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
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.
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
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!