Do your company a courtesy: First, gather up the letterhead, envelopes, proposal sheets, pocket folders and business cards that you use for your daily business. Second, go take photos of your interior and exterior signage and print them out. Next, take screenshots of your website home page and subpages and print them out. Now, spread all the documents out alongside your company swag (pens, mugs, polo shirts and keychains).
If not, your marketing team most likely has brand conventions in place and you could stop reading this article. But if you detect some problems, please keep reading.
What you have now is an opportunity to make improvements that matter to your bottom line: communications consistency and team efficiency.
Cry For Help
It took me more than a decade to really understand the importance of a brand identity, and constantly gain even more respect for its importance as I see the same strong brand elements in action year after year. As a marketing practitioner, I am fortunate to experience a great variety of work here at Absolute Marketing Group. I work with national companies, startup companies and everything in between, including nonprofits. In working with such a diverse set of communication challenges over the years, it has become easier to recognize key statements that create an opportunity to discuss new branding alternatives. One of those statements is: “I have my professional logo, so I’m set for branding.” Another key statement is: “My buddy’s brother did my website design as a class project.” Another zinger is: “Our brochures were designed by one of those outsourced template sites.” Certain brand elements may survive within the three examples, but there’s a good chance that all the elements do not look like they belong to the same organization.
Never disregard what your brand is worth. Your brand is valuable. Messaging, design and communication behaviors must be consistent to display a professional brand image – in every instance.
With consistency comes familiarity. With familiarity comes trust. With trust comes sales.
A brand identity is not a magic bullet. But strong brand identity, coupled with strong customer service, is a powerful combination. Communicating with a consistent brand identity helps customers feel at ease so they can put their trust in every level of a company.
On the Same Page
Efficiency. Once everything is established, there will be less time and resources allotted to decision making. Once you’ve got a standard, there are fewer questions being asked. Also, you’re not reinventing the wheel every time you have to make a call on branding. Ten minute meetings everyday can add up to fifty minutes of wasted time that you could have put to rest by making executive decisions and following suit.
If your marketing collateral, website, vehicles, brochures, thank you cards and business cards look great, the person handing them out has more confidence. If they are uninspiring, they’ll stay in the box or the prospect may not understand them. Also, you’ll have more confidence to try new initiatives (e.g. direct mail campaigns) when there’s a standard to follow.
To help team members, many companies develop a Brand Standards Guide. Some may call it a Brand Guide, Corporate Identity Guide or Brand Bible.
At Absolute Marketing Group, we call it Brand Etiquette. Brand Etiquette encompasses all communication courtesies, branding guidelines and design decorum. Rules are sometimes hard to follow and the word “etiquette” inspires employees and designers alike to “stick to the rules” without feeling forced.
As our Writer, Tanya Weets, states, “Brand Etiquette describes the internal and external communication elements of a brand, offering designers and employees a guide for a universal look and layout. It shows all formatting ideals and logic behind the design choices for effective brand consistency.”
Some of the elements included in Brand Etiquette would be:
- Business Cards
- Email Signatures
- Audio Tags
- Voicemail Greetings
- Ad Layouts
- Brochure Layouts
- Website Homepage Layout
- Exterior/Interior Signage
If you’re interested in exploring the advantages of Brand Etiquette, please contact us at 701.478.1111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.