Using Design to Build Awareness

Once you have made the investment in the creation of a company identity – a logo – how should you utilize that to build a customer base? The impact of that graphic asset on your company’s growth depends on how you manage it. Hopefully, you’ve worked with your designer to map out a strategy. If not, allow me to offer some practical advice:

Invest in the development of a unique graphic identity. People remember things that are visual more easily than they remember things they hear. Create a strong visual and you will have the basis for your customers to remember you.

A strong and unique graphic identity will not be acquired from an online logo mill or bidding site. Shop around and select a designer that will work with you to develop the right mark for your company and not settle for something expedient and cheap. Effective design requires an investment of both time and money. This investment will yield a good return over the long term.

Be consistent in the use and look of your logo. From signage to stationery system to direct mail to web site to fleet to sales presentations—the message, look and voice must be consistent throughout. The best way to achieve this is to keep every touch point under one roof. In other words, stay with the designer who developed your identity. Go back to him or her to create print promotions, sales materials, web site, email marketing, signage, etc. Invest in his or her expertise, knowledge and experience to manage all your graphic assets. Don’t fragment your brand.

Be true to your graphic standards guide. Identity design services should include a graphic standards manual that defines color palette, criteria for use, etc. Your designer can put this together when the final logo is determined. Everyone concerned with your company should follow this manual; it is your roadmap for your brand. If you don’t know who you are as a company and what you should look like, how will your customers know?

Keep your marketing materials current. Don’t return to what worked three years ago. Your market has changed, and so must your marketing materials. If people have heard something before, they’ll ignore it: “Been there, done that.” Notice how even that phrase is so 1999! Don’t allow yourself to be archaic. Even if you have 5,000 brochures left over from a trade show two years ago, have the courage to recycle them and invest in something fresher. Have new materials with an updated message designed and order smaller quantities to use up all within one year. Keep your web site current as well and visit it often.

Use many roads to lead people to your brand. If you have only a web site, how will people know it’s there? You need direct mail. You need advertising. By utilizing more avenues in marketing you provide more opportunities for your customers to experience your brand. More opportunities create greater awareness and increase perceived value. Work with your designer to plan out the needs of your brand and be consistent in providing regular ongoing experiences for your audience to get to know your company. The more ways in which you put yourself out there, the more you will be recognized. People will say things like, “Oh, there’s Alvalyn again, sending me this post card. I was just reading her blog. She designs influence and helps companies achieve their marketing goals by giving them great creative solutions. My company is developing a new product and we need her to help us establish a strong presence for it in our target market. I should contact her right away.”

Alvalyn Lundgren

Alvalyn Lundgren is the founder and principal of Alvalyn Creative, an independent consultancy providing brand strategy design and bespoke illustration for more than 30 years. She is the creator of Freelance Road Trip — a business school and podcast for creative freelancers. She teaches design and design practice on the college level with design schools and programs.