Living in the so called “Information Age” makes this a great time to be in business. We can reach more customers in more ways than ever before. While this is good for us, it is also good for everyone else. If we are going to succeed and stand out, our branding needs to be as clear and easy to understand as possible.
Each of us encounter thousands of ad messages every day. Whether we are in the car, on our computer, using our phones, or basically doing anything with our eyes open, there are ads in front of us. In order to function throughout the day we’ve learned to filter through this sea of messages and only give our attention to a select few, leaving the vast majority swept aside and completely ignored. To ensure that our brand is one of those special few that are given the time of day, we have to be very intentional about how we present ourselves.
Few stages of our branding are more important than the first impression.
The average person spends only one or two precious seconds looking at an ad or website before deciding whether or not to engage or move on to something else, and that’s only if the content catches their attention in the first place. It’s difficult to recover from a bad first impression. If our brand and content are difficult to understand, even for a split second, the customer is gone. Here are a few tips to help make sure your brand is making a clear and positive impression.
The Glance Test
If someone glances at our logo, or website, or marketing content and they can’t immediately understand what they’re seeing then changes need to be made. We suggest that you actually test this: find someone that is unfamiliar with the content and quickly show it to them for 3-5 seconds. Ask them about their knee jerk reaction, where their eyes went first, and see if they can repeat back to you what they saw. This is a great way to get a real feel for how people experience your brand, and whether or not you need to improve the clarity of that experience.
Color is a fundamental pillar of branding. We’ve all likely given significant thought to the color or our logo but how intentional are the colors in the rest of our content? We recommend that every business have a designated color palette to use across their different platforms. Consistency will go a long way in building brand recognition and reinforcing your brand’s image.
*Pro tip: Another great way to use color is by guiding your customer’s attention. If there is something important that you want a customer to pay attention to, whether it’s a call to action button or an advertisement, make it a color that draws the eye and says “Hey, look over here, this is important!” It doesn’t need to be a bright neon color if that doesn’t fit your brand, the goal is to simply and tastefully make it stand out from the colors and content around it.
Brands are a lot like people, they have unique personalities and distinct communication styles. Your energy level and tone say a lot about you as a company. Whether you’re a high energy outdoor adventure brand or a low energy luxury destination spa, make sure that you are engaging your target audience with the appropriate amount of energy.
How do we want them to feel when they interact with our brand? Motivated? Calm? Secure? Try using an easy 1-10 scale to define your energy level and tone, and use that as a reference when interfacing with your customers.
Clear and consistent experience is what makes a brand feel familiar, and it builds trust between us and our customers. Keep optimizing your branding and use simple tools like the Glance Test to gauge the effectiveness of the changes you’re making. In time we hope that the most obvious evidence of your brand’s clarity is your bottom line.