If you’re wondering if there is a connection between branding and the success of your company, you’re not alone. This aspect of running a business is incredibly important, but is often overlooked. We’re here to show you how a well-maintained brand can be the difference between mediocrity and extraordinary success.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
We’ll begin by taking a look at the images below:
Can you name which company belongs to each of these images? Most likely, you can. These corporations have invested considerable resources into creating their iconic brands. The result makes their visual identity recognizable to the general public, even when viewers aren’t necessarily paying attention. Our brains operate in a visual manner; we are constantly absorbing information through the images we see on a daily basis.
Strong, cohesive branding is not something that is reserved for large corporations; small businesses can also greatly benefit from having a brand that is easily recognizable. It’s equally as important for smaller companies to have a powerful visual image, in order to to get them noticed and connect emotionally with their target audience. In recent years, there has been a strong shift towards city pride and a push to support local businesses. For small business owners, it can be easy to get caught up in the mentality that if you’re a small fish in a big pond, you don’t move the needle in regards to your impact on your community. Take that idea, and throw it out the window! If you are a small business, you have more influence than you may think.
Now, let’s clarify something. It would actually be misleading for us to tell you, “it’s important for your company to have a brand” because (get ready for it) you already have one, whether you know it or not.
Your brand is not just your logo, marketing collateral, or website. It’s the entire experience you provide for your customers. This includes characteristics such as your company name, the way you conduct business, the way you interact with your customers, etc. Perhaps an easier way to explain this is to replace the word brand with reputation. You have a finite amount of control over the reputation of your business, especially in the era of social media and online reviews. You don’t own your brand, but rather are a steward of it. Your job as a business owner is to embrace & maintain your brand, rather than letting it be haphazard.
Here’s where visual literacy comes into the picture (see what we did there?). Merriam-Webster defines it in the following way:
“Visual Literacy: the ability to recognize and understand ideas conveyed through visible actions or images”
This means that our brains can “read” images, much like the way we read text. Not only that, but we actually process visual stimuli faster than our other senses. In his book Learning and Leading with Habits of Mind, author David Hyerle writes that somewhere between 80 and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual. This is demonstrated by the fact that children typically can understand and recognize pictures long before they develop the ability to read. In the same way, we see and quickly recognize the images used on road signs, many of which contain no text at all.
Below is another example of this phenomenon:
When you view the shape to the left, you almost instantly possess all the information that is written to the right – without reading a word. This is exactly what your brain does when you see logos, signs, websites, etc. Even when you are not aware, you are processing visual information and “saving” it for later use. This is the primary goal of creating a well branded visual identity system for your company; you want people to remember you.
Your brand should be a direct reflection of your company’s personality. Is your product (and team, for that matter) playful and cheeky, or more low-key and “let’s get down to business”? The colors, fonts, and imagery you use in your branding should emulate these emotions. Viewers should be able to take one look at your visual identity and immediately get a feel for who you are as a company. It’s also important to make sure these visuals allow your potential customers to feel a cohesive experience through all marketing channels – from your website down to your email signature, and everything in between. This is the quickest way to build connections at every touchpoint. When it’s done correctly, you hit the mark by achieving an emotional connection with your audience.
Creating and maintaining a kick-ass brand will certainly take some time and effort, but the results will speak for themselves. We promise you won’t regret it.
Need some help with this whole branding thing? We know a company who would be more than happy to help 😉