It’s important for senior living providers to remember that your company logo is not your actual “brand”. As Gienna Shaw, author of “What’s Your Brand?” for HealthLeaders Magazine reminds us, your true brand “walks on two legs”. That is, your brand is a lot more about your company’s interactions with customers and its perceived behavior than it is about any symbol or icon. Simply put, your brand is how the rest of the world sees your organization.
Your Brand and Visual Identity are Separate… but Equally Important
But while your logo is not your brand, it is very important that your visual identity is presented in a manner that is both complementary and complimentary to your brand and what it stands for. The consistency of your visual identity in all aspects of your communication strategy is also vital to imprinting a unique and recognizable look for your company in the marketplace.
In his article, “Is Your Company Suffering From a (Visual) Identity Crisis?” author Drew McLellan discusses the key elements required in creating an effective visual identity for your company.
Says Mr. McLellan, “In today’s world, companies appear both on and offline at a staggering rate. “We’re everywhere from an e-newsletter header to a Twitter background in the online world and in the next minute in the offline world, on sales flyers, trade show booths, and golf balls.”
“Consistency is one of marketing’s cornerstones. “The more each communication reinforces and builds on all the others, the quicker and more easily your audiences begin to link them together. “From that linkage comes recognition, interest, trial, and eventually, loyalty.”
Tips for Getting Your Visual Identity Together
McLellan shares the following key elements to keep in mind when creating your visual identity:
Whether it is a type-only treatment, a combination of words and a mark, or in some rare cases, just a mark alone, your logo is one of your organization’s greatest assets. Your logo should be legally protected, of course, but, equally important, is to have exacting standards for how it should and should not be used.
Type and fonts
One of the more interesting changes that came with the computer is our ability to choose among the myriads of fonts available. Fonts and colors bring with them certain connotations. We’ve all seem how people use some handwriting fonts to evoke a more informal tone. Script fonts bring a formality to a printed piece.
You should have a small family of fonts, each with a designated purpose (headlines, body copy, etc.) and discipline yourself from straying from that family.
Colors come loaded with meaning. Even a variance within a color can change the feeling or meaning. Think of what happens with a shift from lime green to pea green. Your goal is to own a color. When I say Coke, you think red. When I say McDonald’s, you think golden yellow. UPS went to the extreme of calling themselves “Brown” in a series of ads.
Choose a single color or combination of colors that speaks to your brand’s personality and then do not allow anyone to take even the slightest of liberties with it.
How your tagline is presented visually (font, proximity to your logo, placement within an ad, or other marketing tool) is another visual element that you can and should control. How you handle your tagline will communicate as much as the words within the tagline.
This is a tougher one to control because the medium you’re working in may not allow you to be 100% consistent. Think of the Absolut Vodka campaign. The ads (whether they are online, print or TV) all look the same. There is a beauty shot of the bottle and a headline that included the word Absolut and another word or two. There is a very small amount of body copy at the bottom. Aim for that kind of well-articulated design, so your brand is instantly recognizable, even before a headline or logo is.
While creating a strong and consistent visual identity may take some special expertise, it is worth doing right. Done correctly, your visual presentation can help to further define your brand, build awareness and strengthen your company’s market positioning.