brand standards

Brand Standards: Your Identity Playbook

Why do organizations spend so much time and energy on brand standards? Ask most people about branding and they’ll think you’re talking about logos. Logos contribute to a brand in a big way, of course, but a logo is only part of the story. An organization’s brand is more. It is the visceral, emotional response people have at any point of contact with that organization.

Consider the Coca Cola brand, which is all about classic refreshment, belonging and connection. Likewise, Nike has a brand identity, which is all about an athletic mindset, admiration of athletes, aiming for a personal best. Brand standards codify the components of each company’s brand identity so that the visceral, emotional reaction people have to the brand is consistent. Both Coke and Nike (and divisions within them like Coke Zero and Nike Football), have extensive guides that support and cultivate these identities for their customers.

A cultivated brand identity takes people’s experiences and hones them, capitalizing on the key components that the company wants in people’s hearts and minds at every point of contact. Part of that emotional response comes from the mindset and expectations that people bring to their experiences, which you can’t necessarily control. But you can cultivate those expectations through consistent brand standards. Think of it as a playbook. Only instead of providing plays that a sports team can run during a game, you’re giving your team a clear set of strategic and tactical guidelines for communication.

Say you’re trying to create a brand identity for a kids’ arcade that’s wholesome, fun and playful. Customers expect this much, and your staff members interact in ways that are lighthearted and fun. But you could further cultivate those qualities by adopting fresh, bright colors in the decor and in your team members’ clothes. You would update your logo with fonts and colors that evoke the ideals you’re trying to encourage. You’d have those concepts woven into your messaging. Your tone and feel would be lighthearted. Your website might include some entertaining games. And you would create an experience that reflects the qualities you want to inspire in the hearts and minds of everyone who encounters the brand at every point of contact.

But what if the brand identity you want isn’t that close to the current experience? You may need to create a transitional brand as you work to heighten desirable qualities that already exist in people’s experience with the company, downplaying and overcoming elements of the current experience that don’t match the brand identity you want. You might create a look, style and message that evoke a feeling closer to what you want while keeping in sync with what you have. Then, as the experience people have when they interact with you gets closer to what you want, you can evolve the logo, messaging, look and feel.

Defining and codifying brand standards can help companies evolve and grow. It requires companies to ask and answer challenging questions about identity and consistency: Who is my brand for? How should they feel about my brand? What am I promising them? How close is that to their actual experience? The answers can be laid out in great detail, as with Dallas Ft. Worth Airport’s  brand guidelines, or very simply, as with LinkedIn’s Brand Resources web page.

In each case, the company has set up a framework of:

  • Visual iconography
  • Typography
  • Colors
  • Language
  • Tone of voice
  • Sometimes, tactile stimulation, scent and flavor

These are codified in a set of standards for application to print materials, signage, electronic communications, environmental graphics, and potential future possibilities that don’t exist yet. Ultimately, these rules when applied consistently over the life of the brand, help people recognize the organization and its personality.

By defining key brand components clearly, you enable everyone – from the people who contribute content to your website to the people who represent your company in the media – to keep your brand consistent, exactly the way it should be.


Visual Trends We Savor

 

At Relish Marketing, we constantly pay attention to visual trends – both because they often reflect changes in business communication and our culture in general, and because they inspire and help keep our work fresh. Here, Relish Creative Director, Michael Palermo, offers his take on current visual trends that have captured his attention:

  • Crowdsourced content.  The trend toward involving customers/consumers in their brands – and even helping to create their own brand imagery is fascinating. It helps drive engagement and it keeps content fresh. Take, for example, how Wayfair posts customers’ images of their newly decorated living rooms, or Loft and other fashion brands inviting posts of how people are wearing their clothes.

 

  • 3D typography and abstract art.  I’m seeing more and more use of three-dimensional modeling software to generate static images, type treatments and scenes for print and digital campaigns that stand out.

 

  • Mid-century modern aesthetics.  As a counterpoint to that vivid use of 3D typography and art, I’m also seeing the return of mid-century modern aesthetics including vintage serif typefaces, Eames chairs, pop art and flat graphics, like this logo for a company that makes grooming products for men.

 

  • Extreme gradients.  This includes gradients in logos – like the Instagram mark. That used to be a huge no-no, but we have more refined tools, high-definition screens, and brand imagery that only appears digitally. So, we can craft gradients that bring together colors from opposite sides of the color wheel in a way that’s eye-popping and dramatic.

