Posted on / by / in Advertising, Branding, Digital Marketing, Promotion

Branding Checklist – The Ultimate Guide: Part 2

Your customer’s experience

After you have had the chance to take inventory of all the places your branding shows up – it’s time to review and audit what needs to be updated or created to reflect your current brand platform and identity standards.

First prioritize the starting line for your customer and use their next steps as a map into figuring out what comes next.

For example, if you are selling a product in stores and participating in trade shows, the package design, in store POS (point of sale) promotional signage, and trade show elements would be the first things your customer see. From there, maybe the buyer receives a sell sheet, showcasing your products and information associated with it.

With visual story telling, information hierarchy, and distinctive product packaging that stands out on the shelf – the customer then may buy your product.

The overall customer experience touches on various points of your branding, thus leaving that lasting impression or purchase. Having a road map that will show you which scenarios your customer might take next. You’ll want to know their path so that whatever direction they take – you be sure there are no loose ends of where your brand shows up.

 

Make it all come together

So by now you’ve established all the places your branding exists and you know where and how your potential customer is engaging with your brand. It is now time to make sure all the elements of your brand platform have a consistent and cohesive look and feel. Take a look at our case study on Painting Hamilton – their brand went from DiRago Painting to Painting Hamilton, and we cohesively made the connection across their brand platform to touch on different areas their brand lives including their logo, typography, colour, marketing materials, and web presence.

We may be biased but our recommendation is to hire a graphic designer. Ideally the person or team who helped you create and establish your branding from the beginning, to help you implement your brand’s platform across the board, wherever your brand shows up.

If it’s the person who initially created your brand – you can trust them to make choices on a whim when it comes to how your brand is applied across different facets. If you’re working with a freelance design, you may need to give them more direction until they are comfortable and familiar with the look and feel of your brand.

When working with a graphic designer, the more you can batch your projects together, the more seamless and efficient you can be with your budget and timelines. This means you’ll need to be more organized with your marketing strategy and efforts.

You might be inclined to tackle branding yourself – but we have seen far too many people butcher their beautiful brand by trying to become a graphic designer. It might be a little bit of an investment to hire help, but we promise it will save you money in the long run.

Posted on / by / in Advertising, Branding, Digital Marketing, Promotion

Branding checklist – the ultimate guide: Part 1

 

Your branding should tell the story of you, your company, and your business. A strong foundational brand makes your memorable and helps you stand out in the sea of competition. From the first impression of potential customers to the gushing reviews and raving referrals from previous clients – your branding is your key identifying factor.

When you have a reputation to live up to, it’s so important that you are consistently hitting the nail on the mark in all facets of your brand. From your company’s name, logo, colour story, photography, mission statement, tagline, voice and tone should be consistent across all platforms – from your website, print material, advertising, and social media. It should even spread across areas of your brand that you maybe haven’t even thought were necessary such as your own company culture, copy writing, sell sheets, and presentation slides.

IT ALL STARTS WITH YOUR BRAND PLATFORM

The first steps to putting together a killer brand are creating consistency and cohesiveness throughout all platforms associated with it. Here at AS Advertising, the brand platforms we create for our clients often include:

 

BRANDING


 

Logo design & development:

One of the key defining factors of a brand is its logo. A logo is a simple yet strategic visual mark that holds so much meaning. The most fundamental action of a logo is to help differentiate you from other businesses. A logo identifies key information about your business. It can communicate the industry your in, the services you provide, your target demographics and your brand values.

Brand identity standards:

This is a branding blueprint that goes into details about the visual parts of your brand including your logo (or logo suite if you have various versions such as horizontal and vertical applications), brand colours (including PMS, RGB, CMYK, and black and white versions), typography and fonts (and what applications they can and cannot be used in), branded icons, supporting patterns, graphics and photography.

Brand voice:

This includes anything with words – including your company’s name, tagline, mission statement (often known as the “elevator pitch”), a brand story (that connects the emotional “why” to your company’s services and offerings), copy writing (on promotional print material and online presence such as website, social media, blogs, course, presentations etc.).

“Your brand platform is the lifeline of your brand. It can be translated to all the places your brand lives. You’ll want to keep these items top of mind and revisit them any time you’re creating something new for your business.”

 

Once you have your brand platform defined, it’s time to take a deeper dive into the look, feel and voice of your brand and where it can be found. First things first – lets figure our where your brand is showing up currently.

 

ONLINE


 

Website

From imagery, key words, copy, typography, fonts, colours, and layout – your brands website is an essential component of your brand and a vital bridge for your clients to find and reach out to you. Your website should accurately reflect your brand and business offerings. Make it a point to review your website on a yearly basis to make sure that everything is still relevant.

Social media

From Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In, there are so many platforms out there to sprinkle your brand – and consistently too! Think about your daily posts, your avatar or profile pic, and your cover image and profile copy. These are all opportunities for consistency and cohesion.

Email

From your weekly newsletters to your email signature and even your actual email address – these are all opportunities for bringing your brand in.

Digital advertising

It is essential to make a compelling impression that grabs the viewers (and potential clients!) attention while staying true to your brand. Think about the messaging, the tone, and visual appearance – these are all elements to build your brand awareness.

 

Print


 

Stationery

Business cards, letterheads and company envelopes are all key touch points and opportunities to make your brand shine! No matter what people say – business cards are still 100% relevant. Often times they are your first point of contact when meeting someone. Make sure you are memorable by investing in quality designed and “nice feeling” business cards – it’s often the deciding factor to keep or toss a call card.

 

Brochures, folders, posters, books, and informational pieces

All of these are branded components that need to be visually connected and consistent with your brand.

