how to use it (e.g. on black, white, transparent backgrounds and spacing)
  • Your colour palette
  • Fonts and variations
  • Your buyer personas
  • Visual styles (photography, graphics)
  • Guidelines for social media presence (e.g. use of logo on images, any adaptations to tone of voice/language)
  • Design guides for email
  • Design guides for ads

Paradox Parlours visual tile brandingFour reasons why

#1 Build recognition, awareness and drive consideration

Recognition leads to awareness, which drives consideration. Yep. So it’s important that your brand looks consistent across all touch points, digital and print. If something looks off, it could erode the trust your leads were building and lose you future sales.

#2 Consistency: this is who you are

When a customer knows what to expect, they feel comfortable. And when they’re comfortable, they’re more likely to spend money. Imagine if a well-respected, scientific brand were to randomly use Comic Sans. Without good reason, it is jarring and something feels almost sinister.

#3 Maintain professionalism and identity

Visuals aren’t about creating a pretty picture. They build powerful campaigns. Trust. Authority. Recognition. Your customers and leads alike, will come to expect a certain standard from your business. That standard covers service as well as appearance.

#4 In-house or agency = we’re all in this together

If you work with a digital marketing agency or freelancers, time is money. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time with unclear briefs or leaving things open for interpretation. Not only will you have endless change requests, but a job that could’ve taken a couple of hours could lapse into days.

Working creatively with innocent

We work with the internal design team at innocent on their packaging. They send us their creative concepts, and we help make that into the finalised end result. Care, attention and understanding are crucial. A tight set of brand guidelines helps us achieve this without a disconnect between what’s created in-house and what’s created at our creative agency.

innocent packaging

Helping establish Mum&You

When we first starting working with Mum&You, they hadn’t yet launched in the UK. The project was about building an exciting, premium brand in the parenting category.

As a fledgling brand, it was essential to present a consistent image across all the touch points. We built their e-commerce website and a series of digital campaigns for Google Adwords and social media.

Summary

Branding is an essential part of your marketing strategy. It’s what sets you apart from your competitors and highlights your promise. If you’re stuck for inspiration and feel like your visuals could do with a boost, let’s have a chat. Our creative team has a wealth of experience working on a range of exciting brands, both established, spanking new and all those between.

Fill out your details below and we will be in touch

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brand design

Is it time to refresh my branding?

By | Blog posts, Creative
branding design
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Is it time to refresh my branding?

Refreshing or rebranding is not a small job. There’s finding the right creative agency who not only specialises in branding, but whose approach resonates.

Then there’s aligning and replacing all the visuals once the job is complete. And this is without even mentioning having to get buy in from senior stakeholders. Some of whom might be rather attached to the current branding…

Measuring your brands performance is similar to analysing your website. The two ultimately go hand-in-hand as the power couple of your marketing. It’s the face and personality of your business.

Before we begin, it’s a good time to ask yourself:

  • Why do I want to rebrand?
  • What don’t I like about my current branding?
  • What has to stay?
  • Could a brand represent us better to our customers?

Reassessing your brand can supercharge your marketing

Ensuring your branding is consistent across all touchpoints helps build your reputation. Having a strong reputation drives consideration. Simple.

Perhaps your branding hasn’t had any attention in a long time.

A few simple updates can transform future campaigns into powerhouses that deliver quality leads. Our clients at Grayce found this to be true, after we modernised their branding. This included reviewing their personas, tone of voice, logo and colour palette. Oh, and we rebuilt their website too, helping to making the migration from old to new, painless!

Grayce brand guides images

Refresh vs. Rebrand

When you’re looking at changing things up, there are two options: refresh or rebrand. But what’s the difference?

A refresh is modernising what’s already there:

  • Changing your fonts
  • Updating your colour palettes
  • Tweaking your tone of voice and messaging

All the while maintaining your mission, position and offering.

A rebrand is starting from scratch. Logo, fonts, colours, tone of voice, personas, visuals. Even what you focus on with your services and products.

A total overhaul is undertaken if the brand identity:

  • Isn’t generating leads
  • Has confusing messages
  • No longer represents the company’s mission

Either way, a new brand guide is necessary.

A creative agency will be able to audit your existing branding. This thorough analysis will include researching your buyer personas and your competitors. This is crucial to make sure you can work together to create something with impact but is still appropriate for your business and industry.

Google's logo over the years

Take the plunge

Perhaps some of these ring true for your marketing performance:

You’re not generating enough leads but you’ve already reviewed your strategy and website

  • You’re blending in with your competitors
  • The company has changed since your branding was last updated/created
  • It’s inconsistent across various marketing channels
  • You have reassessed and it’s time to try and attract different/new customers

Temporary updates

From time to time, brands adapt their logo and visuals to embrace an event, season or a company milestone.