Irrisept packaging

Project Spotlight: Photography

Everyone’s heard that “a photo is worth a thousand words”, but that may be an understatement. A Nielsen Norman Group study showed that most people only read 20-28% of website text. And Hubspot found that photographs significantly increase engagement on Facebook, generating 53% more “likes” and 104% more content than text alone. Of course, not all photography is the same. Different styles of photography are appropriate for different media and applications, and the right photograph can be the difference between undercutting brand identity and enhancing it. That’s why Relish Marketing provides strategic photographic support to many of our clients as we create and reinforce their brands.

  • Irrisept, a medical device manufacturer, needed product photography. We already created a consistent brand identity for the company, including logo, color palette and messaging, which extended through everything from digital assets and packaging to marketing collateral and trade show booths.

 

We chose a studio photographer who combined an infinity wall with cool-toned lighting to reflect clinical innovation while communicating functionality and ease of use

  • Lenbrook senior living community wanted imagery that would communicate its upscale, engaged lifestyle.

 

To protect the privacy of residents, we sourced models who would best represent the kind of active, energetic residents that the community attracts. We directed the models through a number of scenarios representing life at Lenbrook and worked with the photographer to capture moments that felt authentic and natural.

  • Kimberly-Clark sought to reflect the authentic attributes of its successful Welcome Original Thinkers employer brand via photographs of employees.

 

Welcome Original Thinker Photos by Crimson Creative, Kim Thiel, Photographer.

Kimberly-Clark’s recruiters noted that the authenticity and style of the photographs made it easier for candidates to envision themselves working at the company. They saw themselves reflected in the Welcome Original Thinkers website and support materials, which generated better quality job applicants.

  • The Taylor English law firm needed photographs of its contemporary office space to reinforce the firm’s creativity and commitment to clients.

A visit to the client’s newly renovated space enabled us to identify the right creative approach. We chose to enhance the photos with people in motion, which generated a sense of energy and activity. The end result was modern and inspiring.

  • Meunier Carlin & Curfman, an intellectual property law firm, needed portraits to support how their attorneys’ scientific and technical experience informs their legal expertise.

Our photographic concept was clean and bright to show key partners in a way that would feel crisp and genuine. Especially paired with copy clarifying how the attorneys’ combination of legal and scientific experience deliver results to clients, the photographs enhanced the firm’s overall brand.

The Relish Difference

The Relish team works closely with each client to clearly define requirements for content – determining what will have to appear in each photo – as well as the right overall look and tone. Our relationships with a variety of photographers allow us to pair the expertise of each with the needs of our clients. And, by sourcing models, scouting locations and providing pre-shoot direction to the photographer, we ensure that each photo shoot runs smoothly, on time and within budget.

During shoots, we provide on-site supervision, which enables photographers to focus on the creative aspects of the shoot while we keep an eye on overall creative consistency to achieve the best possible results. We recognize challenges and opportunities due to weather, technical issues, and our client’s on-site business needs. Likewise, we make sure that all photography match defined expectations for content, tone/look/feel, and usability across multiple media.

Most importantly, our clients recognize that Relish Marketing’s guidance and support enable them to convey their brands on multiple functional and emotional levels with distinctive, powerful photography. And… you know the part about a photo being worth 1000 words.

Our Clients’ Advantage

Does all this inspire ideas for your business? Are you wondering what a powerful photographic approach could do for your brand? Browse through the work on our website and talk to us. We want to help you make it happen.


At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward.
Savor your brand. View our brand development client work. Work with us! Contact here.
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product photgraphy

The Importance of Quality Product Photography

When the headlines talk about how we’re living in a digital age, that also means that we’re living in a visual age. According to neuroscience research, 90% of the information sent to the brain is visual and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text. And, in a world in which online shoppers usually bypass the experience of touching and feeling a product, your imagery must be powerful enough to essentially replace the customers’ five senses.

In other words, now more than ever, it’s imperative to have great quality photography and consistent imagery to support your branding and messaging. And since everyone has a camera – at least on their phones – getting the right photo should be easy, right?

Not so fast. Great photography that truly reinforces your brand requires more than a decent camera. When creating product photography for your brand, keep these three important rules in mind:

1. Be Consistent

If you’ve worked with us – or even read our blog posts – you know that we’re sticklers about consistency. That’s because brand consistency should translate across all touchpoints of your brand. Every image should have a consistent look and feel. Take note of dominant colors, levels of brightness, darkness and contrast, the tone of the image, etc. And don’t forget about the role that the background plays in image consistency. Products against various backgrounds can be confusing for the customer and can look cluttered on your website. So, choose a consistent, aesthetically pleasing background.

