Brand Development

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Branding

Set Phasers To Stunning

A Helpful Guide to Brand Development for Beginners​

Much has been said about branding. Some say branding begins where marketing ends. Some say branding is an experience, completely formed by your interactions with your customers.

It’s one thing to reach out and connect with your customers. But whatever impression you leave after your interaction– that’s branding. The more you know about branding, the better you are at winning hearts and minds.

Seth Godin once defined branding as a set of expectations, memories, stories, and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.

In fact, when you think of any big company, it’s likely that that company’s brand is the first thing to come to mind.

Just about every successful corporation that has top-of-mind recall– Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Nike, Starbucks, Coca-Cola– all these businesses have invested significantly in their corporate image and creating an identity centered on their respective brands.

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”

— Jeff Bezos

Here’s what we noticed at LOJO. In our years of experience working alongside clients of all kinds, we can tell you that as far as small- to medium-sized businesses go, many have made significant investments in marketing, but not so much with branding.

Perhaps it’s just a lack of understanding of how branding actually works, or probably they just don’t know how important branding really is.

If you’re looking to win the hearts and minds of your target audience, we can tell you that branding will a big part in achieving that end.

Which is why we’ve now prepared this handy guide on branding for business owners and brand managers.

I

Why is Branding Important?

As a business, the one reason for our existence is to generate sales. Simply put, the more sales you bring in, the better your position. 

In fact, everything we do helps to bring in sales. What is marketing but a means to generate leads (which then can be converted into buyers)? What is customer service but a means to retain your current client base? Even the process of creating content for blogs and video channels all serve to educate buyers in the hopes of doing business with us in the future.

Ultimately, the ability to bring in new business all boils down to this cardinal rule: your customers will only do business with people they know, like, and trust.

And it is for this reason that branding is important.

Branding gives your company its own personality— its core values, the philosophy it believes in, and what you stand for. It lets your market know what your promise to deliver as a company.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

— Warren Buffett

With this, branding gives you and your business a single, cohesive vision that will help keep driving you forward. You know which activities are important to you as a company, and which you should be ignoring (because it’s simply not in line with what you are).

As your company now has an identity, branding also helps make your company, products, and services more recognizable. Your likeability wins you over new fans. And as you continue to show your brand’s personality and expertise, you win over new followers as well.

By winning the hearts and minds of your customers, you now have earned trust. And as a business owner, you know how terribly important this is.

II

What Are The Elements of a Great Branding Effort?

We here at LOJO have worked on many different branding projects for all sorts of clients over the last several years. 

But when we talk about branding then, where do we begin?

A solid branding effort covers a good number of  action items which you need to work on. 
These key elements include:

  • The mission statement
  • The company’s logo
  • The company’s official colors
  • The company’s chosen fonts
  • The associated imagery and design elements
  • The accompanying style guide

The mission statement

Probably the most important question you need to answer is this: what is your company all about? What do you do, and why do you do it?

The answer to this question is your company’s mission statement. It is your raison d’etre. And in one or two short but impactful sentences, you have defined what you value most as a company, and what you’ll set out to do in the world.

A mission statement is deliberately grand and inspiring. After all, it aims to rouse your team and spur you all into meaningful action and a flurry of activity.

It goes beyond simply answering “what do we do”. Your mission statement should also address the “why” and the “how” as well.

Now that you have a mission statement, this represents a real promise that you make to your customers (as well as members of your team). It’s something people can really get behind, something more stirring and a lot more marketable.

Take the time to reflect on what your mission statement might be.

“It’s our goal to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything online.”

 Amazon

“To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”

Starbucks

“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Google

“To refresh the world in mind, body, and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness through our brands and actions.”

Coca Cola

The Company Logo

Your logo is another important element of your corporate brand identity.

Sort of like the bat-signal, your logo is the physical representation of your brand. It is your calling card, your signature, and your mark upon the world at large. 

Now, there’s a reason why your mission statement comes first– your logo must somehow capture the essence of what your company is all about, and cleverly convey it with just an image. 

So keep in mind that your logo should look great anywhere: from a T-shirt to a vertical standee, your website and social media accounts and even the smallest app icon. It should look awesome in full color, as well as in grayscale, or just black and white.

