When you’re just starting a new business venture, you’re basically working with a clean slate. You have no logo. You have no slogans or taglines. You have no official mission statement. Essentially, you have none of the important elements that combine to define a brand. This is an exciting time because it’s full of potential, but it can also be overwhelming for people who aren’t sure where to begin.
Determining Who You Are and Who You Want to Be
Every new company must establish its identity. If done correctly, this identity will become synonymous with your brand every time a person sees it. Just consider the thoughts that come to mind when you see the Nike logo, an Apple product or a brand-new Lamborghini. What thoughts do you want to come to people’s minds when they think of your company, products or services?
This is not as simple as it sounds, because this branding is how you will distinguish yourself from competitors. What makes you unique? Why should clients choose you instead of the competitor across town? What values does your company emphasize that will resonate with customers?
Your initial branding efforts should begin with internal research and soul searching. Here’s what you should be trying to discover:
- Your Goal: What is it that you are trying to accomplish with your products or services?
- Your Purpose: How will your business help people in their everyday lives?
- Your Clients: Who are you trying to reach? Who has a need for what you offer?
- Your Distinctiveness: What makes you different from other businesses offering the same thing? Do you have better prices, higher quality, more selection, better customer service, etc.?
- Your Description: What words would you associate with your company?
Symbolism and Imagery in Fonts, Colors and Wording
“You have to understand the art of imagery and symbolism so you can communicate a lot without saying a lot.”
Once you’ve conducted enough research to create the outline of your brand identity, the next step is figuring out the best way to convey it. Your branding should shine through in your company’s name, logo, colors, taglines, website copy and anything else associated with it. Consistency within your branding is extremely important, other you risk weakening it.
But how do you pack your mission statement, goals, uniqueness and everything else about your company into one logo? How do you convey everything that your company is supposed to embody into one six-word slogan? You have to understand the art of imagery and symbolism so you can communicate a lot without saying a lot.
The Psychology of Colors
One of the first things any customer will notice about your logo, web design or any other type of branding are your colors. Believe it or not, the colors you choose to represent your brand convey subliminal messages to potential clients. While there are no hard and fast rules that definitively assign certain feelings or messages to a particular color, multiple studies have shown that color greatly impacts the decision making of consumers.
One study, titled “Impact of Color on Marketing,” found that 90 percent of snap judgments made about purchases may be based on color alone, depending on the product. The study found that colors could be used to influence customers’ moods, appetites and perceptions. Another study indicated that purchasing intent is greatly affected by colors, with respect to how the brand is perceived and that certain colors will influence how customers view a brand’s personality.
The importance of color in marketing and branding is hotly debated within the world of psychology because people’s individual experiences play such a large role in their perceptions. Still, there are some commonly accepted maxims in advertising about colors:
Red: This color immediately attracts attention, making it a favorite for marketers. It is said to convey feelings of excitement. This is a common color used to push people to make quick buying decisions. However, depending on the context, red can be used to show danger, love or to convey energy.
Yellow: Yellow is the color of sunshine and happiness. It is also an attention-getter (see yellow-cabs) and produces feelings of warmth, joy, intellect, cheerfulness and energy; however, this is a color to avoid if you want to convey stability and safety.
Green: Green is the color of nature and is thus associated with growth, fertility, harmony, freshness and healing. Depending on the shade of green, it can also be linked to money, safety and stability. Because of societal meanings, green may also convey freedom, as it relates to a “green light.”
Blue: Blue is the color of the ocean and the sky. It is associated with stability, trust, loyalty, wisdom, tranquility and calmness. It is also a masculine color due to socialization, making it highly useful when targeting men. It is best to avoid this color when promoting food, because it is said to suppress appetites.
White: Associated with goodness, innocence and purity, white usually has a positive correlation. It can be linked to new beginnings, simplicity, cleanliness, hospitals, doctors and safety.
Black: The opposite of white, black is often linked to death and evil, but is also associated with mystery, power and elegance. Many of the associations of black are tied to societal connotations (black-tie affair, blacklist, black holes, grief, etc.).
There are endless color combinations and shades that can convey a wide range of different emotions. When deciding which color scheme would work for your company, in addition to considering the meanings behind each color, it’s also important to consider your target demographic and their potential perceptions of it.
Fonts May Speak Louder than Words
There are thousands of fonts for marketers to choose from, which makes choosing the right one a very difficult task. Do you choose serif or sans serif? Do you go for an elegant script or keep it simple with a standard Times New Roman or Arial? Do you want a playful font or one that denotes a higher level of seriousness? All of these questions hinge on the type of business you’re running.
Font Selection Tips to Keep in Mind:
“The font you select should look and feel appropriate for your business and demographics.”
Readability: The number one goal of any of your fonts is to be seen and read. You don’t want people to have to try to read your message, it should just happen naturally, and your font will influence that.
Appropriateness: Picking the right font should be like selecting the right outfit. If you’re going to work, you need to dress better than if you’re walking to the store. Likewise, if you’re going to a formal event, you need to be dressed even better. The font you select should look and feel appropriate for your business and demographics.
The right blend: Whether it’s for a website or some other marketing material, you will likely use more than one font to keep things interesting. You want to be sure that your fonts don’t clash and that they complement each other well.
Size matters: You don’t want the font to be so small that people have to zoom in to read your message, but you don’t want it so large that it looks juvenile (unless your target is children) and unprofessional.
Understanding the Power of Your Words
Whether on your website or in advertisements, you have a limited amount of time to grab peoples’ attention, which means you only have a few words to work with. You must make every word you use count. One of the best ways to do this is to understand which words pack the most punch.
Each of these words help tap into a person’s emotional triggers that will make him or her select one product over another. There are many other words that will resonate with your clients, and you will have to find the right combination that accurately represents who you are and what you offer, while also connecting with your clients.
If all of this seems overwhelming and difficult, it’s because it is. Picking the right colors, style, font, wording and other aspects of your brand identity takes careful research and planning, something that many business owners don’t have time for. Mary Pomerantz Advertising has spearheaded the branding efforts of countless businesses and can help you next. Contact us today at 732-214-9600 to get started.