Alex Haddon | November 2017

What are the most important marketing items you need to create brand awareness and drive sales successfully? After nearly 20 years in business, we think we know the answer...

Brand success is built on quality and consistency. The right quality for your audience and a consistency in delivery to ensure staying power.

Whether you are starting up a new business, launching a brand or just need to take things to the next level, we believe that with this set of well designed communication tools, you gain real competitive advantage.

1. Brand platform

A logo is not a brand. See it as the flag on the top of your ship's mast as it is the signpost to your service or product. The logo is a central part of your brand platform but it needs a cast of performers to support it. This comes in the shape of imagery, graphics, formats, colours and typefaces. The combination and application is what will make you stand out in a crowd. This should also include a brand manual – can be short a sweet but you have no idea how useful it is after a period of time as it ensures everyone stays on brand as time passes.

2. Website

You don't need to go all singing and dancing from the outset. The best websites are often delivered in phases. But, from the day you start talking about your business you need to have a web page – for Google and the googlers. How much information you have on your website will depend on your business and the stage it is at. We advise you make your site future-proof by building, even a small site, properly with decent code and a content management system (CMS) so that you don't waste financial resources by having to re-do anything at a later stage.

3. Email signature

Email is often the primary communication method and a properly thought through email signature works wonders to re-assure existing and potential customers that you are reliable and relevant. We advise to keep things simple to avoid any technical delivery pitfalls.

4. Email template

You will probably need to email in bulk at some points so having a well-thought out email template within a reputable emailing service is important. Cut-through rates vary hugely but recent research by Mailchimp suggests that keeping things simple is the most successful. They have an interesting article you can read on this here. Email providers that we advocate include Mailchimp, Pure360 and Constant Contact.

5. Stationery

This would include business card, email signature and letterhead (printed, electronic or both) at least but you may also want compliment slips, presentation covers and a brochure. This will depend on your type of business and how the sales cycle works for you.

6. PPT template

Spending a small amount of money on getting your powerpoint template created with all the brand assets in place will save you an incredible amount of time!

7. Social media graphics / template

Whatever your line of business, ignore social media at your peril. Luckily for some, you don't need to do a lot of it unless you want to and it generates the results you are looking for. What will enhance the effectiveness greatly is imagery branded to you.

Aside from this, you can delve further into animations, video, branded merchandise, packaging and other brand promotion but we think that the above seven items will serve you well and provide the biggest return on investment, especially in early stages of brand building. If this has raised any questions, please feel free to email me on alex@icdesign.co.uk

Recent projects include:

Branded cityscape forms a central part of Vesta Property's brand assets

Website for Brick Lane Brews, based at City Airport

Email templates for MW Eat; Amaya, Chutney Mary & Veeraswamy restaurants

Printed business stationery for Peter Blincow

Social media graphics for AVCA promoting their annual conference