”In our experience, we’ve seen a lot of startups taking their logo for granted. And in these cases, they’d come to us to “fix” their logo so it works in different scenarios. 

If the logo looks good in black and white, chances are it will look decent at smaller sizes, which is extremely relevant to representing your brand digitally. “

As the most recognizable element of your corporate branding efforts, your logo will be used all throughout your materials, your packaging, and merchandising. It will be used both online and offline. It also has the opportunity to be iconic and famous.

Your Company Colors

Many studies have come about attributing different emotions or feelings evoked by colors and color combinations. Colors have a subtle way of affecting how people think or feel, so on a psychological level, color palettes can affect traffic, engagement, or even sales.

And this is important as well for your company, as you’ll also want to give some thought about which colors (or what color combination) will best represent your company. 

When it comes to your brand colors, you will want to enforce a coherent, consistent look across all media.

Your Official Fonts

Just like your official brand colors, you’ll also want to choose an official font or font combination, and keep using them across your materials for the purpose of consistency.

Thanks to modern publishing tools, you now have hundreds if not thousands of cool fonts you can use for your branding needs. Now there’s no need for you to go crazy and pick out a lot. Limit your selection– something in line with your theme, like something traditional, playful, or modern, and so on.

Choose one font pairing as your main combination. Usually, it would be a classic serif-and-sans-serif font pairing.  Also, choose corresponding web-safe fonts to use if your corporate fonts aren’t web-safe already. 

Associated imagery and design elements

Even the images you choose are another integral part of your corporate branding.

Pictures paint a thousand words, as they say. 

Imagery has always been in use, but thanks to the rise of digital media, its usage has just exploded.

There are sites dedicated to just offering photos and images for your branding initiatives. You can commission a photographer to take custom shots to capture the brand message you want. Even more routine product shots and event documentation has a role in your overall branding efforts.

As you continue to utilize images of all sorts in your marketing materials, it is the role of branding to tie everything together, establishing a common theme, tone, or feel that you will be using across all channels, both online and off.

The accompanying style guide

As important as all the elements are above, nothing says you’re serious about branding quite like an accompanying style guide.

The style guide is a document that lays out all the rules to be followed when using the elements mentioned above: your logo, your colors, your fonts, your images, and how your mission statement ties into all these, as well as all that you do as a company.

It’s a handy document for your team at work so that all your branding is on point and consistent. 

Even as you deal with personnel changes, different suppliers, or have your branding up on different media and marketing channels, your style guide keeps your branding efforts precise and rock-solid.

III

What Sort of Branding Services Does LOJO Offer?

Here at LOJO, we use battle-tested processes to develop and deliver a unique look and feel for your brand that best resonates with your desired audience.

With everything we need to know about your company– or at the very least, your mission statement– we now sit down with you and co-create the essential branding elements your growing company needs:

  • It starts with your logo, and how it best communicates your company’s goals and intentions.
  • We can create any graphics or other design elements you might need for your website, content marketing, or email marketing campaigns.
  • We then continue with your corporate branding requirements, which may include your business card design, your letterheads, flyers, and brochures, as well as your company website or blog.
  • You’ll also want to extend your corporate branding to your company’s social media channels and online presence.
  • We also cover your other print requirements, for special packaging, or when you want to attend a trade show, or set up some banners, among others.
  • Special promotional items for anything else you might need to get your brand out there, like, personalized giveaways, swag bags, custom door drops or mail packets, vehicle wraps, and more.

Whether on paper or online, we can design it, implement it, and communicate it to your potential customers and help you bring in new business.

LOJO has worked with clients of virtually every size, from global corporations to single individuals running a business from home. With the capability to integrate corporate branding at any level, we’ve worked with clients heavily throughout the greater Sacramento area, outside California, even outside the United States. 

Logo Design

We understand the power of a great logo. An awesome logo certainly creates a lasting impression and helps set you apart from competitors and other players within your space.

We’ve already discussed why your logo must be well-thought-out and representative of your brand’s mission statement. We’ve also talked about what makes a great logo. 

