The world is changing and fast. Technology is moving at a rate we struggle to keep up with on a day to day level, mobiles, tablets, virtual reality – reality in general. The amount of information we consume on a daily basis is increasing, but our retention rate is decreasing.
Branding for a digital world
Visual branding too has changed. As a business, you have to think digital first and how branding fits into this on-the-go world of ours. The smart phone in our pocket has become the most important piece of ‘real estate’ we possess.
A visual brand today needs to be agile, change and adapt – it needs to live and breathe. It’s not a static entity anymore. The brand experience for the user needs to be memorable and interactive to compete with the abundance of noise we consume everyday.
Visually, your brand for a digital world should have ‘movable assets’ in the form of animations (whether loading on a digital platform, or full animations), videos, gifs and other interactive elements.
The challenge for your brand will always be maintaining consistency across digital and offline print applications and a strong ‘brand champion’ in the form of a dedicated internal team member or your agency should handle.
Brand assets for a digital world
There are aspects of your brand that you will need to consider and factor into your brand guidelines that will have a direct bearing in a digital world.
- Photography & art direction for a multi-screen world
- Aspect ratios. An area of focus will allow your images to scale well and respond consistently across all digital platforms
- Consider ‘safe areas’ or ‘zones’ that the photographer can focus on.
- Portrait vs landscape images. Full width images that are used on websites for example, need to be captured in a way that allows for ‘letterbox’ style crops. Ensure your photographer captures enough of the subject to allow for this. Or, its always best to capture both landscape and portrait images to cater for this and of course social media channels and posts.
- Typography and Fonts
- Ensure that the fonts you choose for your brand can render correctly on digital platforms. Most emphasis will be around off-line content with little consideration for websites and on-line portals.
- Your brand colours will look different in print and on-screen. Pantone colours selected won’t look the same on your screen. Make sure there are rules and colour values set for each medium.
- While having a complex and beautiful grid system set up for all printed documents, the online world is still fairly primitive – just think about Internet Explorer X (shuddering) and how different websites can render. Responsive grids and layouts allow for websites to ‘re-compile’ based on screen size. Include this in your brand thinking and guidelines.
To compete for attention, brand personalisation has to be high on any marketing team’s agenda. In this digital world we live in, data capture and analytics have to be used. Marketing for the masses is dead. How can you tailor your digital brand for each person that interacts with you? What information do you capture about them? Although, be careful now that GDPR has landed. But if you’re OPT in strategy has been robust in the past, you should be OK. Don’t hang your hat on me saying so though… 😀
Listen and respond
Your brand is no longer a one way street. The role of social media has opened up the conversation not only with the brand, but with the globe. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc etc – where ever your digital brand exists, make sure you pick and engage with the conversations that go on. Speed of response will be critical in times of helping with enquiries, ‘squashing’ naysayers or any negative experiences that have come about.
Take away tips for you
- Start with mobile first. How does your visual brand look and behave on a smartphone?
- What ‘movable assets’ do you have in your brand toolkit?
- Audit your brand assets for a digital world
- Listen and interact with online audiences
- Consistency is key across online and offline
Of course, let me know if you want an assessment of your current brand. I’d be happy to help. You can email me direct, or call the studio. Or, if you’re interested, take a look at what brand means to us.