6 Ways to Improve Your Brand Awareness
Hi friends! Today we're talking about brand recognition... PLUS, I'm going to let you in on a few secrets and show you exactly what to do with all those brand elements you have floating around for your business. Whether you've had your brand developed by a designer or you're wanting to develop your brand yourself, this is for you!
First, what is brand recognition?
Well, the simple answer is that brand recognition is when you instantly know who a social media post, a brochure, a commercial, an ad, etc. has been created by before the actual name of the company is given. Meaning, you'd be able to guess who made it even if they didn't say their name.
You know those commercials you know are from Target in the first 10 seconds? Or those pins on Pinterest that you can guess the author of instantly? It's just their style, right??
THAT'S brand recognition at its finest.
So then, why does it matter?
Brand recognition matters because your followers love you. They want to support you and they stand behind what you stand for. So it makes sense that if they know that something is from you, they would be more likely to read it, share it, and engage... right??
Right! So, make things easy on them by creating consistent visuals that they are sure to recognize instantly.
How do you improve your brand recognition?
Well, if you've had your brand fully developed lately, you (hopefully) walked away with a LOT of different things...
1. A color palette
2. Your brand fonts
3. A moodboard
4. A main logo
5. An alternate logo
6. A submark
7. And maybe some brand elements and a brand style guide or brand board too
But now what?? It can seem overwhelming to know exactly how to use it all in a way that is both efficient and consistent, so let's break it down.
First of all, you want people to instantly know that it's YOU when they see anything you put online. You know how you're scrolling Pinterest and you see a pin from a blogger you love? You know it's them instantly because of their colors, fonts, style, logo, etc.? That's what you want your followers to think about your stuff. Instant recognition because it's clear and most importantly CONSISTENT. This is where all of those things I mentioned above come in.
If consistency with our visuals creates brand recognition, then our goal is to create visuals that look... well... consistent (duh, Sandra... right??). Today we're just talking brand aesthetics and not so much messaging and positioning. So let's get started!
That consistency starts with your brand colors... you should be using the EXACT same 2-4 colors all the time. (And yes, you may have 4-6 colors selected for your brand by your designer, but unless you really know how to use all of the colors, I would recommend picking a main color to use most throughout your marketing, and then choose your 2-3 main alternates or supporting colors to use alongside it. This will help keep it simple for you to manage. Be consistent with how and where you use your colors.
It's the same with fonts. Always use the same 2-3 fonts all the time. In everything. Period. Sometimes you may want to branch out, but DON'T. Incorporating different fonts that aren't cohesive to your brand identity will only decrease your brand recognition and professionalism to your viewers
Something that may not have been discussed in the brand design process and that most people don't think about but is HUGE with keeping a visually consistent brand is your pictures.
The pictures you use in your business matter BIG TIME. I mean, look at Instagram feeds. The most visually captivating feeds (and typically the ones with the most followers) are the ones that are consistent. Maybe they have a bright, fun, and colorful feel using lots of vibrant colors. Maybe they are black and white but full of contrast that pops. Maybe they are toned down and warm. Maybe they are light and airy with lots of whites. Whatever the style is, be consistent with the images you use throughout your brand (and this goes beyond Instagram and into Pinterest pictures, social media posts, website images, etc.). This is why it is SO important to properly prepare for your brand photoshoot. (If you need help preparing for your branded biz photoshoot check out this post!)
And now on to the topic of your logos. So, how are you supposed to know when and how to use all the different logo variations?
Well, to make it simple, you will use your main logo whenever it looks good to do so. If it fits in the space well, it looks good and is legible, then use it. If you have to shrink it down to a size that is hard to read or it's on a colored background/image that makes it difficult to see, or it just looks odd to use your main logo in the space you're working on, that is when you can pull the other logo files out of your back pocket.
I try to make the main logo wider and alternate logos a little more vertical... why? Because sometimes the place you want to put your logo just doesn't have room for a wide logo. So, at that point my clients can pull out a more vertical version of their logo and place that in the space. And if that doesn't work, then a submark will do!
LOGO RULE: NEVER, EVER distort or stretch your logo. If it doesn't fit, then use another version!
Your submark is just a simple version of your logo that represents your brand. Usually, there is no text on a on a submark.
Let's say you're creating a multi-page pdf document and you want your brand to be seen throughout each page, you can use your logo on the front and back covers and use your submark on the pages between. Submarks are also often used in social media posts like a stamp that says 'hey, this is me!'.
6. Mood boards and brand boards
Designers put together mood boards for two main reasons.
First, to be sure that they are on the same page (visually speaking) as you. They want to make sure that the ideas that are popping into their head about your brand are the same ideas you have in your head. One of the hardest parts of the design process is getting YOUR vision out of YOUR head and onto 'paper'. Because, well... us designers aren't mind readers!
The second reason...
Your brand is not simply one logo or a set of colors... but your brand is an entire entity. It's like it's own ecosystem. Each element working together with the other elements to achieve the exact perception that you want. Because of this, it can be very helpful to get a quick 10 second glance of what your brand is all about as a whole... not just bits and pieces here and there. The mood board does just that.
Down the road when (or if) you're working with a different designer on an element of your brand, then you can share the mood board with them and they can get an idea of what your brand is all about without having to spend tons of time figuring it out on their own... or worse, guess.
This is why it's SO important to get your mood board to the point of REALLY loving it. The colors, the feeling, the mixture of elements. It's important to not focus so much on the exact content of the mood board... but the overall feeling.
Well, there you have it!! Hopefully this clears up some of the brand element confusion. And one of my biggest tips that you can begin implementing today is... be CONSISTENT!!
Use the same colors, the same fonts, in the same way... over and over and over. It may seem boring, it may feel like it's getting old, but I guarantee that your audience will start recognizing your stuff and if you're creating great content to go along with it, then they will want to click that branded visual every single time!