Business Branding Tips & Guidelines
Is your branding making a clear, understandable, and memorable impression on your customers?
Branding is all about creating an impactful look, feel, and message that the public will associate with your business. Your logo alone isn’t your brand, though it’s an important brand element. Neither is your social media voice, or the tagline that you use. The services that you offer are part of it. So is your customer service. Your business mandate and philosophy are both important, as is your website, the fonts that you use, and the business cards that you hand out. All of these components add up to formulate your overall brand.
Do Clarify Your Brand Essence
Getting your brand straight doesn’t happen overnight. It’s worth investing time and energy into your online presence to reinforce the impression that you want to make on your existing and potential clients and customers. How do you want people to think about you? How do you want them to feel when they hear your name? Because you do want them to think about you, remember you, and have feelings about you.
You want to embed your brand into people’s hearts and minds so that they think of you when it comes time for them to make their buying decisions.
What associations do you want people to have with your brand? It’s important to be clear about how you want people to see and think of you. Here are some of our own branding goals at Barker Social:
- Professional but also Personable
- Knowledgeable and Helpful
- Trustworthy and Reliable
- Fun, with a Sense of Humour
- Diligent and Hard-Working
- Generous and Honest
- Putting the Client’s Needs First
Along with identifying the way that you want people to perceive your brand, it’s also valuable to write a mission statement. This will help you and your team to thoroughly understand your purpose and what you want to convey in all of your brand messaging and visuals.
Do Invest in Professional Brand Assets
Once you’ve got a clear handle on your brand’s core essence, it’s time to look at all of your other brand assets. The imagery, colours, and fonts that you use should all be selected carefully, taking into account the public’s reactions and sentiments about the elements you choose.
All of your branding elements should be consistent across your website, social media platforms, business cards, brochures, letterhead, email signatures, and everything that you touch. This consistency shows professionalism, and it also tells a story about who you are as a business, which is carried through in your attention to detail.
To establish effective visual brand assets, it’s definitely worth working with a professional graphic designer who has experience bringing brands to life.
Don’t Neglect Your Website
A professional, functional, contemporary, and responsive website should be a given. If you haven’t updated your website in the last couple of years, it’s time to do so. If your website is only a couple of years old and was built in a platform like WordPress, a professional web developer can likely update and clean things up for you at minimal costs. If your website is older, the good news is that new websites are now much more accessible and affordable than they used to be. Your website is like a 24-hour storefront for your business. People can and will look you up online before deciding where to buy, so make website maintenance a top priority.
Don’t Wing It at Social Media
More than just having people recognize your brand, you want them to trust you and feel a real connection to you. Your social media presence is a big part of that connection. You need to stay in touch with people and make yourself accessible in order to embed your brand and its positive connotations into your potential customers’ consciousnesses.
Social media marketing can generate fantastic results. 80%* of social network users connect with brands on social media and more than 60%* of those people are more likely to seek out a product or service after seeing it on social media. In fact, brands that share fun, engaging, customized content on social networks generate 3x* more customers than traditional marketing… and it costs 62%* less!
The important thing is to understand who your target customers are. That will help you to understand what they want. What are their motivations? What are their needs? Of course, businesses design the products and services to fill needs. That’s why businesses exist. But think more broadly than just your solution to those specific needs – think beyond selling. Consider why your customers are on social media in the first place. They aren’t there to buy, they’re there to connect.
To be effective, social marketing can’t be an afterthought. A poorly defined or half-hearted social media campaign can be more devastating than you realize. At best, it’s a waste of your time and money. At worst, a poorly executed campaign can reflect negatively on your overall brand image.
Do Have a Business Blog
When you write content-driven, informative blog posts (that are only indirectly promotional, not full-on sales pitches) you give your existing and potential customers a reason to visit your website regularly. When people learn something new and gain value from your website, they’ll want to visit you more often. They may even bookmark you! Via a blog, you can become a go-to source for information (maybe even the go-to source) in your field, and the more often that people visit your website, the more that they’ll come to know and trust your brand. This will ensure that they remember you when they’re ready to buy, ultimately leading to more sales.
A business blog will also help to increase your customer base because it will make it easier for people to find you. Consistent blogging is excellent for your Google and other search engine rankings. The more often you update your site, the better it will be for your SEO.
Do Blur the Lines Between Personal and Business Branding
The line between business and personal branding has started to become pretty fuzzy. You may find this to be especially true if you’re a business owner or an executive within your company. You are your brand, and the way that a top-level employee presents themselves certainly reflects on your overall business branding and image. With today’s technology, your personal branding is just as important as the official branding that you create for your business.
Both your business and personal brand should be customized based on your industry, your target market, and the business culture and persona that you want to establish. The strength of your brand is in details which will all work together to formulate your overall brand identity.
Do Revisit Your Branding Regularly
Branding doesn’t have a finish line. It’s ever-evolving and growing. Times change. People’s impressions, preferences, and behaviours change. If you aren’t nurturing your brand on a regular basis, you’ll surely get left behind. It’s important to refresh your brand assets regularly, revisit your brand voice and messaging, and check-in on your marketing strategies to make sure that your business is representing itself in the most effective ways possible.
It’s impossible to have a successful business without establishing a clearly defined, professional brand. If you need help figuring out the next steps for your business brand, contact us. We’d be happy to give you a free evaluation to examine where you’re currently at and where we think you should go to take your business to the next level.