2. Think Like Your Customer

If you were purchasing this product, how would you like it to be displayed for you to feel confident enough to purchase it? Is this a product where they would be concerned about the texture? If so, be sure to include images that give the customer an idea of what the product feels like. Will the customer understand the benefit implied by the screen on your device? The more you can make the image feel like part of your customer’s experience, the better.

3. Make Them Professional

Don’t underestimate the details that make the difference between a professional looking image and one that was snapped on someone’s mobile phone (although a smart, professional photographer can get amazing results with an iPhone). If you are selling the same product as one of your competitors at the same price, the customer will more than likely go with the company that displays the product in the best way. If you don’t own the proper equipment, aren’t familiar with lighting and editing, or have not created successful product photography before, you should strongly consider hiring a professional to do it for you. Getting it right the first time will ultimately generate savings. And quality photography will position your products and brand in the right light for your customers (pun intended).

Photography is a key element of your brand – whether it reinforces your brand identity or merely shows off your products. Position your brand as the top contender in your market by elevating your product photography and setting yourself apart from competitors. And, just as a more attractive presentation can make a meal taste better, better quality photography can lead to more traffic, more sales conversions and happy customers.

 


At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward.
Savor your brand. View our client work. Work with us! Contact here.


pantone colors

Life at Relish: Our Favorite Pantone Colors

Here at Relish, we work with Pantone colors all the time, so we thought it would be fun to poll the team on what their favorite Pantone color is. Here's what they had to say:

Jennifer
My favorite Pantone color is 9121. It reminds me of the see grass and the dunes at Tybee Island. One of my favorite places to hang out.

Ryan
At first, I was going to say some shade of red because all of my favorite teams share that color (UGA, Atlanta United, Hawks, Falcons and Braves) but I'm going with Pantone 2235 C (which is a blue/green or teal). To me, this color signifies warmth and calmness. It gives me a feeling of home and relaxation which we could all use more of in our lives. It's also my theoretical lightsaber color!

Mia
I love neutral colors and I especially love grays. So my pick is PMS Cool Gray 2 C. It goes with anything!

Pam
I like big bold intense colors that are saturated with energy. My favorite color is Relish Purple PMS 7678 C. It has so much depth and personality to it...which makes it the fitting color to represent our brand!

Amy
I like Pantone 3035c because it is a bold, cool and deep blue—it reminds me of the ocean.

CJ
"Rainbow" has long been my standard answer to, "What's your favorite color?" I like rich, jewel tones and what I love best is how different groupings of colors look together, the effect that they have on each other. But if I look at all my favorite palettes, one color does emerge pretty often, and that's something around PMS 3145, a bright, deep-sea hue. It inspires me to feel both centered and energized while making shades of sand, amber, lime, and violet pop!

Michael
My favorite color is Cerulean Blue - close to sky blue/azure but not as vibrant. Offered in the 24 count and up Crayola boxes, this crayon always wore out first. I had an art teacher in elementary school who MADE us fill up the entire page with color when we were drawing (which completely goes against the idea of artistic expression, in my opinion), so I drew a lot of skies and oceans.

Anyway, it's Pantone 291.

Paul
Since I was a child, I’ve always liked a rich, deep blue. When looking for a color to paint my pre-teen room, it was called Royal Blue. Not until I was in design school did I learn that, while there are many deep shades of blue, almost all with PMS numbers, there was one that had a name. That one has the deep richness, that soothing blue with enough red in it to edge to towards violet, a darkness that was somehow brighter than the other dark blues. My favorite PMS color is Reflex Blue. To find out why it was named, not numbered, you can read more here: https://colormetrix.com/blog/name-reflex-blue-come/.

Jasmine
I've always been drawn to more neutral and muted colors, but have also always been a huge fan of blues and gray, and Pantone 7542 C captures all of that perfectly.

REL 18-108 APR Digital Marcom Pantone Colors Color WheelREL 18-108 APR Digital Marcom Pantone Colors Color Wheel


At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward.
Savor your brand. View our client workWork with us! Contact here.

 


Relish-Links-We-Savor-Millennials

Links We Savor: All These Logos Look the Same, Netflix is Booming, Activist Marketing and More!

 

Entrepreneur | Netflix Shows Are Entertaining Enough, but It’s the Digital Marketing That’s Masterful

Netflix-subscribed households are up almost 100% over the last five years and will continue to grow. More than just their great shows, their digital marketing principles and strategy are what drive customer acquisition and retention success metrics. And it’s all working very well.

