Broccoli between your teeth.

Branding and re-branding, Marketing collateral

Recently, I heard a most recognizable description of the fact that we are not fully able to see ourselves through the eyes of others. It is so easy to get convincingly caught in thoughts and viewpoints about “how we are.” Then, when presenting others with these thoughts, they may have a totally different view and may say something that makes us see ourselves in a different light. It is like when someone tells you that you have broccoli between your teeth. You aren’t able to see this yourself, but as soon as someone tells you, you rush along to the nearest mirror to do something about it.

I observe that many entrepreneurs are at the “Broccoli between your teeth” stage for all too long when it comes to how their businesses appear; on websites, social media, and whatever other marketing materials they are using. In other words, on so-called “visual touchpoints.”

If you are creating all your visual touchpoints yourself or have them made for you by different people, it’s very easy to become “home-blind.” This means that we see what we want to see and not what is really there. Then it might be a good idea to have others look at what has been created and ask some not-so-very-comfortable questions. When asked to do this, my questions center on these 3 things: 

1. Correct Graphic Design. Yes, you heard me right. As it happens, there exist some basic rules for Graphic Design that are there to help us get a message across as clearly as possible. These are all about principles like contrast, alignment, space, repetition, and direction. If you are ignorant of these principles and create in opposition to them, you will deprive your message of the probability of coming across clearly. 

2. Recognition – or visual consistency. If we gather some of your visual touchpoints like the front page of your website, your post-images for social media, your business card, and your Powerpoint Template, is it possible to see that these items come from the same sender? Recognition is crucially important for people to remember you when they need your type of services. If you turn up in different arenas in different costumes every time, people will not remember you.

3. Unique personality. Sadly, it isn’t sufficient to use correct graphic design and visual consistency. If the visual means decided on (logo, colors, fonts, and images) are NOT representative of your business’ personality (namely that they don’t mirror its values and visions) your message will fail to resonate with the ideal receiver. Leaving an impression that “something does not match up.” If your intention is to be perceived as a serious actor in your field and you use the visual means of a circus (and vice versa), misunderstandings will occur. 

If you are considering having a consistent visual brand, the first and fairly inexpensive step to take is gathering a collection of your marketing materials (website banners, social media images, Powerpoint templates, business cards, and other printed items) and assessing them according to the three points mentioned here. Let me know if you want my help.