Big, multinational companies spend millions on developing, nurturing and protecting their brand. They invest heavily because, in most cases, it is only a brand identity that separates goods and services from those of competitors.
It doesn’t matter how large the business is, branding is always important. But small businesses and startups don’t have huge marketing budgets to tap into. How do they develop a brand identity on such a modest budget?
Well, there are design and web development tools that make brand creation and management a relatively simple and affordable process. By leveraging professionally designed components, you can create a sleek, professional brand identity that resonates with your customers — and sets your business apart from the competition.
But to create a killer brand using Xara Cloud, you first need to understand the basic principles of brand consistency — and how it relates to the modern world of consumerism.
Why a Strong and Consistent Brand is Essential?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling leather jackets or cupcakes, there are thousands of companies and individuals selling more or less the same thing. To stand out, you need to tap into the mindset of your customer base. What drives the buying decisions of the people you’re targeting? What do they aspire to? Once you understand your customers, you can create a brand identity that truly resonates.
But the process of building a brand isn’t easy. It’s more challenging than ever to get noticed, and a generic, off- the-peg brand identity simply won’t get you noticed in the digital age. Create a brand, and ensure it sends a consistent and powerful message to your target audience. They’ll become familiar with it over time, and eventually they’ll associate your brand with a great product. The mere sight of your logo, your brand colors, your fonts and all of the elements that go into creating your brand will inspire positive emotions — including trust and confidence.
What Is a Brand?
Think of a brand as a personality — or even an employee. Your brand is the “person” who talks to your customers about your organization’s ethos and values. Your brand builds trust, and becomes a symbol of what your business is all about.
But it’s important to understand where a brand lives. It’s not a single logo, a font or an illustration, it’s an invisible feeling or image that lives in the minds of your customers. This image is developed over time, based on the interactions your customers have with your business. In reality, a brand is how consumers feel about your organization. How you create that brand is up to you. A combination of your values, your customer service, your logo and many other elements create this image in the minds of consumers. In the digital age, your online presence is crucial to the creation of a killer brand.
Statistics Demonstrate How Important Branding Is
If you’re still not convinced about the need for a strong and consistent brand identity, there are some compelling statistics that make the case perfectly.
For example, according to the Demand Metric Benchmark Report, the consistent presentation of a brand increases revenue by an average of 23%. What does “consistent” mean in this context? Well, it might mean the use of a high quality logo or a high resolution website header. It might mean the consistent use of diagrams and quality graphics. You might have a great logo on your business cards, but if it isn’t replicated and executed perfectly on your website, your brand can suffer serious damage.
According to a Software Advice survey, consistency is the most important factor when it comes to developing customer loyalty. Out of 200 people questioned, 41 said that a consistent message was the single most important factor in relation to repeat business and long-term allegiances to a particular business. Everything from the colors in your logo to the quality of your visual presentations has to be consistent. If there are inconsistencies, you run the risk of losing the trust of your customers.
Around 85% of companies that put effort into maintaining brand consistency report year-on-year growth of at least 10%. And 71% of businesses say an inconsistent brand message creates confusion in the marketplace — which is never good for repeat purchases.
3 Tips for Creating a Consistent Brand
Once you have a company mission, you can create a brand that truly reflects it. But to ensure that brand remains consistent in the face of change and adversity, there are three steps you need to follow.
1. Perform regular brand audits
As your business grows and develops, priorities and the way you run things can change dramatically. When this happens, a brand can change organically — and change the way your customers view your organization.
Stay one step ahead of this potentially damaging process by regularly auditing your brand. Get a third party to evaluate your online presence, your customer service and your image. This might involve customer surveys, but the information you gather is crucial to ensuring your brand continues to reflect your ethos.
2. Compile a style guide
In order to create a consistent brand, you have to come up with a corporate identity — and stick to it. Create a unique and eye-catching logo, and make sure it’s always presented correctly. Decide on specific fonts, color schemes, graphical elements and photographic resources, and execute them in a professional way that exudes quality online. To help you do this, a Cloud-based design resources such as Xara Cloud can be used. A range of professional templates are available; simply choose one that satisfies your brand requirements, and make it your own with your own tweaks and design changes.
3. Nominate someone to manage your brand
While regular brand audits are essential, it’s also important to give a person (or a group of people) the day-to- day responsibility of ensuring your brand identity is consistent and on message.
The nominated individuals should be checking everything from the images you’re using to the content you’re putting out. Does your text-based content have the correct tone and voice? Are graphical elements of sufficient quality? Are the colors used on social media platforms, email newsletters and websites correct?
A big part of managing brand consistency involves managing your organization’s reputation. Check relevant forums and discussion boards, and respond to criticisms — or thank people for their praise. Continually monitor social media comments, and always look for opportunities to reinforce your brand principles.
There’s no getting away from the fact that the visual elements of your brand identity need to be carefully managed to deliver consistency. Xara’s easy-to-use design interface allows you to create stunning online visuals without any knowledge of design or coding.
Whether you’re creating an informational e-book or an eye-catching social media post, Xara delivers professional branding results at affordable prices.