5 Tips for Effective Identity Communication
Whether you have an existing brand for your business, or are looking to establish one, there are some very important aspects many overlook. If you’ve read the book Blink then you understand the importance of ‘snap judgements’; these are decisions one makes about his/her subject almost immediately. In an informationally dense age, historically speaking, we rely more on split second judgements in our decisions. “Yeah, I get it Riley, but I still plan to have x customers spend 30 minutes on the website.” I’m glad you mentioned that, the author Malcolm Gladwell argues that too much research actually negatively impacts proper decision making. The culprit is likely prejudice, bias, and stereotyping; both individually and socially. The split second decisions weigh heavily on our unconscious and intuition, which are developed through knowledge, experience, and training. “You’re losing me Riley.” To pull it all back, people will be making some pretty quick decisions on how they feel about your business. In order to stay on your site for those 30 minutes you need to appeal to your audience. Think about your brand, your identity. Does it make you feel giddy when you look at it? If not, you probably need to consider these tips for identity communication.
1. The Colorful Perspective
Part of visual communication to your customers/clients is color. You probably know at least a little about color meaning/symbolism. Remember mood rings? The chart of colors for a mood ring is said to correlate to a particular mood. I couldn’t imagine something I purchased in a gift shop for a couple bucks could forecast my mood to those around me, just wishful thinking. But the important part is to consider the roles each color plays in business translation. Also, culturally and demographically color symbols vary so be sure to research your business colors in respect to your customer/client base. Here are some basic colors and their perceived values:
- Red: Danger, excitement, energy, desire, speed, heat, and intensity.
Red is a color to use with caution as in the very same respect it shows desire and excitement, it also signals danger.
- Green:Nature, generosity, renewal, healthy, environment and eco movement.
The fertility of our environment is comprised of green, lush forests and tall blades of grass.
- Blue: Calm, loyalty, stability, harmony, security, unity, trust and confidence.
We draw a lot from blue as it is both the color the sky and the ocean/water.
- Orange: Energy, balance, enthusiasm, warmth, vibrant, and expansive.
Orange is a strong color without overwhelming.
- Yellow: Happiness, optimism, idealism, imagination, hope and sunshine.
One of the largest symbols for yellow is our sun.
- Black: Sophistication, formality, elegance, wealth, mystery, depth and style.
Black is a good technical color, but also symbolizes death in Western cultures- use with caution.
- White: Purity, simplicity, cleanliness, humility, precision and innocence.
While white is a symbol of marriage in Western cultures, it is also a symbol of death in Eastern cultures.
2. Oh a Typo
Not a spelling error, but typography. The font your business uses is also important in image perception. Everything frames your image, even seemingly insignificant choices such as a block font versus soft font. A strong brand identity creates a lasting relationship with your customer/client. Remember, trust is must. I’ve seen many businesses where the font does not fit the image. A good example if heavy block fonts for a spa. A heavy block font screams anything but relaxation; boxy, bold, and overwhelming for someone looking to unwind. You must consider your target audience heavily when establishing a font for letterhead/logo as they are the one making the decisions. Something that really fits in your mind may not exactly have the same perception in your target audience’s mind. Make sure you are deciding on your font based on your audience and not yourself. The other issue with typography is consistency. Once you choose a font remember to use it consistently or your identity will suffer. Nothing is worse than having letterhead or website that does not carry the same feel as your image; Trust me, you will end up losing the prospect. The other pitfall to avoid is using a font that is overly prominent (overused). Before you can secure your audience’s trust you must first set yourself apart from the rest; Give us a reason to use your product over the competition’s. Without getting too far out you can establish a font for letterhead that is compelling and unique.
3. Consistency is Key
As mentioned with typography (and should be said about color), consistency is huge. In regard to trust, imagine meeting a person whom you really identify with. You share similar aspirations and goals; you have similar habits. You enjoy their company and ask this individual to come over for dinner. At dinner other people are present and all the sudden this person becomes someone entirely different. In a business sense, if you are like the aformentioned dinner guest then you ought to do some thinking about consistency. To establish trust with your audience you need to have consistency in identity, communication, and vision. To sell someone you need to build a relationship with that person.
4. It’s a Two Way Street
The old rules of marketing are taught under an ideology of one way communication. By old rules I do not mean knights of the round table type stuff, but marketing done before the rise of social/review websites. When we hear old rules we instantly think of it as something before our time, but even college marketing graduates in the 2000′s were learning strategies of one way communication. Today marketing is most definetly a two way communication. Businesses who do not participate in this two way communication will inevitably, if not immediately, suffer. Although we are said to be in an age of information overload, we still like a business to be personable. One of the benefits all the overloading of information brings is more efficiency, especially in communication. In the past you had to broadcast the same message several (for some millions) times, individually. Today you can communicate one message to millions via an internet connection and the click of a button. Even more important, we can now communicate back to you, directly, via an internet connection and the click of a buttion (in seconds/minutes as opposed to hours/days). It may take time to establish an audience which is all the more reason to begin now.
5. Teach the old dog new tricks
Many businesses that have been established long enough to be considered mature are finding ways to reinvent their approach without reinventing their image. Because of existing brand value, some businesses find that it is not viable to rebrand. Instead, businesses have gotten creative by building tools and applications that are cutting edge, with the same age-old feel and message. Another approach for larger businesses is to establish a child company that appeals to a new demographic, while keeping the parent consistent with its historic brand. In any event, the point is that if you have a strong identity there are still ways to mesh with the trends in technology and business.