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How to Coordinate your Online and Offline Branding.

If a brand is not what the company says it is but how it makes their customer feel, how do you go about creating the right perception to kindle the desired feeling or impact? Even more of a challenge is how to communicate that through multiple channels, online and offline.

Having worked with many Marketing Managers and Brand Executives over the last 20 years, we know exactly what it takes to launch a successful offline signage campaign, especially as we’ve been there to watch the industry evolve alongside technological advancements and seen first-hand how vital synergy between digital and physical branding is, not just in building identity or awareness, but in how it makes audiences feel.

Here, we help shed some light – and hopefully some colour – on how to successfully coordinate your online and offline branding. 

A is for…

ADAPT.

Things that work well online will not work offline. So, dig out your brand guidelines and let’s have a look at what you should be adapting to fit those offline specifications (followed by what you should be keeping).

Typeface

I can hear you gasp, ‘No, surely not? That’s like asking us to change our colours, it’s part of what makes us different’. Yes, it is. But think about the different purposes of online and offline branding, plus the simple fact that people read differently in the two circumstances.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Can this font be read from a distance?
  • Is it obvious at first glance?
  • Are the characters crisp and clear?
  • Can you distinguish between upper and lower cases?
  • Is this skim-reader friendly?
  • Could this be read on a device easily?
  • If you walked past a store-front sign, does it jump out?
  • Does it suit multiple demographics?

When putting together a signage campaign, we tend to advise against fonts that are overly swirly with joint lettering unless it’s used to emphasise certain phrases and is heavily part of the brand’s identity. In these cases, we work closely with their design team to produce artwork that is true to purpose, but also true to brand.

Language

Does your brand have a clear and defined tone of voice? Perfect. That means you know exactly how you want to convey your messages, but what you should keep in mind is that online is more suited to conversational styles and can be more long-form, while offline may require more assertiveness and be a bit more to the point (i.e. billboard ads or store-front signs).

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this sound overly descriptive or flowery?
  • Are we being polite enough or too aggressive?
  • Is this selling the product succinctly?
  • Can our demographic relate to this language?
  • Is this too formal / too casual for our target market?

A call to action online might convert highly because the language is relatable and friendly, but how well would it work among a sea of people shopping, driving or catching buses? Online branding is catered to the individual scroller, while offline branding should appeal to masses of people, at any given time.

That big red ‘SALE!’ sign we’ve seen pop up for years… it works for a reason and it only uses one word. Don’t overcomplicate the language you use and don’t let the tone-of-voice police scare you off being a bit blunter.

The C Word

CONSISTENCY.

The overall objective for all branding campaigns! You want to evoke familiarity and recognition at all costs. We completely get it and, even though some things you will have to change, some things are definitely worth keeping consistent.

Still have your brand guidelines to hand? Good. Here’s what NOT to mess with…

The physical ‘look and feel’ such as:

  • Logo
  • Imagery
  • Colour

We’ve talked in previous posts about the power of consistency but never has it been more critical than when attempting to coordinate your branding online and offline. One of the elements we like to get to grips with to help you successfully launch offline signage campaigns, is what your online branding looks like – and feels like.

Turning a good strategy into a great one.

Often, we see companies begin their branding journeys online, and so their image, to some capacity, has already been established digitally – but not in a physical setting. So, when Marketing Managers come to us wanting to take their brand and launch an effective offline signage campaign, we break down all those elements we’ve just discussed and offer advice on what to transfer over and what to repurpose or adapt.

It’s not so easy to do this without external expertise like ours, mostly because your job is to protect your brand’s FULL identity – not to dissect it. In cases like this, impartial, friendly but honest advice is all you need to turn a good strategy into a great one (we want to elevate your brand, not render it unrecognisable, but we also know what works offline).

Help is at hand.

With an ever-growing list of marketing tactics and strategies to incorporate into your business, marketing across multiple channels continues to become a big challenge for today’s companies (particularly those with larger brands focused on targeting multiple global brands across multiple properties and postcodes).

But it doesn’t have to be. You may have noticed that the differences between online and offline branding are small – no more than tweaks, really. However, these tweaks are the difference between success and failure.

Ultimately though, your branding works best when customers get the same messages, the same impression, the same feeling about your brand online and offline. The rest is just detail. 

Want to take your offline marketing campaign and turn it into footfall and conversion? Talk to us!

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