Packaging

If you sell products, is your packaging delivering the experience you want your customers to have? Does your packaging stand out on the shelf in the sea of competition? Is it memorable? Does it link to your branding (visually and through it’s tone and messaging)?[/vc_column_text]

IN PERSON


Spaces and events

Office, work, and shop spaces, trade shows and vendor events – when it comes down to in-person events, it’s all about building your brands experience. Engage all the senses – smell, taste, and sound. What kind of lasting impression do you want to linger? These small details are often left out of your brand platform, especially if your business is mainly online. However, they are considerations that can make or break that first impression for a potential or existing client.

Signage

From your logo signage, window graphics and clings, to directional and informational signage, and car or vehicle wraps – these strategic applications of your brand deserve consideration. They will set you apart from the competition and will leave that lasting impression.

Your personal style and appearance – The way you show up to networking events is a reflection of your brand – especially if you are a personal brand. If you are not a personal brand, you and the employees you are hiring are a reflection of the company you stand behind.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & Video


 

Photography

Photography is a facet of your brand that can show up in various applications of your brands platform –in person, in print and online. Photos set the tone of your brand and build a story – you know that saying “a picture speaks a thousand words”. Consider a series of photos including headshots, candid working photos, styled shoots and product or service photography, and conceptual or environmental images to help portray and your brands story and message. We recommend hiring a photographer on a yearly basis for a branded shoot, including headshots and supplementing with stock photography with your brand standards in mind.

Video

Strategically incorporating video into your branding helps your audience visualize and understand your story. Videos captivate your audience along with building trust. When your potential clients see you and what you do in action – it bridges that gap of the unknown. Videos help visualize your process and are insightful for those “behind the scenes” footage

 

Hello from AS Advertising from Dino Giudice on Vimeo.

 

Stay tuned for The Branding Checklist – The Ultimate Guide: Part 2 where we walk your through how to put these elements together to leverage your brand

 

 

Posted on / by / in Branding, Packaging, Promotion

The Importance of Packaging

Packaging is not supposed to be an obstacle to people buying the products.

Anyone who’s purchased anything from Apple in the last decade knows how beautiful an experience unboxing their products is. Not only is this an exciting process but there’s an aura of intrigue that makes the product something greater.

Packaging is an integral marketing strategy to glamorize a product in order to attract the consumer’s attention. Many consumers will judge a product by its packaging before buying it, so creating compelling and alluring stationary will build first time buyers intrigue.

Packaging is literally the product identity. Another all time classic case of is the Coca Cola bottle. On it, Coke displays an instantly recognizable logo and distinctive shape, which propelled the product to global fame. In many cases, as with coke, the packaging is so important that it costs more than the product itself. As a result, packaging should be included amongst the four P’s of marketing: product, place, promotion and price.

According to Marty Neumeier in his book The Brand Gap, “A retail package is the last and best chance to make a sale.” Given that not all brands are products and not all products go retail, the truth is that product and package design are vital when it comes to brand image. Consider that more than half of purchases are based on emotions, especially when a client is unsure and must choose between two brands of products.  It’s no surprise that companies that master the art of aesthetics are on the top of their game- Apple, Bang & Olufsen, Nike, IKEA, Nokia, or Cassina- design is what defines them and gives them their competitive edge.

What exactly happens when we find ourselves in front of an aisle with tens of hundreds of products just staring back at us? We start to compare, remember and associate. Bear in mind that the brain is prone to classifying everything around us- it’s the only way we can organize everything we see, hear, feel or know. Filling that slot or opening in that mental category is crucial, it’s what we marketers refer to in our jargon as the ‘Top of Mind’. Whether we associate the product with its ad, with a friend who we know that uses it, or with the packaging color and layout, those elements mean in our mind- elegant, simple, tacky, appropriate- product design involves form and function and for many, implies the beginning of the brand experience with the client. In some cases, it triggers the basis for customer loyalty. Even shopping bags speak to our clients and influence brand perception.

The following summary touches upon the most key points to consider when having an agency brand your company’s packaging:

 

Function

The purpose of product packaging is to protect the product from damage. Product packaging not only protects the product during transit from the manufacturer to the retailer, but it also prevents damage while the product sits on retail shelves. Most products have some form of packaging. For example, soups must have a container and package while apples may have packaging for transport but not to sell the product from the produce department of the local grocery store.

 

Attraction

How a product is packaged may be what attracts the consumer to take a look on the product as is sits on store shelves. For this reason, many companies conduct extensive research on color schemes, designs and types of product packaging that is the most appealing to its intended consumer.

 

Promotion

Packaging also plays an important role for portraying information about the product. Outside packaging may contain directions on how to use the product or make the product.

 

Facilitates Purchase Decision

Packaging may also contain ingredients and nutritional information about the product. This information can help to sell the product because it allows potential customers to obtain the necessary information they need to make a purchase decision. Information contained on a package may propel the reader to buy the product without ever having to speak to a store clerk.

 

Differentiation

Packaging can also differentiate one brand of product from another brand. Because the product packaging can contain company names, logos and the color scheme of the company, it helps consumers to identify the product as it sits among the competition’s products on store shelves. For example, as a shopper walks through the coffee aisle of the local grocery store, the bright orange, pink and white packaging of the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee brand may be easily recognizable for the consumer to grab on his way by the coffee shelf. The shopper may identify with the company brand, which propels them to buy the product. If the product packaging changes, it may alter the brand perception of the company, which doesn’t mean that the consumer would not still purchase the product, but it may delay the purchase until the person is able to identify the product according to its new packaging.