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Robertson: Make sure your branding stays consistent, on point

Is your company’s branding consistent and relevant?

No matter how small or large, companies should always stay on top of their branding. All too often, companies invest in logos, websites, collateral materials, and marketing efforts yet fail to be consistent in their branding.

Branding is part of a process. It’s not something you conceive, check a “branding completed” box and then move on. Branding takes time and covers many areas, from the company’s name, mission, reputation, and identity to internal and external messages, signage, brochures, and business cards.

Does your company have a style guide? We’re not talking about a style guide as in “what to wear,” but rather a “go to” source to help your company stay consistent in branding efforts. Local companies as well as major corporations can prevent branding inconsistencies by having a style guide. A style guide can cover everything from logo use and placement to what ink color and paper stock to use.

Take a look at your printed materials, website, social media, signage, and workplace. Is the messaging consistent across the board?

  • Printed materials: It’s important to know the Pantone and CMYK breakdown of your corporate colors. If you’re not familiar with Pantone or CMYK color printing, here’s an example of how it works. You may tell your printer that you want a red and black business card. If you don’t provide the Pantone spot color or the CMYK breakdown of your specific red color, the printer has to come up with the shade that they think you need and you could end up with the wrong shade of red.

In addition, consider the paper used for printing. Are the paper texture, weight and quality the same for every business card in your organization? Do some employees get their own business cards printed, resulting in countless different business card styles throughout the office? If so, your company is not putting forth its most professional first impression.

  • Check your brochures or rack cards. Do you still need them? If so, are they current, informative, well-written, attractive, and of good quality? As with business cards, sometimes a company may have several different versions of handouts that don’t properly represent your image and brand.
  • Website: A company’s website acts as its virtual front door. Be sure that your design is consistent throughout the site and follows your branding style guide, and the content is useful, engaging and optimized.
  • Social media: Many companies start out with an aggressive social media presence but without a strategy and plan. Who is the target audience and what platforms do they use? What kinds of posts are appropriate? A social media style guide will help define who you want to reach and how.
  • Signage: From the building’s exterior to the interior, your organization’s signage projects one of the most visible images of your company. Signage is there to show people who you are and where you are located. It should properly reflect your company’s image, be well maintained and easy to read.
  • Workplace: Is the workplace clean, organized, safe, and updated? Are you attracting the type of employees you need? Do customers feel welcome when they come for assistance or information? Do vendors have positive experiences when they conduct business there? From the physical environment to the atmosphere, the workplace gives a real-time view of your company.

Ultimately, every business and organization has a brand and style of its own. From business cards to the website to the office, keeping a consistent brand message is key, and a style guide is one way to help your business stay consistent and relevant.

This column was compiled by Karen Geriner Robertson, director of public pelations and client development at RobMark – Web • Advertising • PR. She can be reached at karen@robmark.com or (912) 921-1040.

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