LOJO's Design Process

We’ll walk you through our design process when it comes to creating a suitable logo for your brand. 

We are committed to your satisfaction in terms of creative design. We don’t like to settle, and you shouldn’t have to either. We don’t stop working on your logo until it is everything you want it to be. 

We’re happy to say that when it comes to creating a logo, our systematic approach working with you yields some pretty top-notch results. A gallery of some of our more recent logo creations follows this overview of our trademark design process.

our trademark design process

1

Discovery Phase

Client interview, an examination of the givens, industry, and target audience.

2

Thinking Phase

Conceptualization/abstraction exercises to interpret the relation between goals and ideas.

3

Experiment Phase

Brainstorming and expanding into new concepts, creating variation.

4

Visualization Phase

Client interview, an examination of the givens, industry, and target audience.

5

Execution Phase

Rendering compositions into vector illustrations and clean-up.

6

Response Phase

Initial client review and subsequent revision rounds until 100% satisfactory result.

7

Completion Phase

Rendering of final versions into compatible file formats and sizes for multiple uses.

A Showcase of Logo Designs

Have a look at some of our more recent logo designs (and redesigns) for various clients from just as varied industries.

Graphics

Never underestimate the power of well-thought-out and brand-oriented visuals. Graphics and other custom design elements can add an invaluable flair to your brand that could take it to the next level of professionalism. 

If you feel like your brand is need of an updated, jazzed-up look, then maybe it’s time we talk about developing a strong set of supporting graphics and visuals for you.

Note that the term “graphics” applies to a fairly wide spectrum of projects, so let us go over some examples of how to incorporate graphics that will improve your brand:

  • Iconography
  • Infographics and pictographs
  • Large-format imagery
  • Geo-targeted graphics
  • Seasonal visuals

Types of Graphic Design Projects

LOJO can help you determine which goals and messages are best-suited to reach your audience on a more personal level, and then create beautiful, impactful, and trend-worthy graphics and visuals to support your campaigns.

Let’s have a closer look at each one, and how each graphic project can help you and your brand.

Iconography

Iconography is a symbol that relate to your brand or even different subjects or ideas. For an example look no further than the tabs in your browser and you will see our’s and other companies Favicon’s.

Perhaps you sell a variety of products and you want to visually represent them in a cohesive way with your brand. Or maybe you offer different services that you’d like visually represented on your website in a simple and identifiable manner. 

LOJO has developed hundreds of custom icons and symbols for our clients for that very purpose. We’ve created custom graphics for virtually every industry, and as such, we know how to further tailor the look of those symbols to match the look and feel of your brand. 

For every additional custom graphic we create for you, it strengthens your brand and solidifies your standing among your competitors. 

Incorporating custom icons into your brand also gives your company a more professional and knowledgeable demeanor. 

If custom iconography isn’t in your budget, we can work with you to find a solution that can work. LOJO has a vast library of stock imagery and graphics that can help mitigate cost if that becomes an issue.

Infographics and Pictographs

Another popular request we get here at LOJO is custom work for infographics and pictographs. These are informational visual aids to help explain statistical data, qualitative info, or otherwise usually complex concepts in a fun and interesting way. 

Infographics and pictographs have the added bonus of being popular on Pinterest and big social media networks, as they are useful, genuinely helpful, and as such, very shareable. 

Whether you’d want to promote your products and services in this manner, or you’d want to somehow showcase your knowledge and expertise in graphic form, having these sorts of visual aids help your customers better understand the value of your brand.

Large-Format Visuals

Whether you’re planning on purchasing a roadside billboard, a glossy magazine ad, or simply updating your website homepage, a bold banner graphic can communicate an impactful message to your target demographic. 

This is where large-format images come in. For use typically with print projects with high-resolution, high-dpi requirements, large-format banner imagery is another great method of incorporating graphics into your brand. 

Our team at LOJO can craft you a visual with a message that best represents your goals and then interpreting it visually into an image that can cover whatever medium you’re producing.

“If your campaign happens to be a new product of luxurious types of furniture made from eco-friendly and renewable resources, one possible concept could be a beautiful picturesque nature scene with the tagline “Interiors that Mother Nature can Settle Into,” which would market directly to environmentally-conscious folks.”

