Learn about what’s happening inside Turquoise Creative, along with interesting extras!
If your brand was a cup of coffee what type of coffee would it be?
Imagine stepping into your favourite coffee shop, where a welcome smile awaits and the familiar aroma reminds you this is the place where you are delighted to spend the next ½ an hour simply relaxing.
You know the coffee experience will be perfect, just as you like it, because it always is. The smooth, rich flavour sets you up for the rest of the day. One thing’s for sure, you’ll be back again and again and again.
But, life’s not always full of the perfect coffee experience, is it?
Along the way you’re subjected to dishwater masquerading as coffee. At least you have a suspicion it’s going to be dire, so you can choose to refuse. Unlike the cup of coffee that’s full of promise, but the first bitter sip sends your taste buds into a frenzy of disappointment.
Just as your expectations are set from the ambience of the coffee shop, the design of cup, the look, smell and taste of your chosen latte, cappuccino or espresso, so do your customers have an expectation as they familiarise themselves and interact with your brand.
Where along the coffee scale does your brand sit?
It’s a serious question to consider. Depending on how eye catching, inspiring and dependable the interactions your prospects and customers have with your brand will determine how successful your business is.
How do you know where your brand is on the coffee scale?
The answer: A Brand Audit.
Conducting a brand audit is a worthwhile exercise. There are many benefits to gain. You can:
- Double check that your brand accurately reflects the business as it is today (not how it was when you first started out)
- Determine how outsiders perceive of your brand (it may be different to what you think)
- Make small adjustments to correct misalignments and avoid misunderstandings
- See how you stand up against your competitors. What do they do well? How can you counteract that?
- Check that your brand will take the business into the future
- Ensure your brand encourages loyalty from your customers
- Retain and attract the best employees
Gather the evidence
The first steps of a brand audit is to gather and list the evidence.
Start with the obvious:
- All tangible marketing materials including business cards, flyers, brochures, letterhead
- Your business plan
- Your business story
- Brand guidelines (colours, fonts)
- Website including a list of all domains
Then the less obvious:
- Key words
- Email signature
- Vehicles (wrapped, clean)
- How is your telephone answered and what is your voice message?
- What is displayed when you pop up on the Internet? Check your Google account and on-line directories you registered with many years ago.
A useful way to build this list is to think about all the touch points a prospect has from first becoming aware of your business through to when they become a customer and a returning loyal customer.
Review your list
Having gathered the evidence, the next step is to review. You may scatter the hard copy marketing material on a table. What does it say? Dishwater or strong and robust? Is it consistent?
When was the content on your website last updated? Does it reflect an accurate image of the business? Are all other on-line instances consistent.
How do your employees perceive your brand? Ask your customers too, if you can?
Write a brief report of your findings. The framework of a SWOT analysis could be helpful here.
You may be quite attached to your brand, after all it’s your baby, but it’s important to keep an open mind throughout the review. This is when a third party’s opinion will be most useful. Of course, you can do a DIY brand audit, but when you consider the benefits that this review brings to the business the opinion and advice of a brand specialist completes the job properly.
We invite you to take the Brand/Coffee test?
By now you’ve probably realised we are just as passionate about our coffee as we are about creating strong brands.
If you’re serious about creating a strong and trusted brand that will stand your business in good stead over the coming years, get in touch and let’s arrange a chat over a nice cup of coffee.
You can call us on 01293 886805 or email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Make it snappy with Infographics
Our ever-diminishing attention is now less than that of a goldfish, which apparently is 9 seconds!
Since that’s the case we need to find ways of capturing people’s attention and engaging with them in super-fast time.
We live in an age where we are time poor and want instant gratification; think convenience foods and on-line shopping.
We don’t have time to read long detailed articles (we’ll keep this one short!).
Just give me the management summary!
This is why imagery is so important in your marketing. It helps you get across a message or evoke an emotion in seconds.
Think about your website. You have between 5 and 7 seconds to capture the website visitor’s attention. How do you do this? Probably with a well-crafted strapline and an image.
Let’s assume you have this nailed and you have gained their attention, for the next 10 seconds at least.
Question: How else could you provide the next chunk of detail quickly and in a way that’s easy to take in?
Answer: An Infographic.
This is an infographic we used in our article about colour and branding.
