BLOG: Eye-Popping Tips

From Karen Saunders

Your Branding, Marketing & Self-Publishing Coach

What is Good Visual Branding — and Why Is It So Important to Your Business?

Have you ever asked yourself why a competitor’s business gets more attention than yours? The answer just may have to do with the elements that go into how memorable the business is. And that has to do with branding.

But exactly what is branding, anyway? Think of branding as predefining what a company is all about in the minds of its clients. Good branding differentiates your products and services in a positive way that really sticks in the minds of potential customers.

Let’s say you have been traveling around town without your morning coffee and are getting just a little cranky. Quick! What’s the first coffee shop chain that comes to mind? Chances are, you thought of Starbucks. Why?

• Attractive and easily read logo;
• Consistency of product, décor, signage, and interior; and
• A great product

Assuming your product is fabulous, it all comes down to image. Graphic design can play a huge part in that image. But what are some key things to consider?

A great logo is key.

You have already given a great deal of attention to your company name and believe that it speaks to who you are and what you do. Great! Now you need to wrap a graphic image around that name to carve out a prime piece of real estate in the mind of your target customer. That is exactly what a great logo can do.

Whether or not you eat fast food and regardless of your opinion as to what might constitute the best in fast food, my guess is that the name McDonalds conjures up an immediate image of the golden arches. Those golden arches really work as a logo!

The McDonalds logo is a good example of merging a symbol with a letter in the company name. It is also a good example of simplicity, another key element to great logo design. A good logo also:

• has a strong, balanced image with no little extras that clutter its look;
• is distinctive and bold in design, making it easy to see at a glance;
• has graphic imagery that looks appropriate for your business;
• works well with your company name;
• is done in an easy to read font;
• communicates your business clearly; and
• looks good in black and white, as well as in color.

Consistent visual identity is also key.

If you are going to capture that prime piece of real estate in the customer’s mind, you must provide not only a compelling image, but a consistent one. The Statue of Liberty just may be one of the most compelling images in the world. But what if you owned the rights to that image, put it on your business card, then put the image of an American Bald Eagle on your stationery and the Liberty Bell on your web site. The American Bald Eagle and the Liberty Bell are also compelling images, but as a group, each dilutes the impact of the other.

Each of the three images has its own distinct personality. You may be tempted to give your stationery, website, business card, brochures, and other marketing materials different visual personalities, but to do risks the equivalent of having the Statue of Liberty competing with American Bald Eagle and Liberty Bell.

All of the materials that represent you, from business cards to brochures, need to have image consistency in order to be immediately recognizable by your customers…and potential customers…as being related to the unique brand that is your company. Logo, color scheme, fonts, and layout that are consistent from letterhead to business card and from envelope to ad suggest credibility and stability, in addition to taking up more of that prime mental real estate by virtue of repetition. Inconsistency of graphic elements among materials not only suggests uncertainty and sloppiness, it is just plain forgettable.

Creating a great logo and maintaining consistency among all your marketing materials will take you a long way towards creating a memorable brand that will bring you more business and increase your bottom line.