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The importance of branding

  • Nici Mancini, Founder of Purple Mosaic Design and Branding, sits down with Entri and talks Corporate Identity.

     

    Question 1: Who is Nici?

    Nici: I am a graphic designer with a focus on branding for companies. I would be your brand custodian, so working with you right from the start all the way to you expanding your business and making sure that your branding stays intact throughout the company's life.

    Question 2: Why is it important to have branding and CI?

    Nici: A corporate identity is a customer or clients first point of contact with your brand. It has to portray everything about your company the values, the tone of voice its services when you aren't there to actually explain what it is that you do. If your brand looks unprofessional you're likely to want to go and look elsewhere because you're not gonna develop a trust in that brand because of the way it looks.

    Question 3: How do I find my brand?

    Nici: You need to know what it is that you're looking for so strategy comes into play. Strategy should come into play with any business, with any business owner you should know what it is that that you're looking for. You should know what it is that your business is about and who your target market is so that you can find the appropriate people that'll service what it is that you're trying to achieve.

    Question 4: What techniques can I use to raise brand awareness?

    Nici: First, when it comes to branding strategy again get your marketing strategy in place. Then once you know what it is that you're going to be saying, how you're going to be communicating that, then you look at starting with a logo and that that's not the end of a corporate identity. A corporate identity is so much more than just a logo and a business card. You have to remember that that logo is going to appear on all kinds of branding. It's going to be maybe on something moving like a car or it's going to be the first thing that someone sees when they come into your offices or it's going to be on something as small as a pen. You again need to know what your strategy is so that you know how that logo and how that CI is going to be communicated from the first day of business right up until 20 years down the line. You need to have an idea of where you're going to go so that we can start by making sure that your brand encompasses all of that and it has legs to be sustainable throughout your growth as a business.

    Question 5: What is a brand guide?

    Nici: I can't stress enough how important it is to have a brand guide in place because you might start out with one freelance and then as your business grows you move on to someone else and you need to be able to transfer that information to the next person who's going to be handling your branding. In that brand guide, you would mention things like how to use your logo on light backgrounds on dark backgrounds, how it gets used in signage then what kind of typefaces do we use when it comes to print when it comes to online communications, what are our colours do we use cool colors when we're talking about certain things or warm colors and in other situations. You need to also list in your brand guide what is the vision of the company who are we talking to, who's our target market so that everything that gets produced matches that identity that you're trying to portray. Photography as well plays an important role. You want the photography to be appropriate to your brand. You don't want to be shooting your pack shot that's a natural remedy on a clear background or a white stark background. It needs to be something that feels natural that that feels warm. You would mention in your brand guide what the do's and don'ts are in terms of sourcing imagery or photographing imagery for your brand. Then from developing a brand guide you can in-hand an art to whoever's going to handle other aspects of your branding. One person might not do everything for you it depends on your budget and how you start out, but if you're going to transfer your branding to an agency they should at least see what you have in place in terms of a brand guide. Let's say you're gonna use Quick for instance to design your website they need some point to start from that's where your brand guide comes in place. They need to know what kind of language to use in generating the content on your website. They need to know what kind of images to source; again they refer back to your brand guide.

    Question 6: How important is a website for branding?

    Nici: A website is as important obviously as your logo because these days people don't interact with you as a brand unless they've actually managed to stalk you online first. They go through a number of different companies. They look; they see do I trust this brand? The person that referred me, does this match up? It can also reflect badly on your referral if your site looks unprofessional or corporate identity looks unprofessional because you start questioning well the person that referred me are they even professional. It's not great to set up a relationship like that because of poor branding I mean it has such a knock-on effects to have a poor CI, by CI I mean corporate identity.

    Question 7: What mediums are there to implement brand strategy?

    Nici: It depends on who your target market is. Every brand out there needs a website and a logo, decent corporate identity those are your standards. You don't do anything these days without a website. Then there are other ways of communicating. You know a lot of people say, oh well let's just print a flyer and we'll do a flyer drop. Flyer drops don't really work these days nowadays if you're going to do a flyer drop you actually do it digitally. The same principle put your specials, your offers or whatever on a PDF and it gets emailed out to a database of clients. Some people have a database already in place because they've been working freelance before they've actually starts at an official company, other people buy databases. There are other ways of communicating as well if you have a lot of money you could do a billboard but then is it appropriate for your brand? You really need to look at what is appropriate for your business. Things like printing on two USBs and dropping them off at clients if you're an IT company is great because that fits in with your brand but it's not so great if you are a service a medical provider. Let's say a therapist or something like that there you would want to look at something a little bit more personal so rather doing a PDF email with some information about who you are and maybe a case study is a bit more appropriate. You really need to think about what's appropriate for your brand. There's no one-size-fits-all, again you really need to know who you are, what you're about and who your target market is.