Geo-Targeted Graphics

Geo-targeted graphics is another specific way to engage your brand with different areas.

A great way to boost your local marketing and promotional efforts, geo-targeted graphics are particularly well-suited for neighborhood establishments (like restaurants, food trucks, specialty shops, etc.), real estate brokers, local events, and brand launches.

Geo-targeted design is also applicable when attending trade shows or other destination events where you will be marketing and promoting your corporate brand.

 

“Let’s say you’re holding an event in the Sacramento downtown area, and you want to put up signs or hand out flyers in the broader surrounding areas like Roseville, Folsom, Elk Grove, or Davis. (These are areas that we service often.) LOJO can create simplified map graphics, event signage, programs, and email campaigns using your brand visuals to help illustrate what areas you care most about.”

Seasonal Graphics

Examples: Flyers, sticker design or seasonal landing pages.

You must have noticed how different brands regularly incorporate holiday graphics into their campaigns. Everything from in-store signages to holiday menus, to special cards and labels, and graphics you might want to use online as well.

LOJO can help you create those graphics! 

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, your company can take advantage of different times of the year to help draw in new customers with custom holiday graphics made exclusively for your brand. 

We don’t have to tell you how successful certain coffee companies are at selling products due to their fresh holiday graphics. Maybe you’re just having a holiday sale and you need a digital graphic to support your campaign. LOJO can make your holiday graphics quickly and affordable. We do it on a regular basis.

”Looking for more ideas on how to enhance your brand with graphics? 

Don’t be afraid to give us a call or get in touch with us. We can discuss the details of your brand together and come up with concepts that might require a conversation. 

We like to think abstractly here, and outside the box. Because the spectrum of possibilities is so broad, most of the time it comes down to priority. 

So what’s your priority? Maybe graphical solutions pique your interest but might not be the right answer for you and your brand at this time. Share with us your goals and we will find a solution that will help you achieve it.’

Corporate Branding

When we research a company that we’re developing branding materials for, we discover what makes them stand out among their competitors: which core strengths or core values should be showcased, or which story or brand message can be given priority for a particular campaign.   

When it comes to branding, nothing quite defines your company more than a unified look and feel in your corporate climate. Corporate branding goes beyond just the unification of your brand materials. 

  • Corporate branding builds morale, esprit de corps, and a collective sense of purpose
  • It also reaches further into your work culture: especially how your employees conduct themselves on a day-to-day basis, how it makes them feel part of something important, and how they dedicate themselves to your mission.
  • Your customers (and competitors!) will notice and feel the difference as well, through your lead nurturing initiatives, your customer service, and your after-sales efforts.

LOJO can give your brand the kick-start it needs to launch itself into the competitive arena of your industry. We offer branding packages as complete or as budget-friendly as your company needs, but what we recommend all of our clients should have is a basic branding package. 

This covers the essentials: your logo, your business cards, letterhead, and a branding standards document. Without these basic necessities, your brand won’t look as professional as it already is. 

In fact, even before your website is built, you should have at least a logo and business card for yourself. You’d want to create a good impression right from the start, as we believe these small steps even in your startup phase can affect your progress moving forward as a business.

“If your logo is the face of your company, then your corporate brand is what you’re wearing to the interview. Your customers are going to judge you on how professional you seem and if they can trust you, so why not look as sharp as you can? This is the essence of corporate branding, and as you can see, it is essential to how you are perceived by your clients!”  

Social Media

Social media is a wonderful tool to help connect you and your audience on a more personal level. This is particularly true as more potential customers are online, as you can see how voracious people get when they’re on their smartphones.

Here’s how LOJO can help you with your social media requirements:

Brand Continuity

The most important aspect of any online business is brand continuity.

If you already have a logo and other branding elements, they should be displayed or creatively incorporated across all of your social media accounts in your profile image area. 

This will help you to look more professional and current. If your social media accounts only have the default imagery still up, you’re not representing your brand well. 

