One of the best ways to ensure that your professional service brand stands out against the competition is to give it a distinctive, singular design style. In this post, when we talk about design, we are talking about the “visual language” of your brand, which includes the following visual elements:
- fonts and text styling
- graphic elements
- photography styles
- … and the general “feeling” they convey.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of strong visual branding because it impacts much more than the way your brand looks; it impacts the way your audience feels about you, which in turn affects important elements of the provider-client relationship, like trust. Your brand’s graphic identity conveys its personality and character. It can convey friendliness, femininity, or seriousness. It can convey fresh modernity, or can emphasize a classic sense of history.
It’s also important because it visually differentiates you from the competition. Imagine you had a pile of brochures from local community banks on your counter, almost all of which used a color scheme of blue and gray – but one stands out with bolder colors of red and yellow. Which one would you notice first?
Consistency is another core element of a strong visual branding strategy and is a crucial element in building a brand that rises above the rest. Consumers and clients respond to consistency because repetition forms memories and creates recognition; your brand will become familiar and predictable, which reinforces trust, reliability and stability. Scattered and inconsistent visuals don’t give the consumer an opportunity to remember and connect with your brand. As a reminder, a brand is defined as the way your customers feel about you. When they imagine your business in their minds, what do you want them to envision? You probably want them to imagine strong, unique visuals that are easy to call to mind, which requires client familiarity with a consistent identity.
The end goal of your brand’s design is to establish a professional “look and feel” that is consistent, impactful and congruent with your brand’s core identity.
Here is a helpful checklist for you to use to analyze your current visual branding; it will help you to determine if a visual brand refresh is necessary.
- Is your logo crisp, clear, memorable, and up to date?
- Is your brand’s color palette limited to a small handful of complementary shades?
- Is your brand’s color palette consistent across all materials (digital and print)?
- Are your fonts and text treatments consistent across all materials (digital and print)?
- Are your fonts and text treatments clear and legible?
- Do your branding materials yield a positive consumer experience?
- Do they reinforce the core characteristics and messages of your brand?
While matters of aesthetics can take a back burner in the professional services environment, it’s important to remember that professional service clients are just as affected by the emotional and psychological impacts of graphics as everyone else. We are all visual creatures and respond strongly to visual branding elements, even if subconsciously. Put your best foot forward with a visual identity that supports your efforts to stand out from the competition, from the first impression to the final touch point.
Looking for help determining what your brand needs to be its best? Start with a free copy of our e-book, “Building a professional service firm that stands out.”