What are your goals for your business? If you’re like many others, you might want to sell more products, or you want a loyal audience, or you want your company to stand out. Reaching these goals can be difficult already, but especially so if your brand is lacking. In this blog post, we’ll talk a little bit about what branding actually is and highlight three tips to get yours to the next level.
When you think of a brand, the first thing that might come to mind is a logo or an image. You would be right, in some ways. Branding in its truest sense is an image or other feature distinguishing a business’ goods or services as distinct from others.
It goes beyond just an image or logo, however. Branding is the entire essence of a business or organization. It defines its character, beliefs, quality and more. It is made up of practical, emotional, visual and message elements and carried out through various on and offline channels.
Once your business has a definitive brand, it needs to remain consistent to grab the attention of your audience and get them to recognize it later. You need to have what are called brand standards. Think of them as essentially a rule book for how to present your business. They are guidelines for the graphic elements, including the logo, fonts and messaging that comprise your brand.
Now that you’ve gotten a better grasp on what branding and brand standards are, let’s get into the tips:
- Know your business.
You have to know yourself before others can get to know you. Start by asking yourself and your team one question: “why?” Simon Sinek explains it best in this TED Talk. Understanding your “why” is an important first step in communicating yourself to others. Why does your company exist, and what does it do? What core values do you stand for? After you’ve noodled it amongst yourselves, don’t be afraid to ask some of your customers too; they might have valuable insights on what they already like or perceive about your brand.
- Develop a brand identity and standards to protect it.
It’s time to write out that rule book we talked about. Once you’ve figured the core of your business out, think about the best way to present it. Include best practices for your logo, i.e. where and how to use it. Think about what kind of images, colors, fonts and designs best align with your message and include a breakdown of them. Is the tone of your business serious, or are you okay with showing your playful side? Your brand’s personality needs to be defined in this way too. Having these standards set in place develops your identity and creates a uniform framework for marketing your business.
- Follow your own rules.
Once you have your brand standards set in place, make sure you and your team follow them. Everything you distribute on behalf of your business, from print products to social media, and even written and oral presentations should give recipients the same impression, tone, and visual cues. If someone reads about your services on your website, and then calls your business and speaks to a member of your team, will both experiences match one another? This consistency makes it easier for consumers to remember and recognize your business and thus come to you when they’re looking for the service or product you provide. Having a distinctive and clear voice for your brand helps you rise above the other clamor.
Developing a brand and keeping consistency can be challenging, but utilizing these tips can ultimately lead to higher brand awareness and build customer loyalty. If you’d like a little help, we’re here for you.