If you’re a small business owner, then you know that maintaining a professional presence is key to success. But what if you don’t have the time or resources to design everything from scratch?
Templates can be a great way to create a cohesive look for your brand without spending hours using complicated software. However, there are some things to keep in mind before diving in.
In this post, we’ll look at the pros and cons of using templates and how you can be strategic in using these for your branding efforts.
The Pros and Cons of Using Templates for Your Brand
Think about your favorite brand. Odds are, you can picture their logo and the general feel of their marketing materials. That’s because these brands have taken the time to create a template for their branding. But is using a template right for your business? Let’s take a look at the benefits of using templates to help you decide.
1. You Save Time
When you use templates, you can focus more on the context and value of your content over the visual appeal. And being able to create this on a desktop browser or mobile device is a huge benefit.
Creating new designs every time is the biggest time killer. With templates, you will save countless hours, headaches and money. Whether you are a designer or not, starting from scratch isn’t an efficient use of time.
2. Fast and Easy
The world is a competitive place. You can’t afford to waste time on slow and tedious tasks when there are so many other things that need your attention in order for you business or company’s success! Templates make content creation fast, easy (and) affordable because once you have them set up, all it takes is adding your copy with images.
3. Done for You
Instead of starting from scratch, you can choose a template that’s already been created. With these templates, all you need to do is insert your content and make quick customizations to the design. This is incredibly beneficial if you value the impact of design, but creating content from scratch isn’t your strength.
1. They Aren’t Exclusive
Branded templates can be a great way to save time and money when creating marketing materials. However, if you use any template that’s available to the masses, someone else will have them too! And when you are working hard to build brand awareness, differentiation comes at a cost when your brand identity looks like someone else’s.
In order to avoid this problem, it’s important to be selective about the templates you use. Choose templates that are not widely available, or create your own custom branded template. By taking the time to create a unique brand identity, you’ll be able to stand out from your competitors and build strong customer loyalty.
2. Brand Consistency Issues
Sometimes, too many options are NOT the best route…
For instance, let’s say you start with some templates you found. But you didn’t really feel they helped you tell your brand story. Therefore, you grabbed other templates. And those didn’t excite you after a while. So, you looked for another new template, only to experience content creation overwhelm because your templates create more confusion than consistency.
3. Letting Templates Define Your Brand
We understand not all business owners can hire a professional brand designer, so naturally, using tools to help you brand your business is a good resource. But creating a brand from a template can backfire.
Many business owners and entrepreneurs have confessed to us that they just found a trending template online, added their name, and called it a brand. There was no strategy or no audience connection. It was just a case of beauty but no brains.
When you start building your brand from a template, you let it define your brand. The problem that creates, is that you end up thinking about how to create content that fits that template instead of focusing on content that aligns with your brand’s mission.
Templates shouldn’t lead the content. They should support it!
how to make templates work for your brand
The solution isn’t about not using templates. It’s about being strategic with what templates you use. So, here’s what you CAN do to make templates work for your brand:
1. Create Custom Branded Templates
Whether you create the designs from scratch or start from a tool like Creative Cloud Express, make sure those templates have your brand colors, fonts, brandmark AND fit your brand personality. We love using Creative Cloud Express for our clients because it’s effortless to use and doesn’t require them to learn Illustrator or Indesign. This ensures they maintain brand integrity and empowers them to take complete control of their branded content.
2. Using Templates Without a Purpose
Failing to define a brand purpose for your templates will make you waste time navigating content blocks. Set a goal for each branded template design: sales, brand awareness, quote graphics, carousels, community engagement, live announcements, etc.
When we design brands, we often include social media templates for our clients. Our brand strategy process defines what type of content they share, which we use to guide the design of the custom templates we design for them. Here is an example of branded social media templates we created for our client Elevate it Now using Creative Cloud Express.
3. Define How to Use Your Templates
Creating your branded templates is just the first step. You need to have a clear strategy for using them. Therefore, we recommend you establish a written guide and add it to your brand guidelines or social media strategy — this is especially crucial if someone else uses them.
There’s no denying that templates can be a huge time saver when creating marketing materials. Remember you can’t build a brand from templates. However, you should use custom branded templates to create brand consistency. Above all, you need to be strategic and create branded templates with specific brand goals. As a result, you don’t just speed up your content creation—you build equity with brand continuity.
P.S. if you are looking to get started with Creative Cloud Express, check out our course on LinkedIn Learning!
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