As marketing professionals, we are constantly encouraging our clients and prospects to stay true to their brand. If your logo is supposed to be in a specific type of font, then keep it that way. If you have specific colors, then don’t change them because there is a new color you like.
Maintain Brand Integrity
As a matter of fact, for most of our clients, we are known as the logo police. Because we take corporate brand guidelines very seriously. We’ve even had our own client marketing department personnel call us to make sure they understand their own logo guidelines correctly!! But that’s great. Because it just reinforces that we are true partners (not vendors) with our clients.
However, are we as strict with our own brand?
I know we try to be. I have a new sales person that is great in sales, but she always wants to try something new. Wants us to change our logo to “fit” something she likes. I’m adamant about keeping our colors true and our logo as is.
Logo Consistency is Important
We have two versions of our logo, because of course, years ago we found it didn’t work in all situations (we have a half-tone that can’t be printed on everything). But, those are the only two you will see printed on any materials.
And I like to think that our brand materials are clear as to what we do and how to reach us.
At a recent industry conference, I received several business cards from a few different friendly “competitors”. I have to say, I give them an A+ for creativity, but they aren’t very practical.
One was so small I really couldn’t read it. They said they wanted to stand out by being different and smaller than the typical card. I hope it works for them.
Another one was designed like a “rubik” style cube. You had to flip through various levels to see all that they do. While it was creative, but you had to have it to the right section if you wanted all their contact information. I found it too cumbersome. How many people are going to have time to “flip” through someone’s business card.
Interesting Business Cards Can Make a Statement
I do like interesting cards on good card stock. I don’t like to receive a card that was printed on the office printer. I always worry how serious they are about business.
I also like creative cards that may be a different shape or have folds. But again, I still like to be able to get the information I need and possibly have space to write a note or two.
Recently I had someone ask me if cards were still important today. They like to send their information directly via their smartphone. Maybe I am old fashioned, but I like to come back from meetings and review the business cards. Helps me to follow up with people. I also like the impression it makes with a well-designed card.
Our card is simple but on very nice card stock. We get comments all the time about them.
Collateral Materials Need to Maintain the Brand
The same goes for the other collateral material we use when meeting with a new prospect. We have a nice folder with our logo (white with a silver foil), a brochure and 3 case studies about different types of projects we’ve done in the past. It really tells our story of our capabilities. Clients have commented repeatedly how they are surprised more companies don’t come in prepared with their “story”.
We feel it makes a statement about who we are and how we’ll handle their business if they come on board.
Promotional Products Keep Us Top of Mind
We also use promotional products at every opportunity. We go to a meeting with a variety of leave-behinds. And they are different depending on the client.
We always take them in a Gossett Marketing branded tote bag. We also use the bag if we are taking the client samples they have requested. In the bag, we may have a branded notebook and pen (these are very popular), a power bank, pens, a fan that attaches to the smartphone, post-it note tape and so much more.
We use a variety because we like to take something to most every visit with a client. It helps us to “own” their desk. And I can’t begin to tell you how many times someone will say “this is great, we should be doing this. Can you get us a quote?”
We are also very careful about the quality that we use and recommend. Again, it’s all about the brand. Recently we picked up two clients that had quality issues because they had used an online service. When our account manager showed up with samples to review in the initial meeting, they were blown away.
They didn’t realize having someone close could be such a major benefit. They got to sit down and discuss their plans for the year. Review a variety of different options and talk about what best fit their brand image. They were thrilled.
Practice What You Preach
Being that resource that practices what you preach can be a real asset. You become your own testimonial.
And speaking of testimonials, we also make sure our website is up to date, not only with easy to search sections but specials and testimonials. In first meetings, we’ve had prospects tell us that they went to our website and they couldn’t believe how easy it was to use and how much information was available. They then point us to their existing vendor to show us how poor of a site they have. We typically walk away with the client.
I’m not kidding. They will show us a competitor’s site and go on to explain how bad it is.
Everything we do as marketing professionals needs to reinforce what we do. We are brand ambassadors. We are all about promoting their brand, properly and in as many different ways that we can to keep their name in front of their customers and prospects to increase their sales.
Because when their sales increase so will ours.