What do companies like Apple, McDonalds, and Nike have in common? They all have corporate logos that are instantly and universally recognized; but is this the case for your small business?
Each company has a distinct visual image that is consistently applied to build brand recognition, leading to brand identity and loyalty. Here's a look at the various visual devices your small business can use to achieve greater success through building a consistent corporate image.
Created to identify your company in its simplest form, your business logo must be clean, simple, and easily recognizable. Among graphic designers, the supreme test for any logo is that it should be easy to read when reduced to one color and one inch in size.
The Apple logo passes that test with flying colors. And because it's scalable, the logo works just as well on an iPod as it does on a building. A great logo should also convey a message that ties in with the company's prime objective. The Nike logo does this perfectly, as the iconic "swoosh" suggests movement and action, which is what the company's "Just Do It" slogan is all about.
Corporate Color Scheme
Colors convey emotion and can be very powerful when incorporated correctly into a company's visual image. In the early days of Apple, Steve Jobs insisted on a multicolored logo to give his computer company more of a human touch. Over time, as consumers came to recognize the clean and sleek design of its products, Apple's logo followed suit with a cleaner and decidedly cooler look.
To insure brand recognition and continuity, all stationary, including letterhead, envelopes, business cards, etc., should carry the company's corporate logo and color scheme. This rule also applies to notepads, internal memos and all other items designed for employee use---as in-house branding helps build unity and brand loyalty among employees.
Corporate Marketing Materials
When Andy Warhol created his iconic Campbell's soup can lithographs, the reason they were so successful is that they looked exactly like cans of Campbell's soup, in both image and color.
In producing corporate marketing materials such as nametags promotional banners, brochures, books, flyers, signs, websites, etc., companies should use the Warhol approach, staying true to their company's logo and color scheme. Deviating from the corporate look only serves to fragment and dilute the overall brand.
With so much competition in the marketplace, product packaging should stand out by incorporating the corporate logo and color scheme in an attractive and user friendly format. A great example of a company that knows how to promote its brand through packaging is Amazon.com.
Sporting the elegant Amazon.com logo with its ingenious built-in smile, the otherwise plain shipping boxes can be spotted by their anxious recipients at a glance.
Ever go to a store and have a hard time recognizing the employees from the customers? Company uniforms should make employees immediately recognizable by bearing the corporate logo and color scheme. Case in point. Back in 1916 the founders of UPS chose the color brown for uniforms and delivery trucks. Used on Pullman railroad cars, brown was associated with class and professionalism. It also really helped to hide the dirt. Today UPS holds two trademarks on their particular shade of brown, and their uniforms are instantly recognizable.
Building a successful brand doesn't happen overnight. By tapping into the power that comes from achieving and maintaining a consistent corporate look, companies stand a much better chance of being successful sooner and staying competitive for the long run.
Bio: Robert Cordray is an expert in business marketing. With over 20 years of business experience, Robert now consults with companies helping with their branding efforts such as name tags, lanyards, and various types of signage.