Many small organizations see branding as a secondary concern that does not warrant their full attention, time or resources. But a report by Ipsos explains that a company’s brand has a profound impact on the success of its business because the brand helps to build customer trust and influence customers’ willingness to act on marketing messages and pay a premium for the company’s products and services.

The case for investing in your brand

A brand is the full combination of what your organization does, how it sounds and what it looks like. The most neglected portion of this equation is often the visual style. But having a strong visual identity gives you the biggest return on investment of any brand-building activity because it conveys messages in milliseconds and at a core, psychological level.

There are many reasons an organization may not invest in its branding: the belief that it costs too much, that it isn’t a good use of resources or that ultimately, the value isn’t there. The reality could not be more different: a strong visual identity and reputation are the backbone of a company’s marketing strategy.

We all make instant unconscious judgements based on appearances, and a sloppy presentation is likely to result in a negative one. When an organization’s brand identity is well-curated and represents its current identity, it will be able to reap the benefits in its customer relationships and return on investment.

Part 1 of this blog series detailed how consumer trust dictates

·       Customer willingness to give a company the benefit of the doubt in a crisis

·       Customers’ likelihood of believing and acting on a company’s advertising messages

·       Customer willingness to pay a premium for the company’s products or services

·       Customers’ likelihood of feeling good using a product or service from that organization

The impact of colour on human behaviour highlights the importance of visual identity. Research shows that up to 90% of the quick judgments (within 90 seconds) we make can be attributed to the colours used in a company’s branding. Customers are more likely to buy from your organization if they perceive that your brand colour is in line with the products or services you sell.

How to invest in your brand

At Halmyre, visual identity is not solely a creative process but also a business process that starts with articulating a clear value proposition. With that in place Halmyre recommends three ways to keep up your organization’s visual identity in support of a strong brand reputation:

1.     Conduct a visual audit

Assess your organization’s logo, website, social media profiles, stationery, photography and anything else that is a visual component of your brand. This audit, to be conducted yearly, is to ensure that all material is on-brand and that you are putting conscious effort into your brand materials and the way your company presents itself.

2.     Update your company’s style guide

A style guide establishes consistency regardless of how many people are involved in creating your visual brand material. The guide should specify your brand’s colours and font to set the tone for all visual communication. Your organization’s style guide needs to be updated as your company and brand develop.

3.     Conduct a brand refresh

You should conduct a brand refresh every three to five years to ensure your brand stays current with the changing market. A brand refresh does not mean starting from scratch, but could include updating your logo, tone or product/service offerings.

Your organization’s visual brand should not be an afterthought, but an intentional and core part of your marketing strategy; it’s one of the most powerful tools to influence your audience. Practice regular visual audits to grow alongside the changing consumer market and retain consumer trust. Read the first installment, “The Impact of Reputation on Your Organization – Part 1” to learn more about the importance of a brand’s reputation on customer trust.

About Christine Saunders

Halmyre President Christine Saunders is a marketing consultant to service-based organizations, a strategic advisor to marketing executives and leaders, an entrepreneur and a hobby farmer. Prior to founding Halmyre in 2014, Christine owned a traditional integrated marketing and communications agency specializing in financial services, public services and not-for-profits. Her education is in politics, ethics and philosophy, and she is a proud Maritimer despite living in Upper Canada today.

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