Think of any visual application outside of the logo itself. Which colours are being used? What typeface is the headline in? How is photography and imagery being included?
Your customers have an opinion about your company or product long before they step into your store or office, even before they do a quick search on Google. This opinion usually forms within the first three seconds.
Do you want that customer to give you a second look, or are you happy with them brushing you aside for the first brand they see that has a clever headline, clean imagery and an appealing colour scheme?
More importantly, do you want to have a clear direction with all of your advertising before you even get started or will you be starting from scratch with every creative campaign?
You know your brand like the back of your hand - whether it’s consistent or not. The easy mistake to make however, is when you assume your customers see everything the same way you do. That photo in your company’s last Instagram post, you used because a family member took it and thought it looked cute? Your customer might disagree - even if only subconsciously.
Your imagery and language needs to be appropriate for your customer base, otherwise you will lose the connection with them - and in this thumb scrolling age we live in, there’s always someone else with captivating content.
It’s no coincidence the biggest and most successful brands in the world also have extremely good visual identities. The bright and punchy ads by Apple, the Golden Arches of McDonald’s, the sweat covered athletes and the swoosh of Nike, the red and white of Coca-Cola. They’re all instantly recognisable and connects with people on an emotional level.
You can’t build a great brand without a great product, great service, innovation and hard work, however, you also need to look the part and communicate properly with your customers.
Now that we’ve covered what a great brand might look like, it’s also worth noting that for every great brand, there’s a bad one too - but it’s difficult to remember them. Why? Because nobody noticed or understood them enough to care or remember. Don’t let that be you. Taking a risk with your brand by cutting corners will end up costing you a lot more in the long run.
It pays to have your visual identity considered and implemented at the same time as your logo, not only practically, but financially too. Having a clear direction and having every element considered before your brand even sees the light of day, means you have your brand under control and you can be confident that your messaging will appear consistent from next week until next year.
It also means that each time you turn to a new advertising agency or freelance designer for a creative campaign, they won’t have to charge you the time it takes to reinvent the wheel. If they have a style guide to work from, that’s one less thing both you and the designer have to worry about.
Having a reliable and consistent visual identity builds trust with your audience - they know what to expect and they know it’s you when they see your ads, even without seeing the logo. The combination of colour, images and other graphical elements form a template that makes your brand instantly recognisable. Though, this doesn’t mean that every visual identity is successful. Having these elements will get you halfway there, but if it’s not executed well, you’re wasting time, money and energy.