Whatever the size of your business, a strong brand will help you to establish good relationships with your customers. It states clearly what your business stands for, what it does, and reflects its character, vision and values. Branding is the foundation on which you can build loyalty and trust, and be recognised above your competitors.
Can your business afford to be without an outstanding brand?
Creation of an effective brand
The way you present yourself is of vital importance. You will need to take a good look at the competition and consider your strengths and unique selling points. Your brand needs to illustrate what makes you different, more relevant and better than the rest.
You will need to think about your brand’s:
A good brand has personality – think of it as a ‘who’ rather than a ‘what’. Creating a brand persona gives it personality. Your brand’s message is embedded in its colour, texture, style and accent.
Brand strategy – think like a customer
No-one knows your business like you; its products, services, ethics, quality standards and key messages. Unfortunately, it’s possible to be too close. In order to communicate effectively, you’ll need to think like your customers – their likes, dislikes and what draws their attention. Working with this knowledge then enables brand-creation based on knowing what makes your customers tick.
Develop a clear idea of your target audience:
- Who are they?
- What do they want to see?
Connecting with your prospective customers is all about identifying who they are and what they need. Maybe you have multiple target audiences? These are all things you will need to consider when putting together your brand concepts and key messages.
Much more than a logo
We’ve all seen badly-designed company logos! A well-designed logo will do wonders for your business, but remember, it’s only one part of a much bigger picture. It’s the very essence of what makes your business what it is, and the embodiment of everything associated with it; both visual and conceptual. It’s what influences others in forming their opinion.
To potential customers, a brand declares what they can expect from a business – its promises and assurances. It communicates not simply a business’s activity but how customers will feel when they buy the company’s products.
Your brand identity emerges from your logo, name, strap-line, tone-of-voice, consistency of message, colours, fonts and graphical style. All of these elements must work together and be taken on-board by your customer, thus creating an intrinsic association with what your business offers. Of course, it’s essential to create the right impression!
Avoid an identity crisis!
Having a strong, easily identifiable brand will give you the edge. Say you have a similar company name to someone else who may or may not be in the same trade… A good brand will not only set you apart, but clearly differentiate your business resulting in clear communication with your customers.
Brand consistency – the ‘stick of rock’ principle
This is a must. If your wires are crossed, your customers will get confused and go elsewhere. Be consistent! Having a well-balanced brand ensures a company’s core messages are clear, concise and uniform across all areas of business and across all marketing channels/materials.
Producing brand guidelines containing details on how to use the various elements of your brand will help it remain consistent – especially when in the hands of a third party.
These might include details about:
- Vision & Values
- Use of your Logo and Colourways
- Key information and phrases
Championing your brand
You need to be the driving-force and champion for your brand development – at all times representing your brand and making certain of its integrity in all situations.
- Wear branded work-wear/colours
- Distribute branded marketing material
Stand up for your brand. Be seen as an expert in your field. Be your brand’s ambassador and connect with your customers.