Now you retire to Barbados, wealthy and fulfilled, having left behind a legacy that will live on long after you’ve sloughed off this mortal coil. Congratulations on a job well done. Business is easy!
This, of course, is a massive oversimplification. In between completing your logo and retiring to your private island estate, there are innumerable steps and dozens of years. Not only is there a host of ongoing business collateral you now need to create, but you’ll also then need to use it all to build a successful business. Only after that can you spend time deciding what to put in your moat, how many self-portraits in your master bath are too many, and which firm will design your army of robot monkey butlers.
This article will attempt to break down the first part of this process for you and describe the plethora of design materials that you’ll want to create now that you have a snazzy new logo to adorn them with. This collateral will be the basis for all of your sales and marketing efforts, so it pays to give it thought and get it right.
Your logo’s done, and that’s great. Pop open a beer and take a swig in celebration. But don’t waste time finishing the whole thing, because this is just the beginning. You’ve got a lot more work ahead of you!
The word “collateral” derives from medieval Latin and germanic roots. It combines “col,” meaning “together with,” “later” from the Old German “leder” as in “lederhosen,” and “al,” the Latin diminutive for “Albert.” Thus a good working definition for collateral is, with Albert’s stockings.*
Collateral is any visual item used to promote your brand and engage with prospects and customers. A salesperson that leaves product brochures with customers is handing out collateral. A marketer that posts a brand-sponsored meme on social media is disseminating collateral. A consumer watching a viral video created by a company is consuming collateral.
Creating sales, marketing, and branding collateral is a critical step in raising awareness of your products and services. To meaningfully engage in this process, you need a logo. Which you now have.
Business collateral can be divided into a few general categories. We’ll look through each of them and discuss the various pieces you’ll likely find yourself producing.
Style guides are both a category and the item within that category. Be careful not to think too deeply on this concept as it leads your mind treacherously close to the precipice of the infinite. A fractal of endless nesting dolls that inevitably lead to madness. Better to focus on your style guide and think about what you want for lunch.
This guide is the first thing you should have designed after your logo. That’s because your style guide will set the rules for designing every piece of collateral you create after the guide is complete.
Style guides create consistency in your branded sales and marketing materials. They specify fonts, color palettes, text sizes, and proper logo usage rules. They provide designers guidance on the appropriate types of imagery to use and include rules for how branded graphical elements should interact with them. The guide can describe grammatical and usage rules associated with advertising efforts, as well as create guidelines for the brand’s tone of voice.
Your style guide should be rigorous and detailed so that anyone reading it will be very clear on what’s allowed and what isn’t when creating collateral for the brand. These rules exist to ensure that any material created is consistent with everything piece that came before it, guaranteeing a recognizable and uniform customer experience.
Stationery includes items that are used to make contact with prospects and customers but don’t contain any sort of sales messaging.
Letterhead is the flagship example of stationery collateral. It’s used to brand your correspondence to your company. It likely includes your logo as well as relevant contact information.
Business cards fall into this category for the same reason. Other collateral elements include envelopes, folders, office signage, email signatures, and more. These are fundamental elements of an organization’s communications strategy.
Marketing collateral is any visual item intended to inform consumers about your products and services and attract leads that can then be placed into your sales funnel.
There’s a school of thought that says that every piece of collateral used to promote a product or service is marketing collateral, regardless of whether marketers or salespeople use it. From a certain point of view, this is correct, but there is value in differentiating marketing collateral from sales collateral. Marketing materials bring people in the door. Sales materials convert them to customers.
Anything posted to social media, like branded memes, infographics, promotional and viral videos, and text posts, as well the skins that brand your social media accounts all fall under marketing materials. Ads, mailers, designed email campaigns, postcards, branded swag, and customer gifts would be included, too. These don’t always directly sell products but instead help build awareness.
This is material designed to aid your sales team in convincing prospects to buy from you. These potential customers might have contacted you because they saw an ad or got a social media post forwarded to them. These were indirect communications.
Now they enter the sales pipeline, where your team will provide direct visual media to communicate the features and benefits of your offerings, as well as answer any questions the prospect might have.
Sales collateral includes sales brochures, product one-pagers, technical datasheets, and online and in-person presentations, as well as trade show signage and demonstration materials.
Websites are unique in that they straddle both worlds. They’re very good for generating leads, but can also be used in the sales process, mainly since they can sell things.
And other collateral items don’t neatly fit into one of these categories, like product packaging.
You’re Going to Keep Your Designers Very Busy
We hope it’s clear now just how much further you have to go. Getting your logo finished is immensely important, but it just pulls the cap off of a neverending bottle of collateral design. But don’t this overwhelm you. You’ve entered an exciting phase in your business development. This is when you get to take your vision for your company and translate it into a visual form. And you don’t have to do it alone.
We have extensive experience creating effective collateral for every phase of business. Give us a call and let us share what we can do for you. And for the record, we think your moat should be a lazy river of hot chocolate complete with marshmallow inner tubes.
*Collateral has nothing to do with traditional German hosiery. Please know that we’ve sacked our etymologist and apologize for the confusion.