Guest Blog by Rachel Reiter, Hopscotch Graphic Design.
Have you been wondering how to ensure a consistent visual brand online? Hold up!
Firstly, it’s important to understand what your brand is. Your brand is a summary of your business’ personality, vibe and vision. It’s a combination of your core service or product, strategic positioning, creative visuals (including colour palette, fonts, graphics etc), tone of voice, key words, service scope and marketing collateral (this list could go on forever!). Above all, your brand is how your audience feels about any or all of these things. A brand is something that can only be built by carefully piecing it together over time.
Whilst your visual branding is only one element of your brand, it is a key component in gaining control over the message that you’re sending to your ideal client, and ultimately how people will react to it. The key to successful visual branding is consistency. Showing up in the same way, with the same colour palette, fonts, logo (and/or brand marks, branding elements etc), images and visual vibe today, tomorrow, every day, amen.
Here’s three ways to ensure a consistent visual brand online:
1. Invest in your visual branding.
Lay the foundation and create a visual brand that reflects your business’ core product or service, goals, vision and mission. Use your client avatar as the centrepiece. Your entire branding strategy should be built around your ideal client and how you can make them feel attracted to your brand. The goal for your visual brand is to evoke specific emotions and feelings.
2. Stick to your style guide like home-made slime to your carpet.
Once you’ve got your visual brand down pat, document EVERYTHING and do not stray from it. Ask your designer to create a style guide for your brand that you or other designers have no scope to blur the lines.
Specifically ask for:
a. Guidelines for using your logo and sub-logo;
b. Colour palette breakdown: Pantone, CMYK, RGB and HEX colours;
d. Core branding images and/or the tone and content of images that align with your brand; and
e. Branding elements and patterns associated with your brand.
Print these guidelines and place them next to your workspace so that there is no guess work when creating visual graphics for your brand. You might be surprised how tempting it is to get ‘creative’ and do something different. DON’T DO IT! All you’re doing is creating gaps in your visual brand, which will confuse your audience. Remember, to ensure a consistent visual brand online, the keyword here is consistent!
3. How do you show up in all of your brand haunts?
Whether it’s Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or your website, your audience needs to know where they are and who they’re looking at, at all times. As soon as they get a whiff of a confused message, they’ll be outta there.
Stop and think. Do all of your social channels visually align with your website, email signature and Facebook advertisements? Take a click through your customer journey, through their eyes. Ensure that your logo and branding elements are visible and noticeable. Use your brand colours, fonts and images so that there can be no confusion that your audience is in the right place.
Consistent use of your visual brand instils trust. It gives your audience no reason to question your credibility, brand integrity or your brand message. Don’t forget, establishing a visual brand that aligns with your vibe is what will attract your ideal client. By using your visual brand and style guide you will be miles ahead in ensuring a consistent visual brand online, and that your customer’s journey will be smooth sailing.
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