What some might think to be a menial task, many companies neglect the opportunity to display their brand visuals. LOJO can help you maintain an up-to-date and proper brand presence in the social media scene. We can create custom graphics or format existing graphics to fit the social account requirements and help your brand to shine.

Account Maintenance

If your brand is not represented properly socially, then you are behind in the times. True, different industries and companies have a time and a place within certain social platforms. LOJO can help you define your place in the social arena.

So if you need help with keeping your social accounts regularly updated, LOJO is here to help. 

We do the research to find out what your customers are wanting and expecting to see on your accounts and keep them engaged. We’re talking beyond just making a presence. We also consider how you present your brand and interact with the social environment.

Let us take on your unwanted social media responsibilities so you can focus on your business and your brand.

“It’s funny how people view the world today to be less personal because everyone is always on their mobile devices and not engaging each other face to face, and yet when they are on their devices they are engaging socially online!

But, that is the reality of today’s market, and if our goal is to maximize your presence wherever your market is, then having an active social media presence is the first step to engaging with your customers online.”

IV

The Importance of Print Materials

Another common branding requirement we work on is print services. Even with a digital-centric marketing and branding environment, the strategic use of print can have a strong and lasting impact on your clients as part of a larger, well-thought-out marketing mix. 

Our businesses do not exist in a vacuum. In fact, real-life interactions fuel our existence. Whether you’re running a brick-and-mortar establishment, an online operation, an office, or a production line– as a business, you’re not just dealing with clients and customers, you also deal with various suppliers, stakeholders, partners, as well as competitors.

Despite our emphasis on digital marketing, LOJO believes that print materials continues to play a very important role in both your branding efforts and your overall marketing communication strategy.

Especially if your print collaterals and promotional materials are particularly well-thought of, unique, and creative, you’ll be able to win more leads and clients this way.

Print Collaterals

Does LOJO offer print services?

Yup, we print that.

Without a doubt, well-executed print materials only help improve your brand’s reputation, and also helps keep you top-of-mind. When it’s finally time for a customer to make a purchase, they think about you more than any other player within your space.

It’s a common question we get, and we appreciate the creative approach of our clients when it comes to thinking of ways of reaching out and connecting with their respective audiences.

There really isn’t a limit, that we know of, to what we can and cannot print. We have helped hundreds of clients with such a variety of printed collateral that we’d be surprised to see a project that we haven’t done similarly before. Here are some examples of the types of print projects we work on the most:

  • Digital
  • Business Cards
  • Offset
  • Large Format
  • Rush Orders
  • Letterheads
  • Envelopes
  • Flyers
  • Brochures
  • Posters
  • Vehicle Wrap
  • Trade Shows
  • Stickers
  • Packaging
  • Door Hangers
  • Mailers

You might have a printing need that isn’t on that list, and that’s not a problem for us. Challenge us; if you have a unique print project that you’re unsure how to complete, we can help you find the answer.

One of our greatest strengths as print media experts is the personal experience we provide to our clients. We won’t treat you like strangers or dollar amounts; we will treat you like a partner, a companion, just as if you’re a part of our team. 

When it comes to print, we can be your advocate and your advisor. We will not just give you the experience you deserve, but one that you will appreciate and want to come back to anytime you need something printed.

Promotional Items

Promotional branding is a great way to make a big impact with a small amount of time and effort. Almost it sounds too good to be true, but you wouldn’t believe how just a small promotional campaign can yield such big results. 

You should always be promoting your brand, whether you’re having a sale during the dry season or trying to get your share of the busiest time of year, promotions will draw interest and resonate top-of-mind awareness throughout your audience. 

And believe it or not, customers are more discerning and savvier these days, so you’ll need to really stand out head and shoulders over all other players in your space. Fortunately for you, you have an expert partner like LOJO to help you promote your brand!

Holiday Promotions

Holiday promotions are one of the more popular and obvious ways to run campaigns, and there are holidays just about every month of the year. 

If you’re looking for someone to run a monthly campaign for you, we have more options than you can shake a stick at, because we custom tailor our marketing plans to fit what works best for your company. 

If you just need advice, we are experienced at providing an expert analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of your marketing efforts. We can run tandem campaigns during overlapping seasonal and holiday schedules, and across multiple digital and print platforms. 