This infographic is eye-catching. It inspires curiosity to look further. It encourages the reader to move from section to section taking in the content. It’s thought provoking; “I recognise that logo and see how it fits with the emotion”.
Most of all it imparts a lot of information extremely quickly.
Imagine how dull it would be if this information was displayed in sentences and paragraphs. Yawn! We bet you wouldn’t read it all.
Infographics are great for:
- Livening up dry subjects
- Summarising complex information in proposals or reports
- Adding eye-catching visuals to web pages and blogs
- Coaxing extra seconds of engagement to win over a prospect
- They’re fun!
What might your Infographic look like?
Infographics are a brilliant way of getting information across quickly in an interesting and engaging way.
We hope this short article has inspired you to think about how you can use infographics in your marketing and sales collateral. We’d love to capture and create your infographic(s).
Give us a call on 01293 886805 or emails us to arrange a quick chat.Other articles relevant to :
It was evident that after 13 successful years the PRS Recruitment brand no longer reflected what the business was all about. When PRS Recruitment created a Facebook page they realised something was wrong, but couldn’t put their finger on it.
Their logo was distorted and the cover photo didn’t work. The image of lots of people dressed in work attire represented the variety of candidates they placed, but it looked more like a crowded platform of angry Southern rail commuters!
It was at this point that George Parker, Director at PRS Recruitment had a conversation with Steve Oakes of Turquoise Creative.
Why rebranding was necessary
PRS Recruitment services two distinct markets:
- Temporary and contract staff to the transport, office and industries
- Executive search in the fire and security industry
In order to appeal to these two different markets, PRS needed to develop a brand for each division, but one that still stayed true to the ethos of the company. A group of businesses was created and PRS Recruitment became PRS Group.
Turquoise Creative created 2 brand identities for each stream of the PRS business. A crisp, clean and fresh logo which represented the business in the modern world with the streamline: Matching the right people to the right jobs. The brand style and imagery was created to reflect a creative, forward-thinking established business.
Turquoise Creative worked with the PRS recruitment teams to develop a template for displaying jobs on social media. The template made the process of creating the job advert quicker, and at the same time ensuring the brand integrity.
From the design concepts, the website was built and social media channels defined. The other marketing collateral came online, which included flagship company brochure, business cards, stationery, advertising and signage.
The new website was launched in April 2017. Visitors to PRS Group can clearly see each division, PRS Recruitment Solutions or PRS Fire & Safety Recruitment.
PRS not only thought about their candidates, clients and prospects. Their offices had a refresh too! They redecorated and hung new signage and posters displaying the new images and key messages.
Benefits of the rebrand
The rebranding not only helps PRS with a clearer digital marketing strategy, it also provides them with flexibility for future business growth plans.
They can now easily expand their business by creating a new brand to reflect a different market sector. If they wish to sell parts of the business a division can be easily separated from the others.
“Steve’s ability to see the bigger picture and ask us questions about our business and plans for the future has been a hugely useful exercise. We’ve certainly gained a lot more than we ever anticipated. We now have a brand that puts us in a very strong position today and will also stand us in good stead for the future.”
Darren Hinton, Director at PRS Group
Has your business evolved over the years?
Does your brand reflect your business as it is today?
If you feel that your brand could do with a refresh so that it appeals to the right types of customers, please give us a call on 01293 886805 or email us.Other articles relevant to :
Q: What do an autism awareness charity and an accountancy practice have in common?
A: They both invested in creating a brand identity.
Autism Parent Empower wanted to raise awareness among families with children with autism letting them know that they could access key interventions locally.
Sigma Partner’s challenge was very different. They needed to communicate a change to the business name, as well as stand out in a crowded market.
Click here to find out how Autism Parent Empower’s brand identity evolved.
Click here to find out how Sigma’s brand identity evolved.
They both had very different challenges, yet the solution was exactly the same…
…to create a stand-out brand identity.
Creating a stand-out Brand Identity
A basic brand identity kit consists of a logo, business card, letterhead, and email signature. This basic set of materials can be extended to include: brochures, folders, flyers, website, exhibition stand and vehicle livery.
A successful brand identity is built around 9 characteristics.
If you feel that your brand needs some attention, please do get in touch. You can call us on 01293 886805 or email email@example.com.
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It’s a competitive world!
