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S is for Systematic: Abullard's ABCs of Branding

Develop a Brand Management System

Here are some of AbuLLard's recommendations for development a systematic approach to brand management. First, come up with some guidelines for any materials you are creating. Create a consistent look, a consistent feel, and a well-articulated message. Write the guidelines down and make sure everybody knows what they are and where to find them.

Learn to use your desktop efficiently - make it work for you. Have you ever had any training on how to use desktop applications effectively? If not, get some. Have you learned how to design effective materials in the electric media?; Or for that matter in print media? Build templates for all your office applications - every type of document, presentation, or web page. Create a library of appropriate images and store it on-line where it's accessible to everyone who should use it. Most importantly, write down your message platform so that every one knows what to say about your company, your products, your vision, your values. If you don't clarify your message, your marketing may sound like the jabberwocky � �Twas the brillig and the slithy toves..."

Start with a simple rule: �Text needs to be readable.� When we read text, our eyes register the contrast between the type and the background page (or screen). Legible text requires sufficient contrast between the type and the background. This becomes more critical as we age. Following this principal, light grey on pale blue, while elegant, is going to be hard to read.; Red type on black, while a great choice for the colors for a sports team, is also going to hard to read.

Specific guidelines include fonts used in your materials (a limited set), the color scheme, and the placement of your logo. Again, these need to be written down and very specific. For example, dark green is not specific enough for selecting a color. Specific color by PMS number, or specific color values (RGB, CMYK, or hex value for the web). Embed this information in templates then whatever you are creating will consistently have the right font, with the right colors, the right spacing, etc.

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Another principal is: �Get rid of the clutter.� Make it easy for your audience to pick out the main message, or to understand the imagery. If they can't find it, they can't remember it, and they can't promote your company.

To create a memorable image, select a number of images with a consistent style and appropriate colors to use in all your materials. For example, here at CattLeLogos, we use cows, sheep, and a small number of other characters. If you need a lot of diagrams, create a library of commonly used graphics. Select a �look�; and stick with it. You most likely need to standardize as few as 50 images to cover most of your needs.

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To get a clear message, �Keep It Simple!� Don't overwhelm people with words. Create a message platform - a collection a collection of messages that capture what you want each of your stakeholders to know about your company. Write it down. Choose the words carefully; associating a fixed collection of words and phrases with your company makes it easy for others to recognize your company.

If you follow this process, you not only have a clear and consistent presentation to your audience, you also have a simplified process to create your materials. This will reduce your cost, and your anxiety.; Don't panic, this will take time. But, if you do it you do you will get much better results, save time, and yes even lower your stress.

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Remember: "It's an ongoing process!" Even after you create your initial brand image and brand message, you need to stay attuned to your customers and market trends. This doesn't mean go redesign your logo every few years. It means:

  • Make sure you're MESSAGE stays relevant. This is not about changing a tag line. It's about the content of your marketing materials. GE still "Brings Good Things to Life". But their advertising focuses on technology now and a world wide perspective.
  • Make sure you are using to the right MEANS to reach your customers. There are so many communication channels today... traditional print and broadcast, web sites and e-mail, cellphones and iPods. Where are your customers getting their information
  • Make sure you have a plan for your marketing IMPLEMENTATION and give it time to work. Doing anything "once" won't work today.
  • Make sure you continue to EVALUATE how well your programs are working. Make adjustments.
  • Make sure you have the tools and process to MAINTAIN the kind of presence you want to have in the marketplace.

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If you need help doing this, contact AbuLLard. He'll be glad to help!

Topics on this Page
  • Legible

  • No Clutter

  • Simplicity

  • Ongoing Process

  • Read AbuLLard's ABC's
    E is for Economical
    O is for Ownership
    P is for Perception
    S is for Systematic
    Y is for Yin Yang
    See a complete list of AbuLLard's ABC's of Branding

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