Chances are the first thing that came to your mind was the visual presentation.
A cool logo, a stunning color palette, good-looking images. Of course, the visuals are the most important element when it comes to branding basics, so marketers often overfocus on them to attract the attention of customers.
Be it designing graphics for an application or creating a memorable logo for a brand, one goal seems to overwhelm others: deliver an awesome design that reflects the brand identity.
That’s where many companies make a mistake by forgetting about the importance of the connection between the content and the design. If they don’t make them consistent, the brand experience will suffer in a big way.
Design and Content = Consistent Brand Experience
No doubt, the visual experience of customers with the brand is of critical importance for making a brand memorable and keep it on the top of their minds.
That’s why every time a brand communicates with a customer in a crowded digital environment, it makes sure the experience is unique and positive.
The design, however, isn’t the only element that creates that unique and awesome brand experience. To move a customer seamlessly to conversion, the design must be perfectly aligned with it intuitively.
They should be like a marriage made in heaven if you will.
Brand Experience: Design
Connecting design and content is a strategic process. Yes, it sounds a bit boring but stay with me for a second.
Take a look at this email from Starbucks. The purpose here is to advertise two new drinks to customers and convince them to try them soon.
Look how delicious and awesome both of them are! Starbucks is great at creating new drinks, but these two definitely look amazing.
A flat white coffee made with almond milk and a latte with coconut milk. Wow, the folks looking for milk substitutes will be glad to know they can treat yourself to a cup of new tasty coffee.
By the way, as someone who goes to Starbucks quite often, I can totally tell where the email came from even without the company’s logo.
Many fans like me would have little problems recognizing the brand’s colors and visual style (we see it every time when we go to a Starbucks, after all).
The images of the drinks, the graphics, the style, the logo, the colors – that’s the design at work. As fans of Starbucks who received this email, for example, we had no problems recognizing where this email came from.
Brand Experience: Content
Okay, let’s talk about the written content of the Starbucks email. It’s:
- Easy to read
These are the basics of branded content writing. No one wants to read long and tedious marketing messages, so Starbucks gets to the point as quickly as possible. Nicely done.
But the readability isn’t the only thing they nailed.
The email copy gives these names for the new drinks: “Coconutmilk Latte” and Almondmilk Honey Flat White.”
Wait, are “Coconutmilk” and “Almondmilk” even words?
Of course not.
But I can tell you with some confidence that most of the people reading this email didn’t even notice that. You know why? Because the folks at Starbucks are creative and come up with different names for coffee drinks.
They do so because they want these names to be associated with Starbucks.
When you Google “Coconut milk latte,” you’ll find recipes for the drink as the top results. No sign of Starbucks yet.
But, if you search for “Coconutmilk latte,” here’s what you’ll get.
The first two results come from Starbucks and the third one is an article that talks about Starbucks’s new drink.
That’s how one aligns the design and the content, folks. Now, you’re ready to know how to connect them to create a consistent brand experience for your customers.
Build a content strategy to support brand design
Okay, now let’s get to planning your awesome content strategy. To create the digital connection between your brand and content, consider this.
1. Have a sit-down with your designers and content writers
Who is responsible for brand designs in your company?
Chances are it’s designers and UX folks.
It’s a pretty common approach that’s really fine, but aligning the design and content requires another party to participate: content creators. These could be copywriters, for example.
By going with a cross-discipline approach like this, you make sure that content creators can fully contribute to the branding process. They can do so in many ways:
- Advice on copy length and word choice
- Assess the quality of storytelling
- Inspire to describe a specific meaning or create a narrative around a product, service, or digital experience
- Advice on the structure, logical flow of ideas, and clarity of marketing materials
- Help with creating easy to read and remember product names.
Similarly to designers who often spend hours researching and thinking about how to present an idea, copywriters and other content creators also get lost in the research until they come up with the best way to describe something.
Can you imagine what they can do if they work together?
The Starbucks email we talked about earlier is one example.
Takeaway: Involve copywriters in brand marketing meetings so they could advise on how to create a branded copy.
More awesome info: here’s a great guide on why writing is useful for web designers to know more about the role of copy in design.
Aligning content and brand identity
“Alright babe, we’re giving you 1 more hour to shop 25% OFF sitewide. But, this is it. No more extensions after this.”
Does this sound weird?
Not at all, actually.
That’s the style in which Flat Tummy addresses its customers. It’s fun, positive, witty, and playful – and they’ve built their brand identity around these characteristics.
And people love it.
Not only the copy is perfectly aligned with the brand image, but the design as well. The colors are positive, the font is easy to read, and the visuals are great, too.
Back to you.
The core identity of your brand tells the people who you are, what’s your mission, and what you’re trying to achieve, e.g. your mission and values.
This is what guides your business decisions and should also drive your content.
People love to support brands they can connect with because of the shared values, so you can communicate yours with the content. To make sure that you convey your messages accurately, you should invest in communication style and tone.
Takeaway: Work with your content creators to ensure that your content is aligned with your brand identity. One common way to inform them is by creating brand guidelines – the instructions on the language, voice, tone, and visuals to use in branding materials.
Create brand experience with carefully picked visuals
Visuals in your content create the emotional experience that leads customers to connect with your brand, so let’s talk about them in more detail. The illustrations, layouts, colors, photography, spaces, typography, and other visuals impact the way people perceive a brand and guide their interaction with it.
About 65 percent of people are visual learners. Perhaps unsurprisingly, images and other visuals are the most engaging branding elements, but there’s a couple of other points to keep in mind:
- Visuals maximize the content performance
- They can help to guide the customer to focus on important points you want them to see/read/understand.
With that in mind, you should set specific goals for visuals for marketing brand design projects. Here are some of the most important goals to consider:
- Improve data perception and make it easier to understand the meaning
- Guide the attention of customers to help them understand your main message
- Make branding materials enjoyable and easy to use
- Help with remembering marketing messages; for example, it’s easier to remember the content of an image rather than the meaning of a text.
Here’s an example from Urban Outfitters, a clothing brand. To make it easier for the people to understand and remember the message of an email, they’ve placed a concise copy inside the visuals.
The visual here reinforces the message as well as gives that classy look to the design. The typography, the font, the style, and the tone of the message go with each other perfectly, so the viewer has a clear view of what’s in front of them.
Takeaway: visuals create brand experience but they should be planned together with the copy. By understanding how they can help with making the brand experience unique and easy, you can guide the customers’ attention and improve marketing information comprehension.
The Bottom Line
The content, especially the written one, is just as important when creating a strategy for marketing brand design projects. By making the design and the content two equal players in representing your brand, you can deliver authentic customer experience and achieve your marketing goals.
Plan how to do it from the start and you’ll avoid overfocusing on the visual part of the marketing communication.
**About the Author: Daniela McVicker is a passionate digital marketer and contributor to Topwritersreview. Daniela is interested in everything related to SEO and blogging. She collaborates with many authoritative websites where she shares her experience and helps marketers make their names in the online world.