Could it be a Coke? OK, maybe a Diet Coke? Think about it. All you have seen is a portion of this logo and yet you know what the product is. Coca-Cola has done a marvelous job of branding their products over the years—consistent color, consistent look. This is a powerful logo and an example of effective branding. So how do the rest of us move toward the same level of recognition?

Do the Research
When you are developing your company brand, you need to consider your industry and your audience. How does your competition brand themselves? What is their message? Most important, what makes you and your business unique? That is your focus!

What is your Business Personality?
Do you want to project confidence? excitement? trust? whimsy? etc. What is your style? I wouldn’t recommend a caricature for an attorney’s branding, but it certainly would work for a toy store. Make sure your marketing is in line with your business identity.

Consider Color
Are there colors that are standard for your company’s industry? If not a set standard, I’m sure there are colors that are certainly more appropriate. You wouldn’t use pastels for a construction company, but you could use them for a salon or florist. Color communicates as much as design and content, and you want your branding in sync with your unique message.

Color also inspires emotion. There are colors that create excitement and others that have a calming effect. Think about the décor of a restaurant…Fast food?…red, yellow, bright…Get your food! Eat! Get out! And then there is the restaurant where you want to linger over each course. The ambiance is quite different—soothing, rich colors, candles—ahhhhhhhh!

Size Does Matter
Yes, when designing a logo, this is important. Your logo must display well on the side of a bus but also be simple and clean enough to be legible and effective when sized down for a business card.

Be Consistent!
Why is it that you can see a portion of the Coca-Cola logo their product comes to mind? Consistency! Since 1886, this product has utilized the same color scheme in all of their marketing – advertisements, billboards, vehicles, signage, packaging—It goes on and on! The look of the logo may have been tweaked a bit; but overall, it is the same design as it was a century ago.

Is your branding consistent? Take a look at your marketing collateral, social media, website, packaging, your office, even your voicemail recording. A uniform message matters!

Finally, YOU are part of the brand as well. In particular for public speakers, wearing a signature color becomes part of the product and part of the brand. Keep that in mind if you are in the public eye. (and aren’t we all?)

Your Branding “Experience”
This article focuses on the power of your company logo and its importance in your marketing, however brand development is so much more than a logo. A business brand is all about an experience. If you think about Coca-Cola, what is their “experience?” Happiness, joy, everything good! In fact, their current tagline is “Open Happiness.” It doesn’t say anything about quenching your thirst or giving you a sugar boost; but guaranteed, you’ll be “happy!” Who wouldn’t want to experience this product!

So what do you want your clients’ experience to be? The answer will be different for each of you, but it is a question to be considered and a path worth taking to communicate a consistent company message.

I Sell Recognition
As a graphic designer, I sell “recognition.” You want your audience to remember you and your business. Once your branding is established and your message clear, be consistent. Communicate your message in everything you do and everything you produce…from your business card to your website; from your elevator speech to how you show up at a networking event.

Who knows, someday perhaps someone will catch a glimpse of your logo or hear your tagline and YOU will come to mind. Effective branding is all about 24/7 marketing, whether you’re in the room or not!


About Your Columnist

Donna Watson is a featured columnist for Women Taking Charge, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she covers guidance and tips on how to personally brand yourself and your business. Donna has been “the mouse” behind Designer Mouse Graphic Design since 1994, helping her clients promote their products and services and get their message out through website development, online promotion, email marketing and printed marketing collateral.


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