Creating a Consistent Brand

 

Would you ever try to assemble a puzzle with pieces from other puzzles? PROBABLY NOT.

Well, the same principle applies to your company’s identity, marketing pieces and brand. Oftentimes, a potential client seeks our services for a new business where we have the chance to give them a fresh identity and brand tailored to their message.

Or maybe we’re creating a campaign for a long-term client for a new product or initiative launch.

Either way, it’s our job to put the visual pieces together to get their message across.

But when too many cooks jump into the kitchen, things get messy.

Why things fall apart in building a brand identity

Ideas start coming in from uninformed outside sources –  oftentimes with good intentions. For example, in the early stages of design our team is zeroing in on the message, conceptualizing a logo and identity, mapping out a website, and laying out supporting campaigns…when BAM!

We’re presented with logo ideas from another designer, contact information for a website manager, and input from the latest marketing class the client took. Whoaaa.

Not surprising, the pieces don’t fit together.

When players are operating in isolation and not communicating, the concepts become misdirected because they are not focused on a clear message.

This creates a message and identity that is scattered… not what you are looking for when creating a brand.

The audience (aka potential clients of your business) need to see a clear picture. A well designed uniform brand attracts potential clients and gives the message that your business is SET UP FOR SUCCESS.

3 Things to keep in mind when branding your business

1. Develop a clear idea of what you have to offer your audience and who your audience is

It’s hard to communicate to an unknown audience. A misdirected message or campaign can cost your business clients and money.

Be sure that you are clear on who your audience is and focus a well-planned branding strategy with them in mind.

2. Keep the design consistent

When presenting your brand to your audience, you want to have the same targeted appearance across all of your channels.

This means that your brand identity and message needs to be clear whether a potential customer is on your website, checking out your social media, or reading an email from you.

YES, THIS CAN BE DIFFICULT.

It is a lot to take on a once, but it is well worth presenting your company clearly in every way.

To make it easier, work with a professional group, like us, that is able deliver a solid visual brand and, going forward, can provide guidelines and design elements that maintain brand consistency.

3. Plan for brand expansion

As the business grows, new services are added, trends change, and more audience touch points are developed (i.e. expansion of media channels), the brand and marketing will need to flex to continue to have an impact and influence. It’s critical to stay relevant.

To set up a consultation call contact us at hello@secretvalleylabs.com

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Storytellers

Last week we attended a fundraiser for a client for whom we had recently launched a new website. It was refreshing to have the time to stand by the bar and engage in a rambling conversation that flowed from one off-beat subject to another. Suddenly, our client mentioned he was going through our online portfolio and the big revelation he had was that we are storytellers. Exactly. He got it.

As he moved from the topic of one client to another, from identity to websites, he understood our work, he got the meaning – the message is the most important nugget of information and that’s what we focus on first. From there we have a foundation to design from – and to tell a story.

Stories enlighten, bring us together, captivate. Logos condense a story into a simple, memorable mark. Photography, typography, graphics and words explain a story in print and websites. Environmental graphics tell a story and guide. All the pieces come together to create an experience that reflects a client’s business. A brand.

We may not be sitting around a campfire or standing on a stage telling a story, but the visual stories we tell are just as intriguing…and vital to any business.

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Photo: Robin Cox

Everybody Needs to Find Their Way

Last year at this time, our client, Sodexo, was reaching the final stretch of their new, modern building construction. This new state-of-the-art building would house the Buffalo service center employees and move all operations from three separate office buildings into one. Gone would be the traditional cubes and tidy corridors. In their place, a completely open floor plan with centralized offices and plenty of collaboration areas.

One of the first problems to be solved was how were hundreds of employees going to navigate through the new complex. Secondly, how would the established corporate (Europe-based) brand be implemented to meet the needs of this regional, American office place.

Working closely with the Sodexo facilities team, key areas of navigation were determined and we began the process of designing signage that complied with the brand, identified area groupings, showed the way, was updatable and complemented the modern elegance of the building.

We searched high and low for certain products – personal nameplates that matched our specific design, steel wall mounts for wayfinding and conference room signs – with no luck. This  gave us the chance to work with local manufacturers to design and develop custom pieces. Results were a win-win-win.

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It Feels Good When Things Look Good

Last night a few of us from SVML went to the Todd Rundgren concert. He looked and sounded great, the band was tight and energetic and the crowd was having a good time. We had a blast.

What really hit me was the evidence of Buffalo’s ongoing renaissance. Its once defunct waterfront looked alive and inviting. Historic buildings have been renovated and the fusion of old and new architectural elements is successful. The beautiful old cobblestone roads have been restored and new walkways and roads have been built where necessary. Brightly colored Adirondack chairs dot the green grassy park area. The sleek sailboats and colorful kayaks filled the river entrance to Lake Erie. And the bright flags emblazoned with the Canalside logo (which is nice) fluttered in the lake breeze.

Seeing all those elements come together as a fresh Canalside brand made it exciting to be there. You felt like you were someplace special, as though someone (or a lot of someones) cared enough to invest the time and money into creating a new identity and brand. If they cared enough to put forth this effort, then it must be worthy of taking part in. That’s the importance of a strong, well thought out identity. When it looks good it feels important. And that makes people feel good. When you make them feel good, they remember.

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