Branding isn’t just a logo – it is the face of your business. It tells the world who you are, what you stand for.
To use an analogy, every time you leave the house you communicate a potent message to the world before you open your mouth. Perhaps you dress to appear professional, or athletic, quirky, down-to-earth…Perhaps you like to dress to stand out and make a bold statement. You may align yourself with certain brands, subconsciously sending out a strong message that you are interested in a certain sport or lifestyle, or perhaps that you are environmentally aware.
Branding works in the same way; it communicates a lot, by saying very little. Good branding should make your target customer feel positive about using your product or service, whether that’s because you offer quality products, excellent service, or good bargains. Each brand has its own unique persona, that will speak to a different type of customer.
Without branding, a business is set to fail.
Here are a few points to think about if you want to build a brand…
Research your competition – this doesn’t mean copying your competitors, but it’s important to do some legwork to find out what they are doing that may work or not work for you. Look at how they are using social media – what tone of voice do they use, what kind of imagery are they using? What kind of website do they have? What colours and fonts are they using? Basically, how can you get noticed?
Know your customer – often the most successful brands are ones that find their niche and focus on building a core customer base, rather than trying to appeal to a wide audience. Creating imaginary ‘buyer personas’ for the typical people you would like to attract can be a useful and fun exercise. Work out what their user journey looks like and how your product or service fits in to their lifestyle. What is their age, location, level of education? What are their motivations, goals, interests? Who are they influenced by?
Have a plan – Strategy is key to successful branding. Set out your short and long-term goals and think of how you can achieve this. Building a brand takes time. It may take a while to establish your brand voice, and there is likely to be a learning curve while you are getting off the ground.
Be consistent – Your brand identity should be consistent across all marketing materials. Think about successful brands and you will notice that everything from the shop-front, website, social media, down to staff name tags and carrier bags, have the same look and feel.
Go the extra mile - Little touches like stickers and free branded stationary will all help to leave an impression! It takes 5 – 7 impressions for the average person to remember a brand, and so the more ways you can get your message across to them the more this will strengthen your brand awareness. Freebies are always a way to leave a positive impression.
A strong brand conveys trust – Brand inconsistency is likely to raise questions; perhaps subconsciously about how trustworthy your business is. At the very least it will confuse them! Don’t leave any room for doubt.