The results of a Google search for ‘Accountant in <your county>’ returns pages and pages of suggestions. This just confirms how competitive the accountancy industry is. Add to this the emergence of cloud technology, accountancy practices need to adapt and add value in order to stand out from the crowd.
Out with the old…
We met a forward-thinking team of partners in July 2016, whilst they were still trading as Wilder Coe. At the time, they were going through a restructure of the business. The evolution meant a complete name change was required and a new brand identity design that could incorporate two parts of the new business; the accountancy practice and the payroll bureau.
In with the new…brand identity
The steps to create a brand were completely unknown to the partners, so they were extremely happy to be guided by us throughout the process.
Firstly, we needed to come up with a new name. The name needed to reflect the firm’s experience as qualified Chartered Certified Accountants and their long record of excellence. It had to appeal to their target market; budding entrepreneurs, established businesses and individuals in vocational fields.
During a fun and energetic meeting, which we facilitated, the partners decided on the name Sigma Partners.
The next step was to develop a series of brand identity designs playing on the sigma symbol.
The uppercase sigma is familiar to those regularly using spreadsheets, however, the lowercase sigma symbol is not so well known and this is what we incorporated into the logotype to create a subtle but memorable identity.
Research reinforces how important colour is when developing a brand identity:
- 60% of the time people will decide if they are attracted or not to a message – based on colour alone!
- Colour can increase brand recognition by up to 80 percent.
The dominant colours for the Sigma brand are green and blue.
Green symbolises life, vitality, balance and energy. This gives Sigma’s clients the reassuring feeling that they are qualified to assist their business.
Green is associated with growth, harmony, freshness, safety, and the environment.
Green is also traditionally associated with money, finances, banking and ambition.
Blue is a calming colour that denotes security, confidence, intelligence and trust.
Deep shades of blue are a sign of expertise, further endorsing the comfort that Sigma’s clients are in the hands of a qualified and skilled accountancy practice.
To reflect the local area where Sigma’s clients are based, landscape photography from around Mid Sussex has been used on the website, creating an energy and balance to the brand.
Consistency across all communications…
The new logos have been implemented across all communication channels, including stationery, advertising, website, signage and social media.
The future for Sigma Partners
Sigma Partners now has a clean modern image and a new face to promote to their target market. Their new brand identity underpins how they help small and medium sized businesses in the Mid Sussex area to plan their business, handling all aspects of taxation from self-assessment to corporation tax, assisting in financial planning, audit and provide business consultancy.
“ From the beginning, Steve was fully engaged with the project and completely understood what we wanted to achieve with the rebrand.
All of the design concepts he produced were excellent and produced a considerable amount of dialogue between the partners!!
His vision and creative input was excellent and also keep the project moving and on track, whilst also advising on other items around the rebrand. We are all delighted with the outcome.”
What does your brand image say about you?
In order to flourish and grow, businesses need to evolve, just as Sigma Partners has done. If you feel that your brand no longer represents your business and you would like an informal chat to see how you can refresh or completely change your image, feel free to call us on 01293 886805 or email us.Other articles relevant to :
When Turquoise Creative first met Jo-Ann D’Costa-Manuel of Autism Parent Empower, other than an amazing vision, she had no tangible means to share her powerful message.
Autism Parent Empower was founded by Jo-Ann and Wayne and inspired by their own experiences as they dealt with the challenges they faced as parents with a child with Autism. One of the main problems they wished to address was that there was nowhere to access key interventions immediately.
Having collaborated with some of the best professionals around the UK, they created a 12-week programme, including all the elements they wish they’d had at the start of their journey but didn’t.
Autism Parent Empower – The Brand
With so much energy and planning already gone into Autism Parent Empower they desperately needed a means to raise awareness among families facing similar challenges.
So, to do this Jo-Ann commissioned Turquoise Creative to create the brand. At the initial branding meeting, our discussions included the name, logo design and brand values. Turquoise Creative then went away and created the brand identity, brand styling and creative direction, which needed to be engaging, bright and memorable.
Following the branding meeting, the Autism Parent Empower brand identity emerged.
Since then, Autism Parent Empower has built up a big following of 13,080 likes on their Facebook page and spread awareness through the local and national community.
“Steve didn’t just hear our story, he listened to every detail. He felt our emotion, he witnessed our hope. He created an identity and brand which is simply amazing.” Jo-Ann D’Costa-Manuel
Turquoise Creative – The marketing collateral
As part of the awareness campaign, on 21st January 2017, the very first ‘Quiet Hour’ in a UK food supermarket was launched.
