July 17, 2012 Branding No Comments

Ever wonder how Starbucks did such a great job with branding? Have you noticed the little things? Ever wonder how Apple is so recognizable? Have you noticed the little things?

Rarely do we notice what actually goes into a brand, but all of us respond to the marketing geniuses in Seattle and Silicon Valley.

What did Starbucks do? Well, they did a lot. They were the first to come up with coffee cup sleeves vs. double cupping to help us hold a hot cup. They use all earth tones in their décor and they were the first to use the color green for their straws.

Apple was amazing in other regards. Apple reinvented its products by using machined aluminum, giving them a somewhat space-age look. Apple also likes to use white in their advertisements. If you see someone speaking against a white background, you think Apple. Guess what else Apple made white? That’s right, you guessed it: white headphones. Apple was ingenious in developing the iPod brand by using white headphones. Now if you see white headphones, you think Apple.

Both companies have simple and effective brands, and they also have something else in common: They keep their brands consistent.

So, why am I writing this blog? Rarely, and I do mean rarely, do I walk into a practice that has matching collateral. The brochures, business cards, website, pens, note pads, posters, counter display and pocket folders have nothing in common other than the logo. The fonts are different, the logo is sometimes out of proportion, colors don’t match, and the paper types the brochures are printed on don’t match. Put simply, it’s a mess. It still boggles my mind how practices can spend so much on marketing, but so little to create brand consistency.

Figure 1: Sample style sheet
Figure 1.
 Sample style sheet

    Here are some easy steps you can follow to create brand consistency.

  • Hire a professional graphic artist. Ever heard the expression, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do a job, wait until you hire an amateur”? This quote is so true! The first step is to hire someone or an agency that can create exactly what you want.
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  • Create a style sheet (example: Figure 1). A style sheet determines what colors, typefaces/fonts, logo size and feel your ads will have. Every time your graphic artist creates something, he/she must use the style sheet to keep your brand consistent.
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  • Find a printer you like. A good printer can be a lifesaver. I have sent the same artwork to two separate printers and the colors were not identical. A good printer will ask you for the exact CMYK or Pantone specifications your brand uses. They’ll also make sure to use the same paper colors, thickness and finish.
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  • Don’t stray. Recently I had a client reorder giveaway items. They chose the color red vs. their brand of blue. They thought the color would stand out more; although that might be true, it doesn’t match their brand. So when you set these items next to their folders and brochures, they simply look amateurish and out of place.

 

Example of brand consistency
Figure 2.
 Brand Consistancy

Your patients want to know you’re a professional organization. They need to see brand consistency. Take these small steps and watch your brand come together!

Written by SMM