Branding and marketing 101
April 8, 2009 9:06 AM   Subscribe

I've been put in charge of coming up with a consistent look for my print shop's promotions and signage--branding, I guess.

We have plenty of people on staff with design skills but none with marketing experience. We're looking to plan a year's worth of promotions at once and need to begin with finding our "look" for 2009-2010. What resources would you recommend? Books? Tutorials? Blogs? I'd be thrilled to find something like a comprehensive step-by-step process. Thanks, y'all!
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
The resources I would recommend are people, specifically marketing or communications people. There's a reason why people go to school for this, and that is because marketing isn't as simple as just picking something pretty -- there should be strategy and thought behind it.

That said, and knowing that you've been asked to do this, rather than your company hiring communications staff, I would consider looking at Before & After Magazine, which can either be purchased in print format or in PDFs. In addition to providing lots of beautiful inspiration, this magazine also gives some reasoning behind the design choices: Why use this font? What does this color convey? etc. This is a resource that your designers might already have, so I'd check with them first.

As far as marketing itself, the #1 mistake I see organizations make is to not carefully consider their audience(s): who are these people? In what ways do they think/act/speak/shop/whatever that differ from other groups? How are they best reached? I'm not sure if you're doing anything other than print pieces (the word "promotions" is a little vague in this regard), but you should also keep in mind that print communications have different strategies from web, etc.
posted by runningwithscissors at 9:22 AM on April 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Before & After mag is a great recommendation by runningwithscissors. In addition, you might want to scope out the local bookstore and look at the graphic design section. Don't get into anything too fancy; there are several books geared towards people in your predicament. (There are tons of businesses that want branding and don't have a budget for designers.) Finally, pay attention in the outside world. One thing you'll notice is that the most recognizable logos are the simplest. And the best ad and promo layouts are not jam packed with info. Too many people designing logos and promo pieces create things that are way too complicated.

Also remember - branding is much, much more than a logo. It's creating a recognizable look. Colors, typefaces, styles, etc need to be consistent. If you're going to be creating a branding for use in multiple promo pieces, make sure it will be something you can work with for several different things, not just a one-off.
posted by azpenguin at 9:44 AM on April 8, 2009

Obviously budget is an issue or you'd be hiring a marketing professional. I would start by making a collection of "looks" that you like, then see if they have anything in common. Pay attention to color/saturation, background, % of graphic, simplicity, font, scale etc. Make a list of what you like, then narrow it down to just good examples of those qualities. Take the best elements of what you like and work them in together so it's original. I like to pin things up walk by them a few times each step of the way, rearranging and eliminating etc.
posted by kgn2507 at 10:57 AM on April 8, 2009

Think of your company brand like a person. It has a personality. Consider the core values of your company and the personality that you want to communicate through your brand. What would you like consumers to think when they perceive your brand? When customers choose you, it’s because they resonate with what your brand stands for. By communicating who you are in a powerful way, it lets potential customers build a relationship of trust with you. What type of prints does your shop sell and who are your customers: old, young, creative, corporate? This will give a clue to the type of personality to create around your brand.

What is your point of difference compared to your competitors. It could be your price, your offer, or the fact that you specialise in a specific area. Think of ways you can stand out from your competition and then use this message clearly throughout your branding.
posted by liquidcreativity at 2:07 AM on May 18, 2009

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