Each new project is a challenge that I always welcome with enthusiasm together with my whole team: activities we work on often require to achieve different objectives. Some of these objectives are explicit, such as those dictated by a brief, written in black and white, while others are implicit, such as the ability to listen to customers’ needs without forgetting the cornerstones of our work: creating distinctive and memorable communication.
An important challenge, of course, but whose result does not depend exclusively on us as professionals in the sector. Every communication campaign but also every single content must be thought and created keeping in mind the people who will use it. It will be their experience with our content that defines their personal brand concept. Where does this conception come from? From strategies and business models? Maybe it’s something deeper, which touches people’s emotional strings.
Being recognizable is undoubtedly the challenge that companies try to face every day and we, as communication experts, have the duty to accompany them in this difficult path, made of continuous obstacles and new competitors every day. So how do you do it?
To define their values, brands often bring important words such as transparency or security, but is people’s perceptions aligned with what is then conveyed through communication? Our job is precisely to try to limit as much as possible the misalignment between what brands say they represent with what they really are and with what people perceive. Visual communication is in this sense a fundamental element on which work.
Words, chosen with meticulousness, can help us. Colors, lines, shapes, images and icons help us too. The most important thing is that all this is enclosed in a harmonious system. Here the emotionality of the observer comes into play. Gradually, people realize that what they see, read and listen to constitutes a broader message, a shared ideal and a brand identity to remember.
Try for a moment to close your eyes and think of the first three brands that come to your mind. You are probably thinking of the name, logo and colors. These are the elements that I have also thought of. These three components are actually just some of the fundamental elements that make a brand a friend, recognizable among many and always present, even in the long term. What are the other visual elements?
Using recurring fonts, choosing a precise color palette and respecting it every time, inserting studied shapes that catch the eye and facilitate the reading of the message are all winning components for a solid and recognizable visual identity. Not to mention the strength of the images, icons or illustrations! Let’s think just for a moment: what happened if the advertising of your favorite brand was spread without the company logo? Would you notice it?
Having a tone of voice that reflects brand values in every single word is fundamental. Even the type of language to be adopted is a choice that cannot be left to chance. And then sincerity: users are first and foremost people and addressing them with respect and humility is an approach that in most cases bears fruit.
We could call it brand awareness, that is how much and to what extent people manage to attribute a message or content to a specific brand. Considering that in general, to date, the maximum online concentration time of a millennial is 9 seconds, while on social networks the threshold drops drastically to a couple of seconds, it is easy to understand that the less time it takes to capture this attention, more easily we will be able to remember something.
Therefore, for a brand, having a well-made logo is important, but not enough. There is a constant need to build a coordinated image, made of these precious visual elements, and not only, on which transfer the values, objectives and aspirations. The elements we are talking about are already part of a brand, there is nothing new to discover, but thanks to a coherent visual identity, such for all communication channels, for digital or paper, for the online or offline dimension, they can be externalized and transmitted in a much more effective way to people, thus trying to never go unnoticed.
Visual consistency is clear but at the same time it has a silent power: it knows how to get to people, even before users. It emphasizes what an image conveys, leverages a winning combination of colours and feeds itself when each output respects the harmony of a 360° communication.
Only by listening to people, always, we can create consistent communication strategies with the image that a brand wishes to convey. In this, research helps us: we can measure the perception of the initiatives we take to improve them and improve ourselves, reducing to a minimum the communicative misunderstandings, in which many companies often stumble, to the detriment not only of their own recognition but also of their reputation as a brand. Recently, we conducted an IAT (Implicit Association Test) test on large-scale distribution brands: people involved confirmed the enormous weight that visual consistency has in the perception of a company and how much this is a key to conquer those few seconds of attention that users dedicate to online content.