Secret ingredients to quality software

SSW Foursquare

Rules to Better Branding - 17 Rules

Branding is the key to success. In the cluttered global market, your company's brand is the way the outside world perceives your product or service. Many business problems revolve around poor branding: your clients might think you're too small for a job, or not technically capable, or charge too much. Common customer grievances could be alleviated by a positive brand image.

Branding isn't necessarily tangible. It touches the emotive side of human behavior - you feel, see, or relate to a brand. But because it has such power it needs to be managed in any organization, no matter how big or small.

Here's a series of branding rules that govern how we believe branding should work.

  1. Do you have a great company logo?

    Think about McDonalds and you will see the yellow arches, in the shape of an "M". Think of Nike and the swoosh is the first image in your mind.

    It doesn't have to take millions of dollars and 15 marketing consultancies to come up with a great logo, but make sure you get a professional designer to make it.

    The characteristics you should be after:

    • Simple - Follow solid basic design principles, such as proportion and symmetry, coherent fonts and matching colors
    • Versatile - Your logo will eventually end up on different mediums, and it must work well in all kinds of situations
    • Relevant - Represent the company
    • Memorable - Be unique

    If you follow these principles, people should be able to look at your logo from a distance and know which company it's from. The best trademarks end up cemented into the minds of individuals worldwide.

    Some examples of great logos:

    • Twitter - the small flying blue bird makes an instinctive correlation to tweeting twitterlogo
    • Mini - the mini "wings" logo is simple and easily recognizable mini logo
    • Canon - the font of the logo simple and is tweaked with only a slight tilt canon logo

    It is very important to remember that your logo should be consistently displayed wherever your company promotes itself.

  2. The start point of your branding is the logo. From there everything the company produces or owns should "feel" like it comes from your company. When you walk by a pile of documents on a desk, you should recognize that it's from your company. It's not just plonking the logo everywhere.

    These are things to keep in mind for good branding:

    You should help designers to find stuff in your Intranet:

    Figure: Good Example - Keep things together in your Intranet

  3. It's perfectly normal that a logo starts to look outdated in over decades, so it needs a refresh. In this case, you should aim to keep the most recognizable characteristics of the old logo, so people will automatically know it's the same company when they first see the new logo.

    sswlogo comparison
    Figure: Good Example - Although the SSW logo was completely redesigned, you can easily recognize it's the same company because the logo concept didn't change

  4. Do you have cool business cards?

    You should spend the extra dollars to ensure that you get nice cards and your employees are proud of them. That way they will give them away at every handshake, which is fantastic free advertising for your company.

    ssw businesscards
    Figure: SSW Cube Business Cards

  5. Do you use great email signatures?

    Email signatures are a great way of adding some advertising and branding. You should always use a nice email signature for external emails. Internally, you may use a short one (just your name or initials).

    Full email signatures are great when they have:

    • A little branding and advertising (can be a tagline or company news), so people know instantly who it is from
    • Your phone number (in international format - it's important to add the country code so people from all around the world can easily add you to their contacts - as per Do you know the right format to show phone numbers?)
    • Your company website link (e.g.
    • Your social media and blog link
    • Your IM link (E.g. Teams or Facebook Messenger)
    • Your position
    • Your location (city/country) where you are based

    Mobile Signature

    Use the "mobile signature" when sending emails from your phone. Mobile signatures are not easily customized so they can be simpler.

    Get Outlook for Android

    Figure: Bad example - This default signature sucks

    Thanks, Adam | +61 4 1985 1995 | Ping me on Teams

    Figure: Good example – Add your name, URL and your phone number

    PC Long Signature (Big and Fancy)

    Use the complete "long signature" when sending a new email or appointment to a client.

    This is created in HTML and goes well on emails with Word used as the email editor. Include some product advertising, like what's new on your monthly newsletter. It should have the company colors.

    adam long signature
    Figure: A great long signature for PC

    However, you shouldn't use your long signature on every sent email. It's recommended to have a simpler version for internal emails and appointments:

    PC Short Signature

    Use a really short signature (your first name or initials) or no signature at all in internal emails as people already know who you are. You may want to add a quick link to IM.

    adam short signature
    Figure: PC Short Signature Example

    Note: "Ping me on Teams" is a link that directly opens chat with the person as per


    Option 1: CodeTwo (Paid)

    The easiest way to implement consistent signatures across a company is to use a 3rd party signature provider e.g. and
    This way you quickly get great email signatures, with consistent branding, to all your employees and on all their devices. CodeTwo is cheaper and has a nicer design tool UI than Exclaimer, however they are both good. CodeTwo is built on Microsoft technology.

