By Dimitar Stojanov
Company branding is one of the key points for running a successful business. Whether you’re mammoth corporation, small mom & pop’s shop or even one man show, yes I’m talking about you freelancers, proper branding will help you establish yourself and your services in the ever competing markets. Your brand should talk about not just who you are and the services you offer but also about your core values and beliefs. So make sure to create a memorable one.
Branding, if executed good, will help you differentiate from the competitors’ noise. It’s that emotional attachment the clients will feel when they’ll see you brand, that’ll increase the added value and price for your products or services. Take for example Apple, because of their strong brand equity they successfully sell hardware many times higher than their “opponents.” So it’s critical to find the voice for your business that reflects what you do best, improve upon that and properly define your brand.
Branding financial papers
Lots of businesses neglect this part of their branding. But one business should look professional in all aspects yet often times legal documents like invoices and receipts are left behind. It maybe seems like not a big deal but one of the major characteristics of successful branding is the consistency. If you fail and this than you’ll have difficulties in establishing your brand. And invoice branding can help you in achieving this consistency and improve your overall brand message.
Begin with the logo
The basis for the brand is the logo. It’s the foundation on which the pillars of your brand will rise, so as a rule of thumb you should always include it in your formal communication. Invoices and receipts should never look mediocre, they should speak for your professionalism so always pay attention how you create them.
Your logo most of the time will be placed in the header section of the invoice/receipt, and it’s recommended to be accompanied with your company name. In some cases here you can also include your company details like address and contact information. Part of your brand could also be a catchy tagline, something easy memorable that you can always include it below your logo. For invoices and receipts one thing you should take care of is the logo size and its colors.
The logo shouldn’t take much space of the invoice template as the invoice is still a financial document that should clearly state the products offered and their cost. It shouldn’t be abused like a promotional flyer, but discreetly increase your brand awareness. If the logo is too colorful or complex you can make contour or monochromatic version of it, if that complies with your branding strategy. Same rule applies for payment receipts, bills, order receipts, etc. And don’t swing the logo too much from one side of the paper to another, instead try sticking with the same position. If you decide it to be on the left than make sure the logo appears on the left in all materials. This is one of the minor differences that will ensure the branding consistency.
Next step are the colors
No doubt colors play big role in building strong brand and using consistent color in your branding can increase brand recognition up to 80%. You should carefully examine the voice of your company and appropriately choose the primary color. Did you know that different colors will trigger different emotional reactions in your clients? You can use psychology to your advantage and start building your brand with the colors that best express your company values.
But when we talk about financial documents like invoices, you may wonder how to properly apply your brand color. The invoices and receipts should always talk to your customer. That means they need to be clear and easily comprehended by common people. They shouldn’t be cluttered with lots of graphic elements and shapes as this will defocus the customer from the main part, that’s the products or services they’re charged for.
Another thing to be careful with the colors is how they’ll affect the printing. You know in many cases electronic/digital invoices and receipts are printed by your clients for future reference and making the invoices and receipts too colorful can render the printed invoices useless and expensive. In today’s online world many of the financial documents are electronic and if you send such, than you can be more comfortable with the colors and the backgrounds.
Choose your typeface
And what one brand would be without a typeface? Big corporations take this part of the branding process very serious. Just look at Apple and all that typography strategy used in their products and marketing. One thing you can notice about Apple (and many other companies) is their typeface consistency – from marketing billboards and ads to product packaging and software UI elements they constantly use variations of several font types. This improves their brand positioning in the global market and make them unique in the crowd.
And receivables shouldn’t be exception for this. You should carefully choose your typeface for your brand and make sure you use it on your invoices and payment receipts too. This can be the typeface you use on your business cards or maybe on your website but always be careful with the usage of different types of font faces. As printing is common for the invoices and receipts, this mean you could go with more printer friendly typeface and make that font face standard in your financial communication.
Another rule is not to use too many types of font families or many variation of the same font, rather stick with one typeface and use it consistently through your financial papers. This will ensure your invoices are clear and easily digestible with distinguished sections. Typeface branding in combination with your logo and colors will strengthen your market position and your clients will feel personally connected and closer to your company.
Branding beyond printed documents
Whether online or classic brick & mortar businesses many of them produce some number of email messages. From order confirmation, invoice, payment receipt, package tracking information, etc. they may send various email messages for the purchase and the shipping. So in all those cases it’s recommended to follow the branding rules.
All electronic communication should contain your brand logo and colors; you’ve probably noticed that most of the company emails at the end of the email message add signature that contains contact info and the logo. But this doesn’t have to be the case when you send your invoices and receipts. You can make them look similar as the paper version, that way your customers will instantly recognize your company and the services you’ve provided.
Invoices are important too
The branding is very powerful tool to improve and grow your business and it needs to be set in place from the very beginning. Many think that branding is just a logo that should be placed on the website, coffee mugs, keyrings and stickers. But successful branding needs to be applied also to every document electronic or printed, and invoices and receipts are no exception. Proper invoice branding will not just make you look more professional, but the right logo and colors will make you more identifiable to your clients. And you’ll have the look of one serious and successful business.
Dimitar Stojanov is co-founder of Invoicebus – a new way for small businesses and freelancers to create, manage and track their invoices online and get paid faster. He’s passionate about delivering simple and beautiful design in the invoicing world. Greet him at Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.