It’s important that when these changes are made, even though temporary, they are still consistent with your brand.

If this is something you would want to take into consideration when refreshing or rebranding, discuss this with your design agency.

For example, you might want to celebrate:

  • Charity affiliation
  • Company milestone (e.g. 25 years in business)
  • Something seasonal that is relevant to your customers
  • Celebrating your staff, for example with Pride month

Pride logos 2020

What happens next?

It’s important to introduce your new branding to your customers and leads alike. It stops confusion and helps them to recognise you in the brand landscape going forward.

You can relaunch your branding in a few stages over many different digital channels. We recommend emailing your customers so that they won’t miss the update. If you have changed what you do or your focus, this is a great time to explain what and why.

A relaunch content strategy can be deployed via social media. Before changing your profile and cover photos, consider posting about the change. A digital marketing agency with experience in design will be able to make recommendations based on your audience.

Summary

You may meet some resistance along the way, but armed with research, you can prove your theory. If you can prove how your brand isn’t performing, it’ll have a much deeper impact than “it looks dated”. Which of course can also be reason enough.

Working with a creative design agency like us will help you scope out your requirements. Consider if you want to completely rebrand, or is a refresh enough?

As always, make sure you take into consideration your personas. Keep in mind branding is so much more than a logo! It’s colours, fonts, language and tone. And above all, your brand is your promise.

If you’d like to discuss your burning branding questions, leave your details below and we will be in touch!

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Branding graphic designer

Why brand identity isn’t just for consumer goods

By | Blog posts, Creative
Branding graphic designer
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Why brand identity isn’t just for consumer goods

In the simplest possible terms, the American Marketing Association describes a brand as “a name, term, design, symbol or feature that identifies one seller from another”. But really it’s so much more than that. A brand exists in the consumer’s mind. It’s an idea, expectation, reputation, experience and a promise all rolled into one.

So, how do we tangibly represent brand identity?

The identity of your brand comes down to this:Paradox Parlours visual tile branding

  • Logo
  • Colour palette
  • Typography
  • Tone of voice
  • Language
  • Visuals: photography or graphic stylings
  • Your unique selling point
  • Use of technology (for example, are you a leader in your industry for using a revolutionary tool)
  • Your company values
  • Your customer promise

And, not forgetting, a brand isn’t only for your customers, but your employees too. It’s no good to be a company with outstanding customer services but one that doesn’t look after and spark joy into its team. So you need to think how you’re looking after them too, what’s the benefit to them? Is it outstanding benefits, uncapped holiday or finishing early on a Friday.

Does that mean branding only exists in the consumer product world?

No. Look at that list again. Any company can become a brand if you can breathe life into it.

B2B or B2C should be B2P: business to people. Regardless if we’re targeted at work or home, we’re still people.

When you’re selling to people, you need to be able to explain your USP (unique selling proposition). It’s what makes you special and sets you apart from your competitors. As a digital marketing agency, we will help you define your USP. We do this by encouraging you to brainstorm:

  • What your customers want
  • What you do well
  • What your competitors do well

That way we can find your sweet spot. Ultimately, your brand is your sales pitch. It plays an important role in creating awareness, education and conversion in your pipelines.

Your brand identity should then be rolled out consistently. In fact, at every point your customers AND your employees interact with your brand.

Consider these questions:

  • Does your website reflect your business accurately?
  • Do all your touchpoints align visually? (e.g. all email signatures, HTML email templates, social media imagery)
  • Do you treat your team the same as your customers?

If you’re not consistent with your brand identity, the trust that you’ve built will fall to the floor. As with individual relationships, that of a brand to people, should also be consistent.

How we worked with Grayce to update their branding

Grayce brand guidelines

Grayce approached us to work on a large digital project which included a brand refresh. Their logo, visuals and tone of voice had become dated. The lack of brand guidelines didn’t translate for attractive campaigns. And worse still, they weren’t appealing to their target audience.

Our brilliant, talented designers developed new concepts and refreshed the branding. The task wasn’t to erase what existed, but modernise it.

An updated logo, colour palette and clarity on how to apply it all for multiple uses were delivered. The Grayce marketing team are now able to create powerful campaigns that get results. And with a consistent brand, they now appeal to the right people with appropriate language.

With a revitalised brand and clear guidelines to boot, the team said they feel empowered and confident to compete with the top players in their industry.

Summary

Any company can become a brand if time and effort goes into the process. A digital marketing agency with brand strategy experience is the ideal starting point if you are not sure where to begin. If you’d like to discuss transformation from a company with a logo, to become a living, breathing brand, leave your details below and we will be in touch.

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