The sky is the limit when it comes to how many different ways or how often you can be promoting your brand.

Branded Merchandise

Now let’s talk about stress-balls. Have you ever been to a convention and someone is handing out free stress-balls? You take one right? (Don’t feel guilty, everybody does it.) 

Do they work to relieve stress? Doesn’t matter! The point is you took it and it has a logo on it. 

That could be your logo. You can put your logo on just about anything and people will take it if it’s free, and they’ll use it and show it to their friends, and you are promoting your brand with little to no effort. 

If you’re interested in putting your logo on T-shirts, polos, totes, pens, hats, water bottles, coffee mugs, mints, tissues, come into our office and we’ll show you a catalog so full of options it will blow your mind. 

Consider us a full-service vendor of brand marketing materials. We promise you will be surprised how little it can cost to promote your brand.

V

How Can LOJO Help With Your Branding Needs?

With all of the great branding services LOJO has to offer, you can create or enhance your brand to any level of success you can imagine. 

We have a top-notch team of seasoned marketing and branding professionals, and together, we can discover the many possibilities for your brand, and make a lasting impression on your customers.

We are Northern California’s top-of-mind choice for all things branding and digital marketing.

LOJO regularly serves local clients in the greater Sacramento area. Our primary office is located in Rocklin, and we welcome clients from Auburn, Colfax, Lincoln, Loomis, and Roseville to stop by and visit us. 

We also extend the invitation to visitors from Granite Bay, Penryn, Citrus Heights, Antelope, Orangevale, West Sacramento, Carmichael, Davis, Rosemont, Rancho Cordova, Fair Oaks, Elk Grove, or basically anywhere else in California or even out of state.

We take our expertise and experience on local markets to a more global audience.

Even though LOJO is located in Rocklin, our reach is international. We have the capability to integrate corporate branding at any level.

LOJO knows how to reach audiences all over the world. While we’ve worked with clients heavily throughout the greater Sacramento area, as well as clients in and around California, we’ve also worked for brands and clients outside of the U.S. of virtually every size, from global corporations to single individuals running a business from home.

Your Success is Our Success

You might have a question or concern about your logo design at a particular point in your venture, or you’ve suddenly thought of an exciting new idea you’d want to try for your brand.

This is never really an issue because of how highly we value not just your creativity and involvement, but also communication between us. 

Know that we’re all in this together. We will always be available to make our recommendations and share with you our best advice. It could be an easy fix or a long journey, but we will be there to take that journey together.

That’s a LOJO brand promise right there.

Hopefully, you’ll see the benefits of partnering up with a dedicated team like LOJO. We use proven processes to research, execute, and deliver a unique look, feel, and tone for your brand that resonates well with your audience. 

We are experts at digitally marketing your company through email, ads, social media, and other various digital media platforms. Whether on paper or online, we can design it, implement it, and communicate it to your potential customers to bring in new business.

  • Company Logo
  • Branding Standards Document
  • Business Card Design
  • Company Letterhead (Digital and Print)
  • Email Signature Composition
  • Company Flyer Design
  • Thank You Card Design
  • Envelope Design
VI

A Final Word on Branding Essentials

Why is branding important for any business?

Branding and marketing both go hand-in-hand. They synergize well with each other: while marketing has the goal of reaching out and connecting with your audience, how you are received and remembered by your customers is all branding.

While great marketing relies on real stories, branding gets its effectiveness from your core values and strengths. A solid branding effort means you have a strong, well-defined personality as a company– everybody knows what you stand for and what you’re all about.

For branding, both creativity and consistency are key.

At LOJO, we refer to this as brand continuity. Having a cohesive brand across all your company’s collaterals, sales and marketing materials, and other contact points can definitely make a huge impression on your customers.

On one hand, it takes a stellar creative effort to convey your brand message through a logo, a color palette, or the interplay of several seemingly separate graphic design elements.

On the other hand, you will want to be consistent with your branding efforts across all media, both online and off.

Get Your Corporate Brand Established​

Whether you want the whole corporate branding package or just a few corporate branding elements, let us know and we will take your business to the next level of professionalism. ​