The key to improving the reach and reputation of your brand is understanding your customers. Customers create opinions about your brand based on how they perceive your brand. Customers want to associate themselves with brands that they feel are trustworthy, honest and reliable. If you’re not projecting the right kind of image for your brand, you may be doing more harm to your reputation than you realize.
“It’s important for customers to feel like your brand represents real people, not just a faceless company or product,” says Urban Geko’s Orange County graphic design team located in Newport Beach, CA. Customers should be able to think of your brand as part of their life and they should view their relationship with your brand as a personal one.
A brand is much more than just advertising or a logo. Your brand involves all aspects of your business. Think of your brand as a person, full of personality, values, and ideas.
There are several different components that you need to consider to improve your brand’s reputation:
– Your relationship with your customers
– How well you understand your customers
– The ways that your company reaches out to customers
– The personality of your company
Make an effort to be memorable. Don’t just focus on selling products and services. Think of your brand as an experience that you’re trying to get people to share. You want to create the impression that your brand will add value to the lives of their customers. Your customers are more than people who are interested in your products and services. They’re just as much a part of your company’s family as the employees and the management.
How to Prevent Projecting the Wrong Image
Consider the most successful brands you know. Ask yourself: How have they managed to create a loyal following that lasts for decades? What are they doing to make themselves more valuable to their customers? What are they doing that I am not doing? Remember, you not only need to ask yourself questions about your company, but you also need to make sure that they are powerful questions. Asking appropriate questions provides the most insights about what you could be doing to improve your brand. Think about what you value as a business person. Do your values and beliefs match up with the beliefs and goals of your business? Are those beliefs being projected when people think about your brand?
Improving your brand is a process. This process includes well-defined steps and, more importantly, the ability to check your progress. Obtain feedback to improve your brand’s reputation. Don’t focus on only one approach. Include multiple options when laying out your plan.
1. The Appearance of Your Brand
The way that customers see your brand will play an important part in how they feel about your products and services. Color is a powerful emotional tool that can boost your company’s message. Take a careful look at the colors that successful companies use in their logos and designs. Also pay close attention to what is popular in your industry, including the brands of your competition. Where do you want your brand to go in the future? What are your long and short-term goals? Having a strong idea of these concepts will help you pick the right colors for your brand.
Understand that colors can carry a powerful emotional connection. Study the ways in which color can motivate people to click on links, read advertisements and pay attention to marketing materials.
2. Logos and Symbols
There are three main kinds of logos:
3. Combined Logos
Symbols have been popular for years as a way for companies to make an instantly recognizable representation of their brand. Car companies offer some of the best examples of this style of branding. The Cadillac and Chevrolet logos are instantly recognizable and are so well-known that they often appear on other media besides the products created by their companies. While your company may not yet have this kind of recognizable reach, designing an easily recognizable symbol can be crucial to the marketing success of your brand. Words and phrases are another important part of a brand logo. Computer companies are a great example of creating a memorable phrase to accompany their brand. They are usually short, powerful phrases that use a custom font to distinguish themselves as a trademark of a certain brand. They also briefly describe what the company offers while portraying a feeling of value or efficiency.
Combination logos bring symbols and phrases together. These can be especially useful logos if they are used properly. They offer companies the ability to use their symbol and trademark phrase separately in different media where they are appropriate.
3. Beliefs, Brands, and Briefs
Creating a design brief for your brand is a great way to get additional insights that may not be apparent at first glance. A design brief is created by analyzing how the brand is perceived by customers and comparing those expectations to the core beliefs and values of the company. Comparing and contrasting these two sets of information is a good way to bring these two ideas closer together. A design brief is also useful for discovering the traits of a brand that can be focused on or reduced to improve a brand’s reach and reputation. This information can be invaluable when creating a logo and designing marketing efforts.
4. Do Your Homework
No brand ever became successful by failing to do research. Our Orange County graphic design team believes thorough research is a crucial part of any successful brand design. Don’t just focus on charts and graphs from computer algorithms. Have conversations with shareholders and conduct customer feedback sessions. Focus on what words keep coming up in these conversations. Group these words together and study what kind of picture your brand is creating in the minds of customers. The goal of this research should be to create an accurate picture of your brand. If you look at your brand using only your own ideas and insights, you could be falling short. Make use of the ideas and contributions of others to get a good look at how customers perceive your brand. This information can be used to redesign branding materials or to refocus brand goals.
5. Take Notes
When you’re trying to improve a brand’s reach, no idea is too far-fetched or unfinished at first. Take careful notes of any and all ideas, even old ideas that you have previously discarded. Collect and organize all of these ideas into an easily readable format. Then, once you have had some time to reflect, go through each idea one by one and compare and contrast them to one another. This can help you refine some ideas while getting rid of plans that don’t hold a lot of merits. Our Orange County graphic design team believes this refinement process is crucial to getting to the heart of your company’s image and values.
6. Make Outlines
At this point, you should be looking over some of the most powerful and effective ideas that you have generated. Ask questions about your ideas: Are they in line with your company’s goals, objectives, and values? Do they communicate these values effectively to customers? As you narrow down the selection of possible ideas, expand on them. Make outlines and sketches of those ideas as they take shape. Again, don’t be too critical at this stage. As new ideas come, include them and then run them through the process again. The key here is to refine ideas as much as possible. Make sure to continually check your ideas with your previous research. Do these ideas mesh with your design brief and core principles? If not, can they be re-worked to match up with your previous work?
Test your ideas in different environments. After all, what looks good in one situation may be ineffective in another light. Thoroughly check your ideas and sketches against any possible environment to get an idea of how to make them better.
7. The Finishing Touches
Take your refined outlines and sketches and put them through their paces. Try them with different lettering, different colors and different proportions. Pay attention to which ones are the most versatile and how each idea can be improved. How do the sketches affect you? What images and emotions come to mind when looking at your sketches? Don’t be afraid to ask for outside opinions. After all, you need to consider how your customers are going to react to your brand.
Be tough but fair. Don’t throw away an idea just because it doesn’t work immediately. However, don’t get overly attached to an idea just becomes it seems great at first.
The Final Product
Once you’ve settled on a final design, celebrate! You’ve made a lot of progress. Now it’s time to take the next steps. Begin planning your new marketing efforts around your brand-new company image. Your logo and brand are going to play a huge part in how your company as perceived. Think of them as your calling card and your signature. They are going to be the primary way that people interact with your brand and the means by which your brand will be discussed and remembered.
Remember, you don’t have to be rich to improve the reputation and reach of your brand. There’s no time like right now to begin planning how your brand is going to affect the future of your business. By carefully considering the steps outlined above and adding in your own ideas and perspective, you can start making steps towards creating a brand that will be memorable, approachable and distinctive.