A variety of marketing collateral and exhibition materials was required for the promotion of the Quiet Hour as well as the programme and on-going brand awareness.
“Steve’s exceptional creativity and professionalism makes him one of the very best the industry has to offer.” Highly recommended from Autism Parent Empower. Jo-Ann D’Costa-Manuel
In addition to the brand identity and marketing material Turquoise Creative created:
- Launch invitation and leaflet which was held at Houses of Parliament
- Social media branding
- ‘Because I can’ a 16 page booklet – full of ideas, strategies, recipes and positivity
- Promotional A3 Calendar
- Pull-up banner
- Flashmob postcard and posters
- Corporate folder
- Website design
You can take a look at some of the Autism Parent Empower marketing collateral here.
Steve, Creative Director of Turquoise Creative said, “This has been such a fulfilling branding project to work on. Jo-Ann’s enthusiasm is infectious. You can’t help but be inspired by their dream to help others. They now have means to spread their messages, grow their community and provide the help that families need.”
Are you ready to put the U and I in AUTISM…?
Jo-Ann says, “It is time to put control back in the hands of the people that matter the most – Parents. We will work with them and their child in the home, in the community and even in the kitchen. We will be by their sides to guide them, teach them and empower them. I have walked this path with my own family and feel privileged to share their journey and watch their children reach their full potential.”
For more information visit www.autismparentempower.org
Check out the coverage we got on the ITV News
What are Brand Guidelines?
Brand Guidelines are a set of rules that explain how your brand works. You may have heard brand guidelines also referred to as brand standards, style guides or a brand book.
These guidelines typically include basic information such as:
- An overview of your brand’s history, vision and personality
- Brand identity guidelines including brand colours, brand typefaces and brand application.
Every brand, from the smallest business or startup, to corporate giants such as Adidas or Apple, need a set of brand guidelines and rules to maintain their brand identity.
Brand guidelines can be a couple of pages, or a few hundred. It is the thread that holds together what the client / customer sees from a company.
What is a Brand Book?
A Brand Book establishes the personality and visual elements of your company. It governs every aspect of communication from the company.
The Brand Book includes everything from the design of an identity or logo and how it must be used, to stationery design, marketing literature and the look of your website.
The Brand Book is the basis of all communications on behalf of your company, including social media, advertising and graphic design. It is a document that establishes guidelines on how all aspects of your company’s brand will be handled. It establishes rules for creating a unified and identifiable presence for your brand or business.
The Brand Book helps staff correctly use and communicate the brand message. It outlines brand rules and the company philosophy. It also answers key questions such as: What is the correct use of the identity or logo? What images are associated with the brand and products? What are the brand colours and colour breakdowns?
A Brand Book outlines all the basic design tools that are needed to create all company communications.
Identity / Logo
Once your logo has been designed, it is vital to maintain its integrity across all media platforms. This includes how the logo is to be used, from placement to sizing.
Our Extreme Brand Guidelines do a great job in defining exactly how the logo can be used, outlining placement, size and surrounding white space. Remember, your logo is the one thing clients have to identify your brand. Make sure you maintain a consistent use of that image.
Select a few typefaces that will be used in design projects. This may include one set of rules for print projects and another for digital applications. But make sure the typefaces have some common links. For example, many web designers prefer sans serif typefaces for body text whereas you may prefer a serif style for print. Find a commonality between the two. Consider a headline or ‘big type’ style that you can use for both types of design projects.
Most brands use one of two primary typefaces. Then select a complimentary typeface and substitute typefaces. Ideally, the brand should include no more than five typefaces and their usage.
A defined colour palette is one of the most important aspects of the brand book.
For example consider the Golden Arches of McDonald’s. Would you clearly recognise McDonald’s if the giant M was another colour? The Brand Book should outline each colour and how it should be used. The brand book must clearly define each colour by name and value. Give each colour values: (CMYK for print) and (RGB, HEX for digital projects). Also, specify Pantone colours for each of your primary brand colours.
Guidelines for images are more than just whether you will rely on photography or illustrations or other types of graphics.
The Brand Book should explain how images will be sourced, edited in Photoshop and applied. Image guidelines should also define when and how certain types of images are used. Will the brand use photography or illustrations or a combination of both? Is clip art acceptable? How will images be edited? Will they be reproduced in duotone, full colour or black and white? All of these questions should be answered within the imagery guidelines.
