Consistent Branding – Coca Cola’s ‘One Brand’ Strategy

Consistent Branding – Coca Cola’s ‘One Brand’ Strategy

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When we work with clients on branding projects, the one thing we always say is that consistency is the key to building a recognisable brand identity.

A brand must be consistent in its design and messages in order to be successful. Consistent branding will:

  • Look professional to create a good first impression
  • Build on the brand identity to achieve long term familiarity and loyalty
  • Give out consistent messages to consumers

Without consistency in your brand, your customers may become confused by the messages you are delivering and start to lose the trust that they have built with your brand.

As we have said many times before, a good, strong, consistent brand is key for any company of any size. Although I am going to use the new brand strategy of Coca-Cola as an example, the same theory applies to smaller companies.

Coca-Cola have released images of new packaging designs, which will be rolled out later this year. Gone is the silver Diet Coke can, the black Coca-Cola Zero can and the green Coca-Cola Life can. They are now all being unified under the Coca-Cola name, with a red disk forming the basis of the new designs. This is the first time in 130 years of the brand that the visual identity has been shared across the product packaging in this way.

Now, you may argue that Coca-Cola has built an incredibly successful brand over the last 130 years, without this level of consistency, and therefore question how important it is.

However, if we look at the way the world has changed, it is apparent that there are so many more marketing outlets today than 100 years ago, and the internet has brought about a greater need for brand unity because the messages can get diluted the more widespread they get.

Another reason for the ‘one brand’ strategy is the increase in product choice, that has made it more difficult for consumers to make a buying decision, perhaps because they don’t know the differences between the zero, light and life options.

So how is this relevant for your brand?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my brand identity consistent across all of the visual elements that my customers see?
  • Does my brand identity work across all marketing platforms, online and offline?
  • Have I introduced new products/services in the last few years and does the expanded offering work with the current branding?
  • Are my brand messages still relevant to my target audience?

If you would like any further information about brand consistency, or any advice on how to develop your brand, please give us a call or drop us an email.

Until next time,
Gemma

Branding – Your Online Identity

Branding – Your Online Identity

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The way your brand is portrayed online should be at the top of your branding priorities list, as websites are now often the first port of call for customers looking for a product or service.

Firstly, let’s think about why we have a website and what is its purpose.

A website is our online identity and a way for potential customers to find out information about us before choosing to make contact or purchase from us. Because the user is not meeting you or speaking to you directly, they have to judge the personality and values of the company on the basis of the website design, structure and content.

So a website has to reflect everything about the company to successfully represent the brand…quite a big responsibility!

There are currently 966 million websites in the world and because it is so easy to just click on to another site if you don’t find what you are looking for, or don’t connect with the brand, it is becoming increasingly more important to create a great first impression.

The brand identity must be inviting, the content must be engaging and the website should be efficient.

Here are a few basics to help:

  • Write down your site goals, audience needs, key messages and brand personality and work them into the website design
  • Determine the site structure before the design
  • Anticipate growth
  • Don’t wait until its perfect to launch it, constantly make it better
  • Keep asking yourself: is the message clear? Is the content easily accessible?

A website is a brand tool that needs to be cared for over time. The best websites are constantly updated, amended and monitored.

If you need any help or advice with your website, just call us for a chat.

Until next time,
Gemma

Why Do You Need Branding Guidelines?

Why Do You Need Branding Guidelines?

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Branding guidelines are the glue that holds your brand identity together; it holds the key to consistency and integrity of the brand.

We come across so many companies that do not have branding guidelines and experience a lack of consistency with their marketing, which leads to diluted brand messages.

And it is not just for big companies. Even the smallest of companies can benefit from a set of standards for their brand, which outline the basics, to help all employees portray the brand consistently.

It is the responsibility of everyone in a company to read and understand the branding guidelines in order to communicate the brand effectively to customers. It should become part of day-to-day business to just know the right fonts, the right colours and the keywords and messages that are key to the brand.

Branding guidelines are also essential for any external companies that carry out any creative work for your company, such as designers, advertisers, copywriters, architects etc. Most agencies will provide your branding guidelines as an electronic file that can simply be sent to any external partners who may require them.

In their most basic form, your branding guidelines, may simply include your logo, fonts and colours.

A full set of branding guidelines should include your logo, fonts, colours, exclusion zone, marques/icons, correct logo usage, taglines, graphical elements, examples and what the brand stands for.

Maybe you have branding guidelines, but they sit in a folder somewhere and no one really uses them?

All of the elements of your brand have been specifically been chosen to represent key values of your company, so there is no point having them & not using them!

They are there as a tool to help build your brand and it is not just the responsibility of management, but every employee within a company to adhere to the guidelines. For example, for new starters, the branding guidelines should be part of the induction process. And never think it isn’t relevant to a particular person because their role doesn’t involve marketing, or design, or sales. Every employee will communicate with external companies, by email and telephone, and perhaps by letter, and there should be consistent visuals and language across all communications.

Hopefully I have explained the importance of branding guidelines in a clear, concise way, but if you do have any questions for our brand stylists, please just contact us.

Until next time,
Gemma

Colour in Branding

Colour in Branding

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Colour theory is a central and often overlooked area of design, but it is paramount when it comes to branding. In an ever-growing marketplace, it’s more crucial than ever for businesses to differentiate themselves from their competitors to create a powerful, lasting impression on their audiences.

On a basic level, the colours on the warm side of the spectrum (such as red and orange) portray confidence, energy, playfulness and are attention grabbing, while their colder counterparts (blue and green) emanate security, health, calmness and responsibility in a generally more reserved manner. However on an emotional level, in terms of how consumers feel when they look at a particular colour, it’s likely that factors like personal preference, experiences, cultures and upbringings often obscure the effect individual colours have on us.

