If not used carefully, the use of digital tools could rob your brand off its branding.
How can that be? Well, if you think about branding happening at every touch point, then also touch points such as invoices, support email, etc. will naturally create or diffuse the awareness of your brand.
In the past, it was natural to use the branding (in that time mostly concerning the logo, the colours, the fonts) in all forms of correspondence – whether it was a short note or an invoice.
Some companies even used individual postage stamps.
These days it’s considered an asset if a – let’s say invoicing – app actually ‘allows’ you to use your fonts or delivers them out of the box.
In the past, it was normal to use a particular font and maybe even a font that was specially designed for this very company – in a way as characteristic as the handwriting shown above.
Most website owners are not even aware that
they are creating a significant branding issue
when using just any ‘lightbox’ module that might look ‘okayish’ but has got nothing to do with the house brand whatsoever.
In a lot of cases, this pop-up – even if viewed as a stand-alone – just looks trashy. Of course, setting it up might be very ‘easy’ because you don’t have to tweak a lot.
Not having to customize it merely means:
It’s not house style. It is standard.
It looks the same on your page as on thousands of other websites. It belongs to another neutral world; it has not become part of your world.
The effect is a bit like the bear on the bench in the picture above: It’s comfy but also irritating for its spectators.
This could all be very well and be ‘only’ a question of aesthetics (though in my perspective that would be reason enough), however, there is even more to the lack of branding:
The perceived lacking congruency will cause users to downgrade their trust impeding the whole sales process and such causing lower closing rates.
Here is how to handle the challenges of cross-tool branding:
Create a brand collage
Even though marketing modules will often be mainly digital today, pretend the single modules would be ‘real’. Print them out – hang them on a wall – together with a screenshot of your Instagram account, etc.
Have a look at it from a bird’s eye view and check whether it all feels like the same way. If needed, tune the single parts, so they fit into the world again. It’s also useful to complete that collage with large printouts of your CI/brand guideline as well as the mission statement if you have one.
Strip to the very bone
Also, the tone of voice in verbal communication will be much more important than in earlier days. If you’re left with a simple text without any layout / unique font at all – could people still recognize the atmosphere of your brand?
Whenever you choose a digital tool that will reach your client’s / customers awareness, check for the possibilities to match it your brand first.
Of course, this is a fragile balance between process optimization (what if the invoicing tool is just brilliant and saves such a lot of time and you can offer a much better price-value point to your customers?) and branding on the other hand. If you consider the trust-building value that accumulates over time and builds up with each touchpoint done right, you’ll quickly figure out which way to go.
Which digital tools have you already tried that might cause branding issues? What were the limits to adapting it to your brand?
Were you able to find alternatives – and which tools do you like most for their branding power?
Share your experiences and thoughts in the comments – this could save others lots of time researching and – who knows – might lead to an even more positive perception of your brand. 😉