Branding is as important as it has ever been, perhaps even more so thanks to the internet making it very easy for a prospective customer or client to explore your entire brand’s identity in a matter of moments. Thus to build a strong brand, here are some useful tips and advice to help you define your brand, to represent it visually, and to maintain your brand’s integrity while growing it and taking your business to the next level.
Representing Your Brand Visually
The way you would portray a dentist office’s branding is going to be a lot different than what you would do for a BBQ restaurant. If you’re creating a brand identity for a hip store that sells gadgets and cellphone accessories, it will look a lot different than the branding for an upscale clothing store. There’s a reason that you can look at the logo or sign for a lot of stores and already understand what they’re all about, it’s because of thoughtful branding.
Some brands are so powerful that they’re able to take over an entire colour. The world’s largest restaurant chain, McDonalds, uses the colours yellow and red, and since then countless competitors have also adopted a similar colour scheme in an effort to occupy the same mind-space. They recognize this restaurant has spent billions on advertising and defining those two colours, so why not hop onboard and take advantage of that? It can be a risky play, sometimes you want to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Think of the soft drinks business for example. When I mention the colours red and blue, there are undoubtedly two major brands that come to mind right away. Even if I didn’t mention the category, you would still likely think of Pepsi and Coke when I mentioned a brand that uses red, and another that uses blue that compete with one another. It just goes to show you the power of branding and what a huge different the choice of colours can make.
If you have physical offices or retail space, it’s important that they match your website and other promotional materials. Also, your various online profiles and places that your business has a presence should also match your website and physical locations. It all needs to be tied in together in a very thoughtful way. Before you can represent your brand visually, you’ll need to define what it is all about.
Defining Your Brand
It would take forever for us to cover all the different types of businesses, and options that exist for branding them, even just to scratch the surface. Your best option, really, is to sit down with a pad of paper and to get very thoughtful about your business and industry. What are the core values of your company? What are you all about? Can you think of any larger brands that share similar goals and values, even if they’re in a different industry? That can be a good launch-pad for inspiration, and it can allow you to take small advantage of the fact that these other brands have spent millions on branding. You don’t want to be a copycat, but you also don’t have to reinvent the wheel – simply follow what’s been proven to work and adapt it to your own company.
Maintain Your Brand
Building a brand isn’t just something you can do once and it’s over, it’s an ongoing process. There will come a time when an unhappy customer confronts you online, or maybe just starts posting negative things elsewhere. How you handle things like this can truly make or break a business. The last thing you want is to handle a complaint poorly in public and to have it go viral. If your brand portrays a message of caring about the customer, situations like this are your chance to prove it. If something goes wrong, the best thing you can do is to tell the truth. Think of a complaint from a customer like a negotiation, it’s your job to find a result that makes them happy, and honesty is the best policy in negotiations.
You want your brand to be where your customers and potential customers are. The internet makes this very easy. There are endless places to establish a presence for your brand online, just make sure that you tie them all together both in terms of the content and visually as well.
You might have created a Twitter account years ago and are just starting out on Tumblr now, but your customers can get from one to the other in just a click or two, so make sure that your branding is unified across all platforms.
Mary Ann Keeling an enthusiastic business consultant with a huge knowledge of online marketing and presentations. She knows how to make her clients happy and how to make their brand stronger; sometimes just by simply exploiting their potential in the right way.