Branding is the iconic imagery that is combined with a company’s marketing message that identifies a particular product or service.
Call to Action
A company’s marketing message or call-to-action (CTA), which is a prompt to the target market to do something. In some cases it maybe to buy the advertised product, call for more information or simply spread awareness.
Branding should center around the CTA. Before you can start identifying your brand you need to know what your is client’s main message or CTA is.
Consider the following:
- What product or service do you sell?
- What do you want your target market to do?
Once you have a clear idea of the overall message or CTA you need to consider the design and tone of how that message will appear in the branding.
The design and tone of the message weigh heavily on client, the message and how people feel about the topic.
If an organization CTA is to spread awareness about drunk driving, which is perceived (felt to be) a serious topic, it would be best to avoid association with cute images and whimsical text. If you were to use such elements it would lessen the impact of your message and your brand.
On the flip side if your selling toy plush bunnies, you might avoid use of dark colors and formal typeface, that is cold and uninviting.
Elements of a Brand
The branding of an organization/product usually based on how their CTA is presented. This presentation includes:
- design – visual appearance
- tone – the feelings or mood of the design (ie. fun or formal)
- organization – the order of how the message is presented
- recognizably – unique look and feel that is distinct from other branding
- consistency – the same branding look and feel throughout different mediums (ie. print, web , etc.)
The companies logo is a great place to start when trying to get a feel for the company. A more formal logo might require a more professional brand message while an informal logo can lean towards a laid back tone. In some case the brand message your client requests doesn’t align with the look and feel of their logo. In this case it might be best to suggest updating or revising their logo.
When you finally do nail down the right design and tone, you want to make as recognizable as possible. This can be done by simplifying both the message and visuals that accompany it.
Lastly you want to keep the message consistent, throughout mediums, whether print, or web. The message should always be the same and portrayed in the same design and tone.
Although your branding should be consistent, this doesn’t mean it has to be exactly identical throughout mediums. While certain elements should always be present, it’s okay if some colors vary by medium or some copy is omitted because of space limitations. Keep in mind as long as the main brand is recognizable and the message is the same, it should be just as effective.
“EAT MOR CHIKIN” A Branding Message
To get an idea of an effective branding message, let’s take a look at Chick-fil-A.
As many US consumers of fast food know, Chick-Fil-A sells chicken sandwiches. There main CTA for their chain is for people to Eat More Chicken.
It’s a pretty simple message that gets to the point, and is easy for people to remember.
For Chick-Fil-A their current branding campaign started in 1995, when they decided to use the personification of cows writing signs that say “EAT MOR CHIKIN”.
The design and overall tone of this message was light hearted and fun. After all we know cows can’t really write signs and there is also humor in their spelling.
This simple message is also very recognizable. What other company uses specifically black and white cows standing up right to sell their product?
The message is organzied by telling the audience what to do (eat chicken) followed by where (Chick-Fil-A).
The message is also consistent. From billboards to merchandising either the cows or the “EAT MOR CHIKIN” phrase can be found. On Chick-Fil-A’s website there is even a full set of links just about the cows.