Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Why Maintaining Visual Brand Standards Is So Important

Throughout my career I’ve often been challenged (sometimes I was even the one doing the challenging) about why it is necessary to adhere so closely to established visual standards regarding a brand. So what if paragraph copy comes too close to the brand logo? And why can’t I stretch the logo to fit my funky giveaway item? Most importantly, I don’t really like those colors—can I make my brochure “hot pink” so it will stick out?

The answer is a relatively simple one. Brand visual standards—your logo, color palette, font type, image guidelines, and the rules governing them—are intended to reflect and visually reinforce your brand value proposition. After all, a brand is not what you say it is, it’s what your customers say it is. The best way to get them to say something consistent about your brand is to be consistent in your portrayal of the brand. And that means being consistent in the way you represent your brand visually.

This assumes of course that your company, or whoever owns the brand, has done their homework in ensuring that your visual brand strategy, when implemented properly, accurately reflects your brand value proposition. For the purpose of this discussion, let’s assume that it does. Then it is in your best interest as an ambassador of that brand to adhere to the visual standards of the brand. In doing so you train customers to expect a certain “look and feel” from your brand, and that consistency will theoretically cause them to feel about your brand the way you want them to feel. Doing anything else will send mixed messages the end result of which will be that you functionally have no brand whatsoever.

And if you have a strategic marketing group responsible for maintaining these visual branding standards, you might want to consider cutting them some slack when they tell you you’re not adhering to those standards. They’re not trying to be draconian. Rather they are doing what is in the best interest of the brand—it’s their job to do so. I’d suggest you thank them for looking out for the brand and take their advice if it seems sound. A strong brand will make it easier for your company to differentiate itself in the marketplace and ultimately be more successful.

No comments:

Post a Comment