Southampton’s central TSB allowed for a slightly unusual, cosy setting for this month's GoDigital Talk given by brand expert, Rachel Oliver. Replete with relaxed sofas and comfy chairs, the location suited the subject matter perfectly, even down to small details like branded marketing in the form of A3 framed posters displayed around the room. TSB's Branch Manager, Ben Kitchiner, introduced Rachel.
Go!Digital brings businesses in Southampton together over pastries and coffee, specifically to gain exposure to various aspects of digital marketing, but just as importantly for some pre 9am networking with fellow professionals!
To prove the power of brand awareness, Rachel showed three well-known brands without words. When taking the brand colours and iconography for Google, Cadbury and Coca-Cola, everyone in the room knew these companies. They saw the colour stripes for Google; the colour purple for Cadbury (with a glass and a half of milk of course); and the Apple symbol - all of which triggered instant recognition.
Rachel showed more examples of brand identities, and explained how different colour palettes and font styles contribute to the overall look and feel. Rachel also highlighted the five different elements that make a good logo; simple, memorable, timeless, versatile and appropriate.
Marrying the typography and palette with a clear brand statement is a useful exercise and a worthwhile starting point when preparing your brand. We were treated to a range of examples in which a subtle change in typography could easily convey an aspect of a company's identity.
With an increased level of recognition, a brand becomes the focus for the entire cultural identity of a company. Rachel emphasised that brand identity becomes a mission; not just a symbol for a company's achievement, but its values; originality; ideals and personality. When a customer connects or relates to a brand, it makes sense for companies to ensure that their brand is protected.
Having created the right perception, it is then down to a company to ensure a consistent experience throughout all communication, channels and media. This can be everything from business cards, email footers, paid ads, websites, to print and TV advertising. This is the essence of brand continuity. A brand evolves through typography, font and colour, and within a time and through reputation, it becomes a trusted icon.
We recognise within a few seconds when either an Apple or Ikea ad appears. So even though a product may vary, the familiar format sits comfortably with the audience. A brand should be represented at every point where the customer interacts with the company or product. If the customer can’t begin to recognise a brand from those essential use of brand elements, then brand awareness hasn’t been achieved and a company needs to withdraw, re-plan and re-engage.
In order to achieve brand continuity, strict brand guidelines need to be in place to ensure that every person working with the brand, be it internal staff members updating social media accounts or external companies entrusted to design a shiny new website, are consistently using the same elements to create a seamless experience from website to social media, from email to billboard ad.
And finally, once all these elements are in place, brand awareness can be measured in three different ways. Direct traffic results through Google Analytics shows users who have typed the brand directly into google and have therefore remembered the brand name specifically. Share buttons on blog posts can help organically increase brand awareness by encouraging users to share content on their social channels. Finally, social media engagement and channel growth can give a big indication of brand awareness. Are subscriber numbers increasing? Are people sharing content or interacting with posts?
In discussions after the talk, Rachel stated that trends can influence a brand's re-design, and that while this may be good in the short run, the very word trend suggests that a decision based on a trend may quickly see it go out of vogue, so take care when re-designing a trusted brand.
Overall, we hope this was a very informative talk and we have captured the highlights so you can find out more about building a successful brand in the video below.
Go!Digital and Blue Frontier work in partnership to create a range of talks on digital marketing subjects every month. If you're interested in coming along and joining other business professionals, please contact Joe Evans (Joe.Evans@bluefrontier.co.uk) for more information.