    CodeTwo (and Exclaimer) give:

    1. Automatic signatures are added on any device – from laptop to smartphones
    2. Consistent signatures for every employee as they all use one template – consistency is important
    3. Management via a portal
    4. Marketing can run campaigns and schedule changes to all signatures
    5. Hassle-free setup – users do not need to touch any signatures on any devices.

    codetwo adam
    Figure: With CodeTwo the correct signature is auto selected

    Option 2: Set it up manually (Free)

    Mobile - How to set it up in the Outlook App

    1. Go to Settings on the Outlook application
    2. Click on Signature
    3. Type your desired signature for mobile

    outlook app settings 1
    Figure: Outlook mobile application settings

    outlook app settings 2
    Figure: Editable mobile signature on Outlook mobile application

    PC - How to set it up in Outlook

    1. Open Microsoft Outlook and go File | Options
    2. Click the "Mail" tab as seen below
    3. Click on "Signatures..." and add in your signatures

    screen shot 2021 10 01 at 11 20 33 am
    Figure: How to add a signature in Outlook

    Browser - How to set it up in OWA

    1. Open OWA (e.g.
    2. Click "Options" on the top right side.
    3. Go Settings | Mail and make following changes:

    owa signatures
    Figure: Add your 'Email Signature' and save

    How to set it up in Office 365

    1. Open Outlook in Office 365 (
    2. Click the "Settings" cog on the top right corner of the Window
    3. Click on “View all Outlook settings” at the bottom of the Settings panel

    outlook settings signature
    Figure: Where to find "View all Outlook settings"

    1. In the "Settings" window that pops up, go to: Mail | Compose and reply.
    2. Add your email signature and click "Save"

    Warning: Unfortunately you need to setup up your signature in Outlook and OWA. There is no way to share this.

    SSW Only: You can automatically have your Outlook signature changed on sign-in via a script. See

    Note: This does not setup your signature on OWA or your mobile signature

  6. Do you brand your products?

    At SSW, after consulting, the second tier of our business are the software products. It should be obvious, as soon as our software is run, which company built the application. And more than just plonking the logo in the corner - the app should be recognizable even if the logo has been taken away.

    Here are some of the basics of our software:

    • Company logo on footer and credits
    • Product logo on top of main screens (the different software and products logos should be consistent with each other)
    • Consistent colors and fonts throughout the whole application

    The setup and software icon for your applications should also be branded.

    If you have many products, keep them consistent.

    ssw products
    Figure: Good Example - Consistent product logos

  7. Do you brand your events?

    Think of a sporting event and it's likely that you can think of a sponsor for the event. For example:

    • Australian Iron Man Series - Uncle Toby's
    • Formula 1 - Valvoline, Ferrari
    • Wimbledon - Rolex

    The list goes on...

    What this highlights is a company's ability to successfully partner their brand with events that their target market either attend or watch. Though on a much smaller scale, every business should apply this same principle. So we say if you're going to hold any events that are geared towards your target market - like a user group, make sure there's some branding at the event. Here are some examples of how we brand our user group:

    • You should have a promotional sign
    • Any presentations should use a standard template
    • You should use branded plastic bags
    • Evaluation forms should have clear branding

    When it comes to branding events, you need to remember that it's often the little things that make the biggest difference. That evaluation form or gift bag that you gave out to someone at one of your events could land in the hands of one of your biggest clients in the future, so be diligent and consistent.

  8. Do you brand your cars?

    It's a good idea to brand your company's cars when they're on the road. These cars are essentially moving billboards for the company.

    To get more cars, you can reward employees to brand their personal cars.

    car branding
    Figure: Bad Example as the car looks bad

    car branding tesla

    car branding tesla
    Figure: Good Example - cool car

    Figure: Good Example - cool car

  9. Do you brand your employees?

    Your people are a huge part of what makes your company awesome or unique, so you should use this to your advantage by asking them to be your walking spokespersons and/or billboards. Branding your employees is especially important at events such as conferences, user groups and client meetings. A simple way to do this is to wear branded shirts or t-shirts every day.

    If you wear a collard shirt, your corporate uniform should be simple and stylish - don't forget that your branding can be subtle and effective at the same time.