Brand Book Checklist
Here’s a list of areas your Brand Book should cover:
1. Overview of brand, including history, vision and personality
2. Identity / Logo specifications
4. Colour palette, primary and secondary colours
5. Imagery specifications, including photographic style
6. Letterhead and business card design examples
7. Design layouts and grids
8. Printed brochure guidelines
9. Signage and outdoor advertising
10. Social media guidelines
11. Visual applications
Brand Guidelines Conclusion
In the creation of your Brand Book, think of how it will be used. Your Brand Book is a guide to how your business should be portrayed to your clients and customers.
Keep the guidelines direct and simple, but also think about how restricting they can be. Guidelines that are too strict can limit the creativity of designers. Guidelines that are too loose may result in multiple or disjointed brand identities.
Use your brand book as a starting point and establish a culture around it that allows designers room for creative thought, while maintaining the aura of the brand in a variety of projects.
Remember the ultimate goal of the Brand Book is to create a distinct and unified presence for your brand.
If you would like to create a set of Brand Guidelines, please contact Steve Oakes on 01293 886805 or 07813 339789 or email us.Other articles relevant to :
The role of typography is twofold:
- To clearly connect with your customers and
- Accurately reflect the character of your brand
Just as colours play an important role in the communication of your brand, so too does the typeface.
Using a default font on your logo, for example, could be seen as lack of attention to detail or cutting corners on investment in your own business. Certainly not how you would want to be perceived by future customers.
Therefore, time should equally be taken to decide the correct typeface that will connect with your target audience.
Striking the correct tone
Different fonts express different tones. A care home would choose a font with a tone that expresses warmth and friendliness. A financial services company might choose a font that is more serious and professional. These tones affect the way your customers view your business.
The tone of a font has great power over how your brand is perceived. Remember when Google changed their typeface? The old logo design, created in 1999, was a serif typeface. The new logo is a colourful sans serif typeface called Product Sans. Much had changed within the business of Google and this is why they needed to change their logo.
Fonts express the tone of your business
1. Professional, luxury, knowledge or authority
A business that wishes to express these qualities will choose classic and traditional fonts such as serifs.
2. Straightforward and functional
A business that wishes to express these qualities will choose modern sans serifs that are trendy and simplistic.
3. Reliable and approachable
A business that wishes to express these qualities will choose elegant, thin or narrow fonts.
4. Warm, friendly or even dramatic
A business that wishes to express these qualities will choose bold fonts.
5. Fun, outgoing or emotional
A business that wishes to express these qualities will choose handwritten or scripted fonts. These are not used within text as the smaller the size of font the harder it is to read. You’ll notice many logos use these types of font.
Streamline the fonts you use
If too many fonts are used the outcome is generally messy and confusing. The rule when deciding the fonts to use within your marketing material is to choose just a few. This will ensure your brand image is honed and streamlined.
3 font categories
As previously mentioned this should never by a default font such as Arial or Times New Roman.
Your logo generally creates the first impression and is the long lasting image that stays with your customers. It differentiates you from your competitors and sets the tone and customers’ expectation.
2. Heading and strapline
Your logo may not use a font but many logos incorporate a strapline, either way this secondary typeface should complement your logo.
The font chosen should be eye-catching, whilst remaining easy to read and can also be used for headlines and sub-headings.
3. Body text
The font for the body text of your marketing collateral is often taken from the same family as the main fonts. Again, this font should be easy to read as it’s likely to be small and used in larger blocks of text.
Readability is crucial, so a good tip is to choose a font that has generous spaces between the letters so the words can be read more fluidly.
When you consider it can take many encounters with your brand for potential customers to actually connect, you want to avoid making this task even harder through inconsistency of typeface between different channels or media.
Choosing your set of fonts carefully with their use in mind and using them consistently will allow your audience to become familiar with your brand more quickly and make a lasting impression.
Think before updating fonts
Having read this article, you may now feel that your fonts do not accurately reflect the qualities you wish your brand to portray. If you do update your logo font remember to also update the other categories of font so that they all work in harmony.
If you would like to have a chat about your typeface feel free to send me an email or call on T: 01293 886805 or M: 07813 339789Other articles relevant to :