Make the first impression, the right impression and keep it that way

A customer's very first impression of a business usually comes from the initial sighting of its logo and whatever message (hook) is attached to the media it appears on. A positive first impression will arouse interest in a product or service and elicit further interaction between the customer and the company, so it's got to be right!

But that's just the beginning

As a customer learns more about the brand, they begin to form beliefs. From the first impression through the complete sales and support cycle, making sure that the right message shines through and reinforces the first impression is an essential part of making a brand successful.

Consistency builds trust and familiarity

It's very important that this first impression reflects what the brand is about wherever it appears, that it matches the sentiment of the company's position, and that it feels right in its competitive market - if not, the customer may be less enthusiastic about exploring the company and products further.

Main visual elements

The main visual elements of a brand need to be consistant in look, messaging and quality. Let's pretend the five elements below are tools and that four of them are nice shinny and clean, but one is covered in rust and dirt. The rusty and dirty tool will stand out from the rest and questions will form in the mind of the customer.

  • Logo development (company, product, theme)
  • Stationary and business card design
  • Signage
  • Brand guidelines and standards
  • Collateral

The visual branding goal should always be to create a flawless impression, not raise questions.

Clearify the vision

Stand out, fit in, reflect your business and reinforce your message! Before you can begin to build a brand identity its important to define who you are and where you would like to be, kind of like creating the ultimate projected personality of what you want your customers to see.

  • Create a clear position
  • Make a promise, stake a claim and stick to it
  • Match your identity to your business
  • Understand your customers better
  • Be unique and stand out in a crowd
  • Make your people part of the branding process
  • Be consistent in everything you do
  • Avoid the trends but stay current

Making your brand work better requires self-discipline and a whole lot of checklists, but in the end, it provides clarity to your customers, your marketing processes and it forces you to think about your business from the outside looking in (from the customers perspective), rather than the inside looking out (what you believe without surveying the market 50/50 chance of getting it right).

Build a foundation

Your messaging is part of your identity. So whether its quality, price, fast delivery, best service… a prospect must be able to see how your products or services differ from the competition and why they should shine through. Your messaging lays the foundation for the styles, tones and symbolic images that will be defined in the logo design.

  • Positioning exercises and statement
  • Mission & vision development (internal and external)
  • Message development
  • Tagline development

Ensure consistency in everything public

Brand consistency can make a bold statement that will get noticed by everyone who experiences it, not only that but it helps builds trust and creates comfort. To help ensure that everyone in the company is on the same page it is essential that guidelines be created and made available to all company personnel.

  • Visual identity guidelines - correct/incorrect use of logo and other visual brand components
  • Messaging guidelines - standard company descriptions, value statements, positioning statements
  • Tactical guidelines for advertisements -brochures, datasheets, tradeshow booths, multimedia

Corporate Brand standards can be flexible and simple or complex and strict depending on the style of the company and the multitudes of tactics being used.

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