You know how when you see or hear certain advertisements, you can identify the company immediately even if the ad spot is brand new?

Credit solid branding.

the GEICO Gecko

The GEICO gecko.

 

Local car dealership Eastern Motors.

I dare you to watch the ad and not have the jingle stick in your brain like an 80s 1-hit wonder.

 

IBM Blue paint in 1401 Demo Room

Or anything featuring IBM Blue.

Add a dash of IBM Blue to any visual ad, and the recognition is near-instantaneous.

Your brand may not be as iconic as IBM, but that doesn’t mean you can’t build a visual identity that sticks.

I was thinking about visual identity following a conversation the other day with a new business owner. Her two branded materials–business card and Web site–look nothing alike. Of course not, she said, they come from two different places. Well, yes, but

This is not a criticism.

Brand consistency is hard work.

Mine remains a work in progress.

When I started my business, the words “brand identity” were not in the mix. I was focused on clients, and business development, and marketing, and having quality materials. Consistent look and feel? Not so much.

Today my Web site, my business card, my print stationery, my digital stationery, and my e-newsletter template are all in alignment. But I still haven’t quite figured out the banner imagery for my social media properties. (As I said: a work in progress.)

I’ve talked a lot about brand experience, digital ubiquity, and understanding your touchpoints. These are all part of an organization’s brand. But so are the visuals (and/or audios).

There’s a reason companies build branding guides.

The more you can align your brand identity, and the earlier you start to do this, the better your business and all the little things you do will resonate with your target audience.

Photos by silviaphoto77, mrt77, and stewf.