    Also remember that uniforms don't have to be boring or uncomfortable, but they do need to represent who you are as a company. If you decided to do something fun, pop culture t-shirts are always a popular choice, particularly at conferences, but you should take great care to make sure that the message aligns with your corporate image. If you nail this, your employees will love to wear your t-shirts to work and out in the general community, adding to your exposure.

    Figure: Good Example - Part of the SSW team attending NDC Sydney 2019 wearing special shirts we created for this event + branded backdrop for our booth

    Figure: Good Example - Some of our Sydney team wearing different branded shirts

    Of course, another great way of promoting your company via your staff is on their social media accounts. You can encourage your staff to update their social media bio's to include their role and the company they work for, plus the website if there are enough characters for it.Wherever your employees gather in large numbers, ensure they come branded.

    Figure: Good Example - Your employee profile on social media can also be branded

  10. Do you brand your plastic bags?

    Branded Plastic Bags should be used for giveaways, and people within the office who want an extra bag to carry things to client site or home. This provides free marketing especially when the employee catches public transport home. It is a win-win as the person gets free carry bag, and we get free marketing.

    ssw bag
    Figure: SSW plastic bag

  11. Do you use a consistent phone message?

    You should remember that any point of contact leaves an impression on clients or customers so even the answering service on your phones should be taken into consideration.

    Your personal mobile phone should have a standard answering message for any missed calls. Many people don't use voice mail these days, so you may as well tell people about it. Also, if you don't mind it is nice to include subtle company branding.

    "Hi, you've reached Adam Cogan. If you can leave your name, number and a short message I will call you back as soon as I can. Thanks!"

    Figure: Bad example

    "Hi, you've reached Adam Cogan from SSW. I don't use voice mail, so please send an SMS. Thanks!"

    Figure: Good example

    Here's an example of how it should sound.

  12. How often are you sitting at your desk typing away and have an open cup of tea or coffee or glass of water sitting right next to your computer? Do you know how much liquid it takes to kill your computer? The answer is not much; some of our developers found this out the hard way and on more than one occasion. There is an alternative though, which if in the event spillages occur limits the amount of liquid being released. Travel safety mugs and sports water bottles are a great way of protecting your computer from unwanted damage from spillage.

    They also make a fantastic gift to clients, which is an opportunity for you to have a constant reminder of your business in their face and their clients.

    Give your clients branded Travel Mugs and Sports Water Bottles as a way of saying thanks to our clients for engaging our services. We also use them for ourselves in the office to protect our own computers. The minimal outlay for these items can literally save you thousands and could potentially start earning you money too.

  13. Do you brand your assets?

    You should take every chance you get to put your logo on things.

    Branding your assets is one more thing that you can do to spread your brand to the world. For example, if you provide your team with laptops, it's nice to have those laptops branded with your business logo, so they can be seen when they visit a client.

    Basically, you can have that on any asset owned by your business. Items like monitors, laptops and computers branded with a sticker with your logo are all opportunities for more branding.

    For items like laptops, it can also be a good idea to tape your business card below the sticker so it can be returned to you if you lose it.

    asset branding
    Figure: Sticker proving that you should take every chance to show off your brand

  14. Do you make your presents branded?

    If you get a physical gift (e.g. wine bottle or a hamper), you can add stickers on the gifts for better branding. In case you go for a virtual gift, e.g. an e-voucher (usually sent via email), you can also add your logo to it.

    Tip: remember to make your gift extra special! You should personalise it by purchasing something for your client related to a hobby, for example.

    branded gifts
    Figure: stickers added to wine bottles as a Christmas present for clients

  15. Do you brand your takeaway coffee cups?

    Using branded stickers on coffee cups is a great way to promote your brand at events, conferences, training seminars and other functions. It is a cost-effective way to make a lasting impression about your brand.

    ssw coffee cup
    Figure: SSW Take Away Coffee Cup

  16. Do you use identifying company logo motifs?

    You can still create immediate brand recognition even when it's not applicable to use your full company logo. This can be achieved by taking symbols or motifs out of your main logo and using them in your branding material.

    For example, the SSW has 4 little coloured square as motifs within the logo, and these squares can be used without the rest of the logo text.

    Figure: SSW logo motif

  17. LinkedIn is the main business and employment-oriented social networking service available. It's important to keep it up-to-date and link it to your company's services.

    edit featured final
    Figure: In the Featured section, use the "+" and then "Links" buttons to include the URLs for the main services your provide

    linkedin services bad example
    Figure: Bad example - Profile with no links

    linkedin services good example
    Figure: Good example - Profile with links to main services provided

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