What flashes through a lady’s mind when it’s the time for a new handbag? Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada, Gucci?
Have you ever thought why these names are the first to pop out in mind? The reason? It’s pretty simple. Because these are branded goods. A branded good tells its quality, features, values, status and uniqueness. It is their identity. How? Think of a company and imagine calling their customer service. When one’s answering the call, you would expect an elegant and professional style in speech, especially for top brands like Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Imagine yourself walking into their showroom. Would you expect something of middle-class, or something highly grand, posh and luxurious?
As you can see, it tells about a brand as though it is a person. You would know what a brand is known for, what it is selling, and what it offers and whether or not if it is trustworthy. This time, think of IKEA. What do you know about it? Without anyone telling you, you would probably have known IKEA yourself. You know it sells home furnitures. It offers highly affordable price to most people. And it has many designs that come with multiple functions. You would also trust it because you knew their products are high in quality. Whenever you want to buy home furnishing products, you would at least thought of IKEA first before proceeding to the next available options. This is an example of a successful branding.
Having such strong featured identity, it makes no sense to have a weak visual representation. A company always wants their customers to remember how the company looked like and how its name being represented. People tend to remember things that are attractive and iconic, and it is through wordings and images that are unique to their own that stuck onto people’s mind easily. This kind of branding is called visual branding.
Visual Branding is a company’s visual representation that in a way communicates a company’s identity such as its values and personality through compelling imagery and design style that is unique to its own. It carries its very own design elements such as shapes, colours, typography, and images. Visual Branding enhances the brand identity and makes the brand easily identifiable. It is crucial for the success of a brand and business.
Let us take McDonald’s as an example. Its big letter ‘M’ logo is in a way unique to its own, and the moment a person sees the same ‘M’, the person could immediately identify that it is McDonald’s. Like when we thought of IKEA, the moment we see the ‘M’ even from afar, it tells us many things we know about McDonald’s just as if we recall its brand. In fact, seeing the visual representation ‘M’ here ‘forces’ us to recall everything we know that associates with the brand.
This is why the ‘logo’ that represents the visual identity is something so important that it must not be done simply. It serves as the very first communication tool that reaches your customers. It is best handled by professionals in order to give a proper representation that suits your company’s identity, expectation, style, as well as local culture.
Is it important to have a strong visual identity?
Of course it is! The power of visual branding in a way affects customers’ purchasing behavior.
A child might tell you he wants a pair of sports shoes with a ‘right tick’ or ‘three stripes’. If you propose for any other alternatives, he may insist on you to only buy these sports shoes with the iconic symbols that he wanted. Why does that happen?
It’s because the brand awareness is well developed, especially of visually. The ‘right tick’ or ‘three stripes’ give the sense of what they are and which company they are from, in which these particular visual identities give consumers, the child in this instance, a strong sense of reliability of the shoes. This leads to how these consumers become your loyal customers. They identify what and where your products or services are through the visual identity that you had set up. It is also easy to bring up to talk about whenever people sees the logo without the need to describe or explain explicitly.
To some even, where trust is built between the customers and the company, by wearing products that carry the same logo, they feel proud. These people are the ones who would not hold back to advertise for you, and because they’re using it everywhere and always, it is in a way advertising for you all the time.
Are you convinced of the power of visual branding now?
Once visual identity is established, it is important to focus on brand consistency to make sure the visual branding runs as intended and continues to stay alive. All corresponding materials such as letterhead, envelopes, signatures, stationeries and other advertising materials like signage must be consistent all across.
It might seems to be a small matter to allow small differences to happen in your logo, but don’t underestimate how much it influences your customers. A slight shift in the shade of color of your logo could raise suspicion and doubts about the genuineness of the product. Customers may mistaken it for a scam or product that imitates the original. A loyal customer is able to spot the difference(s) easily and quickly and start to question about the quality of the products.
Hence, brand consistency is as important as your brand image.
(Logo Usage Guideline)