Colour can aid in communicating brand characteristics such as modern, traditional, luxurious, budget etc. as well as give clues on market position, cultural views and a variety of other positions and research has shown that there are real connections between the use of colours and customers’ perceptions of a brand’s personality. Certain colours will undoubtedly align with specific traits (e.g. green with environmental, purple with sophistication, and black with luxury) however you could argue that it is in fact far more important that your brand’s colours support the personality you want to portray instead of trying to align them with generic colour associations.

In the world of branding, choice and use of colour used correctly provides a business with an enormous competitive advantage by allowing instant brand recognition – in fact a majority of the most recognisable brands in the world rely on colour as a key factor in their instant identification.

Below are snapshots of 16 of the world’s most recognisable brand marks cropped to show a clear representation of their brand colours, but only a fraction of their logotype or symbol. Test yourself to see how many of the brands you can identify with colour being the primary visual driver.

ColourInBranding

By carefully selecting their colour a brand can carefully craft and communicate powerful messages, even without words, so choosing the best colour for your branding is an integral part of the design process and it is worth spending the time to get it right. Consider how consumers will feel when they look at your brand; but also on a practical level, how will it stand out from your competitors on the shelf or online?

We would love to hear why you chose your corporate colours so please let us know in the comments below.

And if you need some advice and guidance as to which colour(s) would suit your business type, just ask our brand stylists.

 

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Answers: 1. BP  2. GE  3. Nike  4. McDonalds  5. T-Mobile  6. Coca-Cola  7. Skype  8. Orange  9. HP  10. Cadburys  11. Heineken  12. Caterpillar  13. Harrods 14. Virgin  15. Puma  16. BM

Where to Go First? Branding Agency vs Web Agency

Where to Go First? Branding Agency vs Web Agency

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We have come across a few clients recently who have had a new website created before coming to us for branding. Branding should be the starting point for everything in your company and although we can design a brand identity with a website as the basis, this really is the wrong way round. It can cause problems with creating the right impression with the desired brand values and also, by using files from a web agency, it can also cause technical problems.

I was recently sent a logo by a client who wanted it blending into an existing letterhead and business card layout that they had for other brands within their company, so that they had a uniformed look across their brands.

The problem I had was that their new logo had been created by the company that had recently produced their new website. As I have covered before, the rules for print are different for web and just because it looks good on screen it doesn’t mean it will look good in print. The logo had been saved as a low resolution file (e.g. jpeg, png, tiff) in RGB colour mode and I had to colour match the CMYK colours already used in their other print. Having requested a CMYK vector (ai) file, I was sent the same as before, which was no help at all! Luckily we have the skills here at Hyphen to recreate the look, so we had to do this to keep our client’s brand looking consistent.

This is not an uncommon issue that I come across, especially as so much business is now done online. For some companies, it seems that their starting point for branding is to talk to a dedicated web company that sets up their website and therefore the brand style. The problem is that a lot of web companies design for web only, which means low resolution pixel files in RGB that won’t translate easily into to print or other marketing materials. Not all web companies are like this, but sadly there are enough to make this a common problem which does cause brand consistency problems as a company starts to expand their brand beyond the website.

Online marketing is a very important area for businesses but it is important to get the brand and its guidelines in place before starting a website, or any other marketing materials. We are experts at making a brand look good not only offline, but also online as well. We have set up brands for many an organisation, who has then either asked us to create the design for their website, or asked us to supplied correctly set up files to the web company of their choice so it can be used on a website and matches consistently with all their other marketing.

If you are not sure where to start, we can offer free advice, so just contact our brand stylists.

Until next time,
Jason.

Ensuring Your Brand Identity Looks Good on Screen and In Print

Ensuring Your Brand Identity Looks Good on Screen and In Print

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It is important for your branding to give out the same message wherever it is seen or heard. For your visual identity, that means that consistency and quality are key. In the digital age, it is becoming increasingly important to look good on screen, but most brands also still have printed marketing materials, such as corporate letterheads, business cards, leaflets, brochures, or perhaps product packaging.

Designing for screen and designing for print are actually very different and we hope to help you understand the complexities involved.

In terms of designing for print, the first thing to understand is what you see on screen is not an accurate representation. Print is not based on what your screen shows you but how the design is built. The screen on your computer displays in RGB, and tends to work at 72dpi, which may be ideal for websites but not print. Most print is CMYK or pantone and images need to be at 300 to 450dpi for print (I tend to find 450dpi gives a better print result than the standard 300dpi).

Even if you get the correct settings you still need to understand how colour is made and how easy it is to get it wrong. Black is a colour that can be made in a huge variety of ways and on screen it will look the same, but when printed it can show these differences. You can make black with the K plate, which is ideal for normal text, you can add Cyan to make it a rich black for solid areas or you can use all 4 plates when blending with an image. The key is to ensure that the colour breakdown of the black is the same across your artwork. As an example, I have seen images with a 50c, 50y, 40m, 95k black breakdown blended with a 40c 100k rich black. This looked fine on screen but would have printed with a clear difference. Remember the screen is not a judge of how it will print, so to ensure your print looks high quality and therefore makes your branding look good, you need someone experienced in designing for print to look beyond it.

To get the best out of your print, make sure all images are converted to CMYK and are set to at least 300dpi at size of print. Ensure that colours are CMYK if you are having process print or Pantone if you have spot colours. Most importantly, check your file to make sure your colours are correct to those that are in your branding guidelines.

Branding guidelines should set out your brand’s colours, fonts, styles and sample layouts, all of which should be used to by your designer to ensure consistency across all of your printed and online materials.

For any further advice in this area, our brand stylists can help, so just give us a call.

Until next time,
Jason.