Entrepreneur | 5 Marketing Strategies from Major Brands: What You Can Learn From Their Mistakes and Successes

As this article begins, “marketing is a spectator sport,” and there’s a lot we can learn from watching on the sidelines. So grab some popcorn and check out the good and the bad – from PepsiCo’s “Doritos for Her” (you know it’s bad when Ellen pokes fun at your marketing moves) to the new Gerber baby.

Forbes | The Greatest Advertising Space is Hiding in Plain Sight

Everyone’s got one, but no one’s taking advantage of the most ubiquitous advertising space available today – the back of any smartphone. See how Swaponz (pronounced Swap-Ons) is changing that, including their unique phone covers that feature an augmented reality presentation when you use your camera with their app.

Fast Company | Why Do Google, Airbnb and Pinterest All Have Such Similar Logos?

Take a look at the before and after logos of these top brands and tell us what you see. Something vaguely familiar amongst them all? Learn more about the latest logo redesign trends and the reasons behind them.

Marketing Dive | Is Activist Advertising the New Frontier?

With 55% of Gen Z choosing brands that are socially responsible and eco-friendly, more and more brands are taking a stand for the movements and causes they believe in. But doing so doesn’t automatically equal success. See when it works and when it should be avoided.

 


At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward. Savor your brand. View our client work. Work with us! Contact here.


corporate-rebrands-2017

Our Top 4 Corporate Rebrands of 2017

In our constant quest to help our clients savor their brands, we’re always on the lookout for inspiration from the latest examples of excellence. With that in mind, we asked members of our Creative team to share their picks for the best corporate rebrands of 2017.

Mozilla

mozilla-logo-rebrand

Design Manager, Ryan Fitzpatrick says that the Mozilla rebrand is his favorite, “not only for the logo and the brand architecture which echoes their involvement in all things Internet, but also for the process they used in rebranding. Rather than using small focus groups or limited research to hone their brand, they opened up the process to anyone interested, getting feedback from their fan base at all points in the process. The result is edgy, colorful and unique.”

 

The Huffington Post > HUFFPOST

huff-post-logo-rebrand

The Huffington Post’s rebrand as HUFFPOST impressed Senior Designer, Amy Baldis. “As someone with a background in newspapers, it's refreshing to see an effective san-serif logo in the news industry (even if the company is 100% digital). The new logo is not only cleaner and more readable, but the forward-slanted design plays homage to their edgy news. The mint color palette is also a refreshing touch (pun intended).”

YouTube

 youtube-logo-rebrand

YouTube’s brand refresh garnered the company a lot of press this year – for many good reasons. Art Director, Paul Marquart, says that while slight typography updates improved the brand’s legibility, “the most noticeable change deals with the big red play button that is the main touchpoint for YouTube's brand. By pulling the red holding shape away from the type and making the play button icon an essential element of the logo, the company has placed emphasis on their most recognizable brand asset; an icon that is quickly becoming as ubiquitous on computer screens as the mouse cursor.”

Audi audi-logo-rebrand

Creative Director, Michael Palermo says that the rationale behind automobile manufacturer Audi’s brand update is as interesting as the company’s “efficient (and aesthetically pleasing) adjustment to their existing brand.” He notes, “Rather than adjust the brand first, then create the user interface (UI) afterward, the redesign began with the UI. Since Audi is shifting toward becoming a truly digital car company, the design approach behind its brand update speaks volumes to both their company philosophy and business strategy.”

Michael affirms, “It’s important to pay attention to what leading brands are doing right and how they are doing it. By continually seeking examples of excellence outside our own walls, we stay engaged with important trends, keeping our creativity fresh and on point for Relish’s clients.”


At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward. Savor your brand. View our client work. Work with us! Contact here.


links we savor relish january

Links We Savor: Pantone's Color of the Year, Trends to Watch in 2018 and More!

 

The New York Times | The Future Is…Purple

We’re only a little thrilled that Pantone Color Institute named Ultra Violet as the 2018 color of the year (Relish Marketing has long been partial to purple). See how Pantone made the selection and whether the forecast is for a Purple Reign.

Social Media Week | 7 Ways to Engage Millennials and Gen Z on Social Media in 2018

Social media is changing – which means getting more strategic with audiences like Millennials and Gen Z, who spend so much time online. Look at these seven ways you can engage them on social media this year.

Forbes | 10 Workplace Trends You’ll See in 2018

We’ve all read how the positive US economy indicators are all in place – but what should you DO to succeed in 2018? Forbes’ top trends for 2018 go beyond the usual with important ways to prepare for future success.

Digital Marketing Institute | 11 Web Design Trends to Watch in 2018

Increase user engagement. Lower bounce rates. Achieve higher conversion rates. Right. But how do you do it? Take a look at these 11 ways to improve your online presence in 2018.

