Choosing the Right Software: Brand Fingertips
As customers’ expectations of brands increase, it is increasingly important to use the right software and templates to represent the brand in its best light.
More than Just a Logo
A brand is far more than just a logo and a couple of colours. A company’s brand exists from the first moment that it interacts with a customer. It’s the quality of these customer-interactions that creates the perception of the brand. Was the interaction efficient and cheap, friendly and colourful, or sombre and luxurious? Creating a consistent feeling to customer interactions is the definition of a strong brand, and this is easy if the whole company is one individual. They can embody their brand values and take marketing collateral that backs these values up.
The Fingertips of a Brand
But what happens when a company consists of thousands of individuals, each with different personalities, working in different regions with different expectations? This is when the personality of a brand becomes incredibly difficult to maintain. Each of the areas that a company interacts with a customer is a touchpoint, therefore these individuals become the ‘fingertips’ of your brand.
This is why choosing the right software is so important. We consistently see examples of brands with fantastic brand assets: beautiful logos, great imagery and lovely colour palettes. However, when it comes to creating customer-facing collateral, they end up using the bog-standard Microsoft Word template with built-in office colours and the Calibri font.
The disconnect between these types of documents and the brand’s actual potential creates a jarring effect that can leave customers confused about what the brand represents, and can ultimately lead to a decrease in brand impact and sales.
Choosing the Right Software
It is time for businesses to adopt more capable solutions for improving the quality of their brand at all functional levels.
Although intimidating to grasp at first, the flexibility and polish that dedicated platforms such as InDesign or Affinity Publisher offer are well worth the investment of time and money.
Internal Brand Ambassadors
We suggest (depending on the size of your team) having either an individual or a small group who are trained to use the software they need to create engaging collateral.
This system can be even more powerful if they have the support of a professional design organisation who can offer not only advice and support where needed, but also create easy to use templates with a consistently professional output.
So What Should We Go For?
It is, of course, possible to create simple templates using Microsoft Office and, for some, this may seem to be the only option. However, we would strongly suggest going for something more capable.
Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe’s Creative Cloud is the big daddy of the design software world. Absolutely essential for professionals, it is an incredibly powerful suite of tools that can be used to create nearly any piece of collateral.
However, for the internal brand ambassador to occasionally use, it is a hard sell. The full suite of apps costs over £700 a year. An individual app (such as InDesign) still clocks in at over £300 a year.
The software also has a steep learning curve, requiring a more significant investment of time for the individuals trying to learn them.
The Affinity Suite
The Affinity suite is a reasonably recent addition to the world of design software. Affinity Designer was released in 2014, with Affinity Photo and Affinity Publisher following in 2015 and 2019 respectively.
However don’t let their age put you off. Serif has been developing design software for many years, and they have bought their experience to bear, creating usable, attractive and unbelievably fast software.
They are also incredibly cheap, clocking in at around £50 per app as a one-off payment with no follow up subscription.
In my opinion, if you are looking to create high quality design assets on a budget then the Affinity Suite is the best option.
This is, of course, far from a definitive list. There are many options out there, and depending on the job you are trying to achieve there will be better choices as well.
Some tools make the design process as simple as possible, although they leave little room for customisation. One such tool is Adobe Spark, which can be used to quickly create social graphics, web pages and short videos, and is designed to be as user friendly as possible. Another app along the same lines is ReadyMag, which creates a similar output but with higher levels of functionality.
All of these tools require an investment in time and effort to learn, so do your research and pick the right tool for the job.
How We Can Help
We can create a set of elegant, beautiful and easy to use templates in the software of your choice, followed by training and coaching any individuals on your team so that they have the skills they need to use them. This will allow your team to focus on customer-service and content, and leave you with an internal capability for turning around design assets quickly.
In my next posts I’ll be looking at InDesign in more depth, and giving you some hints and tips on getting started. Sign up below to get notifications of new posts.