Brand identity across digital marketing channels

2020 is almost here, and these days it seems like there are more marketing channels than a DirectTV package. Seriously, have you seen all these new data boards and visual presentations with things like graphs, charts, and so on? It’s crazy. In just the last year or so we’ve seen the emergence of TikTok, and the removal of Google Plus. These won’t be the last new channels to emerge or fall off the radar, even with the dominance of a few big digital companies.

Even big brands have failed to be consistent

As Uber grew and became a massively successful company, they decided to change their logo. Not once or twice either. A bunch of times. It went from a stylized U to something that no one exactly understood. Sure, brands change their logos all the time, but in this day and age, it’s essential to consider how it might look on a smartphone. It’s easy to find the U, and remember what it was for, but the backward “C” took some thought. And not in a good way. Did this give Lyft an edge for a while, with its distinctive pink logo?

You probably don’t think about it, but some of the most recognizable logos are on most of the home screens across the country. There’s social media icons and emails, but there’s also Amazon, Uber, Google, and other big brands that we’ve all come to know.

The next time you open up an app, check out the app’s icon – pay attention to the colors, design, and feel. All of these details are what contribute to a brand’s identity. The messaging, fonts, pictures, styles, and impressions are what the best brands do well, over and over. It’s about consistency and delivering the same experience no matter if it’s in an email or through a helpline. Managing brand identity is a crucial part of marketing, and with so many channels, it can be a chore.

Don’t overlook the details, you may find a devil

You don’t ever want it to happen, but sometimes there’s always that one bad experience or some negative outcome. We’re all human, and sometimes we program bots or applications wrong. We forget to set reminders, we didn’t say the right thing, and it’s shitty sometimes. That’s why it’s vital to know and understand a brands audience.

Knowing this helps content marketers know how their content will be consumed. It can help designers just as much, and knowing each and every step of a customers’ journey may help a team fully recognize which pieces of marketing or communications need to be delivered and how. All the while, thinking about how the brand will be perceived and if it follows the brand guidelines that help maintain brand identity. One false step and you’re a tweet away from embarrassment.

Less is more, especially for designers

Designers can have an impossible task at times, within all of this. They may get asked to create something so outside of the box it becomes uncomfortable or something out of their wheelhouse. For example, creating something so complex that users won’t be able to distinguish what they’re exactly looking at. You don’t see a lot of companies brand identities with a ton of colors and busy designs that keep us all distracted. Most of the time, they want to be memorable, one to two colors, and a solid design. They keep it simple and straight to the point. Again, this is all basic fundamentals of branding. 

Not to mention, it’s much easier to maintain, doesn’t require as many resources, and you always have options to get creative down the road. Having a busy, loud look can actually get lost in the shuffle sometimes. Not only can designers struggle, the messaging and content teams also have to maintain strict control over their work. 

Being too loose, flexible, or having too many voices doesn’t have the same effect as a singular cohesive strategy for each channel that a brand is using. Without these things all working together a brand can easily be forgotten, lost, publicly ridiculed, or worse: go bye-bye and I don’t think they want that. Then again, we are dropping cable packages at a steep rate, so who knows how we’ll manage this over the next 20 years. 

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