It's Your Brand After All by Evan Perry

It's Your Brand After All -- Consistency in Branding Development

In the communications business, we talk a lot about brands. Much goes into a brand, and the conversation about developing a brand can be a long one.

You as a business owner or an employee-agent of your company are an "insider," and can impact what others think about your brand: the product you provide, the services associated with what you sell, your perceived value, and your reputation.
Keeping your brand consistent and recognizable in both print and online is one critical factor in maintaining the value of your brand.  At AlphaGraphics West Valley, this is the area of your brand we typically focus on as marketers: your logo, your color scheme, fonts you use, the type of photo images, how people perceive your online presence, and how they interact with you.

Your Brand, Your Graphics

When it comes to your brand, maintaining consistency is paramount. By using the same logo with the same color,  on similar layouts, your logo starts to become one that people recognize as belonging to you. This is a simple definition of your brand identity's application. The idea is that when people see your logo or brochures or signage, they immediately think of you: your quality, your service, and your reputation. It can be tricky at best to get everyone in your organization to use your visual graphic elements properly to support your brand. Today it's an even bigger challenge to tackle, when so many have the computer software and the skills to pull together a pretty decent document on their own. Kudos to those that can do it, but not everyone understands the finer points of type, color and logo usage.
When we create or build upon your brand, we usually end up making a style guide. The style guides are for all those internal and external that may interact or touch your brand elements. The guide provides usage requirements for your logo, the fonts used in ads and documents and brand colors, to name a few. Below is an example of a logo and how it should be proportioned.

Be a Control Freak!

Your company really needs someone in charge of keeping your brand elements consistent and always recognizable. If you don't have that person, you should ask us for help. We are as passionate as anyone about our AlphaGraphics brand, and we love helping others either maintain the brand they've created or to create the brand they need to succeed.
With agOnline, we can help you control your print collateral and how it's procured. AgOnline is system we provide to you via a web browser, which allows people within your organization to order properly formatted and branded printed collateral. In addition to print, we host files, PDFs, Word and PowerPoint Documents. With one online location, simple ordering, and files distribution, you can have more control of your brand’s visual components than ever.
Before coming to AlphaGraphics,  I had been that person, handling the policing of the brand elements. I was a graphic designer at two large corporations.  My role not only included my design work, but I was also the deputy to the “logo cop”, our marketing director. Our logo had to be perfectly executed, or you were.  When spotting the improper usage of a logo, I would provide the correct version and educate those misusing our logo on its proper use to support our brand and its message. Doing this also allowed me to find out what other departments were doing and how we could help them. By letting them do their job and allowing the designers to do the design work, we had our consistency well maintained.

Don’t Go Changin’

The Sun Maid Raisins girl has been redesigned carefully over the years so that the branding stays consistent but still looks modern as times change. What you don’t want to do is haphazardly change your logo’s color, try a different font or make the elements of your design completely different and unrecognizable.

Sometimes it’s appropriate to redesign your logo or realign the graphic elements that make up your brand. If you have always been consistent in the past, you will want to tread carefully with your redesign so you don’t confuse your loyal customers. Too drastic of a change can literally cause upset in your customers and in some cases can send them running. That doesn’t mean you should never update your look, but it’s important to keep in mind that your customers may have a deeper loyalty to you and your brand than you realized, so any updates should be made with this in mind.

Ahh, Love!

Imagine logos you know well. When you see the GM logo, you think one thing when you see the Volvo logo, you think of another. It happens almost automatically, and it happens with any kind of brand that has a lot of exposure. Dairy Queen, Tide, Wonder Bread… what do you think of? Bank of America… what do you think of now? It All Comes Down to Experience.

Perception of a brand is tied to the way it operates.

Brand perception is determined by the collective of what your customers’ actual experiences are with you and your product. If you claim to be on time, deliver as promised and provide a fair exchange, people will be watching to see if it’s true.

What’s Good for Them is Good for You.

Brand perception develops over time and is subject to many levels of evaluation. This is true whether you run a restaurant, a shoe repair shop, a contracting business or an industrial manufacturing facility. If you are working hard to maintain your business as an attractive brand, you will want to maintain your logo and all of your brand elements so that when people see your image out in public, they will immediately think of the great experience they’ve had or the other good things they associate with you.
--2013-09-05 11:02:05