One of the most important but seldom appreciated parts of a business is the organizations brand. When you think of brand, many people think about their logo. While a company’s logo is a central part of their brand, it is just the beginning. While in its entirety brand spans every corner of an organization, we’ve broken down six elements of your brand that impact your marketing.

Sparkitects :: Six Elements of Your Brand You Should Understand & Define

What Is a Brand?

This is an oft-asked question that is difficult to answer. Many people have different interpretations of what a company’s brand is, and there’s no scientific or technical definition that we can all agree on.

Here’s our interpretation of what a brand is: a brand is the sum of all touchpoints an organization has with its target market. The full definition of spans an entire organization, intersecting marketing, sales, human resources, production, finances, legal and every other department in the business.

In the most holistic sense, brand truly spans every corner of an organization.

How Your Company Brand Impacts Your Marketing

But, being a marketing agency, we’re most interested in how brand intersects with marketing.

Your Colour Palette

The first impressions your brand makes is by way of your colour palette. Your logo is certainly a more important element of your visual brand, but the human brain processes basic colours faster than it processes more complicated imagery like your logo.

There’s a whole psychological science behind the emotional responses or meanings different colours trigger, and a deeper dive into colour theory would deserve its own post. While there are always exceptions about how different colours are perceived, here are some of the most common reactions associated with the different colours:

  • Reds: emotional intensity (such as love and hate); royalty; celebrity (like at red carpet events).
  • Greens: environmentalism, growth, nature, balance and harmony.
  • Yellows: happiness, energy, spirit, exuberance, strength.
  • Blues: strength, reliability, professionalism, expertise, authority.

Your colour palette should include primary, secondary and highlight colours you use in your brand. At minimum, you should identify the RGB, CYMK and (if you have a lot of print collateral) the Pantone representations of your colours. Your colours should compliment each other, or at least not clash. Think about how a primary hot pink might look with a pure red highlight colour:

Sparkitects :: How Your Colour Palette Affects Your Brand

Your Logo

Your logo is probably the most ubiquitous image associated with your business: it likely holds prominent positioning on your website, business cards, email footer, letterhead, print collateral, social media and pretty much any other marketing materials developed for your business.

Without exceptions you should standardize your logo so that you’re using the same logo across your entire marketing platform. Your logo is the starting point to build familiarity and trust. Using different logos can make people question if they’re engaging with the same brand. The *only* exception (yes, we know we started this paragraph stating that there should be no exceptions …) would be if you had variants of your logo such as a tall version that you might use on your letterhead but a short but wider version you use on your business cards. Without exception (and we mean it this time!) your logo should have the same elements, even if there are some slight variations in layout.

Your brand definition should address where and how different versions of your logo should be used, how much white space should surround it and how it can be combined with other visual elements.

We love this example the folks at Twitter include in their brand guidelines of how not to use their logo:

Sparkitects :: How Twitter Manages Their Logo Usage in Their Brand Guidelines

Your Fonts

The typography you use in your marketing collateral might not be as impactful as your colour palette or logo but is an important part of your brand visuals.

Through the course of time there have been thousands of different fonts developed. Fonts come in all different shapes and sizes: scripty, boxy, fancy, plain, with and without serifs, playful and serious.

Your brand might also feature multiple fonts. You might have one font for headings, a different one for subheadings, and a third for your body text. If your logo is a wordmark, you should be careful to choose fonts that complement (or at least don’t clash with) your logo.

Also consider font consistency across your online and offline marketing. Web safe fonts can be natively displayed on your digital marketing platform, and most can be downloaded as to be used in print collateral. Not all fonts, however, can be used on digital platforms. Using one font in print material and a different one for the same purpose online can lead to brand inconsistency.

Your Imagery

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? This cliché is derived from the premise that the human brain processes images significantly faster than it can read and process text. Further, pictures – especially those of humans – can trigger an emotional response more powerful than even the most flowery prose.

All things considered: your imagery is a very important part of your visual brand. Whether your imagery is iconic, isometric or real life, features pictures of your products or people using your products, close up or from a distance, the images you use in your marketing are crucial in communicating your brand.

Another real-life example: in their corporate brand guide, Walmart specifies how lifestyle photograph imagery should be used:

Sparkitects :: How Walmart Define Lifestyle Photograph Imagery in Their Brand Guides

Your Language & Tone

Whether your marketing includes short, punchy snippets or longer passages of content, the language and tone you use should be part of your brand definition.

Your language and tone should match your target demographic: if you’re selling corporate ERP systems to Fortune 100 companies then you should choose appropriate language and tone. If you’re selling belly button rings to 16-year-old girls, your language and tone should be quite different.

The language and tone you use should be consistent across your marketing platform, but also across your organization. Imagine encountering a brand’s online presence that feels formal, sophisticated and professional. How would it feel if you chatted with someone from that company who was loud, a little obnoxious and more than a bit rough around the edges? That brand inconsistency might make you feel a little unsure about dealing with the company, which is not what you want when you’re trying to appeal to your target market.

Your Brand Values & Traits

Why do your customers buy from you? Unless you’re an extremely small segment of the market, the products and services that you offer are not unique: other businesses and organizations are offering the same or very similar types of products and services.

So why do your customers buy from you? There’s something about your brand that resonates with them and makes them buy from you above all the other companies they could buy from. It could be exceptional customer service, great prices, fast delivery, a great warranty or something visceral like how they feel when they interact with your brand.

The core of why your customers buy from you comes from your brand values and traits. Understand and clarify why your customers buy from you and keep this messaging and feeling consistent across your entire marketing platform as part of your brand definition.

Intentionally Good Marketing in a Minute

Establishing a strong brand is something that most business owners don’t pay a lot of attention to. While most people think of their logo when it comes to brand, you should consider your colour palette, logo, fonts, imagery, language and tone, and brand values and traits. By developing a consistent brand, you can effectively build the familiarity and trust prospective buyers will need to buy from you.

Have you defined these six elements of your brand? If you haven’t, we’d love to help – give us a call and let’s chat! By taking a strategic approach to using the right types of marketing services, we can help you grow your business through intentionally good marketing!