Imagine that you have been invited to a wedding and, of course, you want to buy a new dress. So you start searching on social media, looking for local stores or designers.
And then you see it. According to the Instagram account of a local store, the perfect dress is waiting for you, right there in your city. You’ve never heard about that brand before, but who cares? They got your dress.
You don’t waste any time and you go to that store. Well, you try because the store doesn’t seem to be there. You checked the address again and you’re in the right place. You take a look around and you still don’t see the store. “Where’s my dress?” you wonder, gritting your teeth as if someone would have kidnapped your puppy. And right before you start hyperventilating you realize that the store was right there in front of you. Except, it seems a bit different. There’s no way to identify it. Nothing displaying the brand name or the brand’s colors. Nothing. So you go inside, ask for “your” dress which suits you perfectly (duh, of course, it does, it’s your dress) and you buy it. But still, there seems to be something missing. It’s like there’s a mismatch between the social media image of that brand and reality. So if nobody realizes that the store is there and it’s hard to identify it, this particular store’s success depends on referrals or people like you who wouldn’t stop looking for it.
Now imagine that instead of wanting to buy a dress you need medical assistance or legal advice. Would you feel comfortable if you noticed a big difference between what you see on a website and in real life? I would dare to assume that you wouldn’t.
So, how do you solve that part? By creating a solid visual identity system.
And what is a visual identity system? It’s a set of elements that will build recognition for your brand and that expresses your brand’s culture. In general, the basic components of a visual identity system are logo, typography, colors, and imagery. Each item should be considered individually but as a part of a bigger system which is your brand. Does it take a considerable amount of time to put it all together? Well, yes, but think of it as a long-term investment. If you have a cohesive visual identity system your brand will benefit from:
Even though mouth-to-mouth publicity is one of the most valuable kinds of publicity, you won’t need to depend (only) on it anymore for people to know about your business. If your store or office decor follows the image you show on your web or in social media as well as with your stationery and packaging or any other collateral it will be easier for people to recognize your brand.
Content creation made easier
Once you have established how your visual system is going to be, you will avoid long deliberations about colors or typography at the moment of creating content for your brand. In that way, you can just focus on your concepts and strategies.
Sense of belonging
You will have more chances to create a bond with your target market if they can easily identify you than if they don’t. And, that can be achieved thanks to well-designed graphics. Consistency will help you gain the trust of the people you want to reach.
So, I’m not telling you that you have to become the next Apple in terms of visual identity (how cool would that be?). I bet that you have already thought of all this in some way. You just need to go deeper into what you are already doing instinctively. Once you are happy with the results, make sure that you maintain what you created. Be consistent on your marketing collaterals, packaging, communications, etc., and gain the opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors.