When it comes to global branding, pictures can be worth much more than a thousand words.
Visit the emergency ward of any hospital in a major city where multiple languages are spoken, and you’re likely to see a lot of icons: simple pictographs designed to convey commonly-needed information.
Each has a message that instantly registers, ranging from simple concepts like “no smoking allowed here” and “wheelchair access” to highly detailed ideas such as “It’s not worth trying to try to get a free Coke by tipping the pop machine because it’s likely to fall over and crush you.”
In the same way, your logo and other visual branding elements can be more than mere geometric designs. In addition to identifying who you are, these images can work for you, performing many of the same roles as icons.
1. Attract attention
Iconic branding elements naturally draw the eye with the implied message “this is important or interesting.” Early in a brand’s lifecycle they can help highlight your company name or other information. As familiarity grows, icons can stand alone more often, conveying your image or message without words.
2. Create instant recognition
Your logo is a kind of visual calling card. Even one good experience with your product can encourage consumers to seek it out again. When they do, an iconic logo can make it easy for them to locate, recognize, and make a repeat purchase.
3. Communicate fast
Much of the value of icons is their ability to convey information quickly, even complicated information. In a hospital environment, this is often used to guide patients and visitors to key locations. From a branding perspective, iconic design conjures up everything the user associates with the experience of interacting with your product or service. What do you think of when you see the Red Cross logo, for example? What do you want your customers to think about when they see your logo?
4. Transcend language barriers
Good iconic design is intuitive enough that words aren’t necessary, enabling your logo to communicate your message to people who don’t speak the same language—and even to those who are unable to read at all. Even if your visual branding doesn’t have an explicit message, long-term familiarity can give a logo the same cross-cultural power.
5. Build customer affinity
Many aspects of healthcare make consumers anxious, from pharmaceuticals and medical devices to insurance and expense reimbursement. Visual design elements can ease these concerns by making your organization seem friendly and less intimidating.
For more insights on how your brand can overcome the boundaries of language and culture, check out our free parathink briefing: Meeting 21st Century Challenges to Global Healthcare Brands. Click here to get your free copy.
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