AdWeek | 3 Ways Word of Mouth Influencers Will Change the Way You Advertise in 2018

Will Mom be more influential than any celebrity this year? Read AdWeek’s report on influencer marketing for the answer – and see how influencer marketing could make or break a campaign.

 


At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward. Savor your brand. View our client work. Work with us! Contact here.


Northwestern Benefit website

Project Spotlight: Northwestern Benefit Website Redesign

Project Spotlight: Northwestern Benefit Website Redesign


Ask

Northwestern Benefit, an innovative provider of employer benefits and consulting services, needed its website to better show the depth and breadth of its offerings, while better expressing what set them apart from others in their industry. At the same time, the firm needed a fresh, easy-to-navigate look and feel. A site refresh and redesign would reduce clutter, update its look, improve content, and make it user-friendly for existing and prospective clients.

Northwestern Benefit website

Solution

Working with Northwestern Benefit’s marketing team, the team at Relish Marketing began by simplifying the website’s navigation. More appealing visuals better showcased the firm’s services and made it easier to connect site visitors with team members who could provide more information. New photography reinforced the brand’s updated look and feel. Content was edited to be friendlier and more consistent. And a functional, attractive typeface was selected to underscore the message: Northwestern Benefit is intentionally different.

 Northwestern Benefit mobile website

Results

Visitors to the updated website immediately get a clear, compelling picture of the Northwestern Benefit brand value: the advanced services they offer to clients and their employees, and the relationship-based approach that sets the firm apart.

 

Project Services – BRAND | DESIGN | ONLINE | CONTENT

 


At Relish Marketing, our fusion of creative and strategy unlocks your brand and propels it forward.
Savor your brand. View our brand development client work. Work with us! Contact here.


How to Concept Like a Pro

A marketing concept is defined as a clear idea around which an ad or campaign can be created. However, the word ‘concept’ has lost its meaning. It is much larger than just a design layout, a catchy headline, or a message that doesn’t relate to the consumer or employee benefit. Below you will find guidelines, mostly for design creatives, brought to you by a designer. Now, every project will be different, (*gasp*) but the list below can help fellow creatives begin working toward a strong concept.

Okay. So, you have landed a project! Hell yeah! Your boss asks in President Bartlet fashion, “What’s next?”

  1. Research

I have the gigantic benefit of Relish’s Account Service team, which does most of the research for projects at Relish. Without that team, my designs might look appealing but lack connection to what the client actually needs.

For example, if we are rebranding for a hospital in Wisconsin, the design team could crank out several great looking options. However, the account team’s research is the reason we know the client’s competitors and their logos, colors the client wants to stay away from because of college rivalry in the area (yes that is a thing), the history of the company, and overall what appeals to them. Look at every client and find out what makes each one different. Be intentional.

2. Inspiration

This is my favorite part - searching on Behance, Designspiration, Creative Market, and sometimes even Pinterest to find out what is out there. Don't look at other designs or campaigns with envy. Instead, learn what they have done, find out what is appealing to you and draw inspiration from the people and designers around you. Here at Relish Marketing, when we find inspiring work, we print it out and hang it up on the wall.

Relish concepting

3. Sketching

I have always been bad at this. I always want to find inspiration and then go straight to my computer and pull up Illustrator. I think, “Oh I got it! It’s in my head.” Wrong. There is a huge difference between sketching on a computer and putting pen to paper. Technology is incredibly advanced, and as designers, we have a lot of capabilities, but there is still an advantage to sketching with no boundaries, using a pen and paper.

Kraton logo concepts

4. More Sketching

You have 10 concepts? Cool. Make 90 more. Go outside. Sketch. Go to a quiet room. Sketch. Go to the bar and have a beer and sketch. You will draw inspiration from your environment even if you don’t realize it. I find that when I sketch before a project, I can develop my ideas so that the process goes more seamlessly later on.

Core Dance logo concepts

5. Concepting on the Computer

Okay. You can go to your computer now. You have 100 ideas sketched. You deserve it. You will find it is easier to put your ideas in the computer when you have a sketch in front of you.

K-C L&D Icons concepts

6. Polish it up!

Tweaking ideas is the most challenging part of the concepting process for me. When I create a logo, icons, or layout, I already think that it looks good. I wouldn’t have sent it to my Creative Director or the client if I didn’t think so. However, there is always room for improvement and change. Remember, unlike you, the client is going to be looking at your design almost every day – it is only right that they be satisfied.

And there you have it. Of course, every designer is different, but following a process like this one turns a concept into an end product that is intentional, attractive, and effective.