Does your business have a brand?
Even if it’s not something you’ve thought about all that much, the chances are that your clients have. You may even already have a reputation for doing a certain type of work unbeknownst to you.
That’s why it’s important to get involved with branding as soon as possible. The biggest lie is that branding is reserved for big businesses like Coke and Nike, but the truth is everyone and everything has a brand that exists in some way, shape or form. As such, it’s important for you to know some of the basic tenants of branding – particularly the ones you can’t possibly ignore.
Here they are:
Consistency – Brands that are recognizable all have the same thing in common – they have consistency throughout. From the font you use to the keeping logos and themes centered on strong, powerful undertones – everything you do needs to reinforce your brand.
Appearance – Like the old saying goes ‘you never have a second chance to make a first impression’ and just as with anything else in life – appearances do matter. People will judge you and your brand on a variety of things, but those first impressions that are made from visiting your website, holding your business card or picking up your brochure speak volumes about you, your business, it’s quality and your capability.
Relevance – You can have great looking collateral and a website with all the bells and whistles, but it it’s not relevant to your target audience, it’s just art. Creating a relevant brand means you need to understand your clients and prospects. That means doing research, talking to them and defining a space that meets their needs, not yours.
Reputation – While reputation takes some time to build, you’ll find that it will evolve into one of your most important assets. Simply put, how you act and what you can say has a tremendous impact on your business – especially for those who feel like reputation management is a myth. Building good brands is based on paying attention to your client’s needs, delivering on your promises and turning in the best work possible – every time. Simply put, the more people trust you, the more likely they are to do business with you.
Presence – Good brands are there, even when we don’t necessarily notice them. Establishing one is based on three key components: advertising, social media and community involvement.
- Advertising is an effective way to raise your profile, but most small startups can’t afford it. If you do advertise, make sure it’s in a place where your customers are.
- Social media is inexpensive and comes without rules (within reason), which allows you to be incredibly creative in terms of getting your message across. However, it’s important to remember that you need to maintain a consistent voice between the content and your brand.
- Community involvement isn’t just something that’s nice to do; it’s the right thing to do. It becomes even better when the good you’re doing in the community lines up with your business goals.
While the components mentioned here are done so in a low-level manner, we can’t stress their importance enough. Stick to these five guidelines, and you’ll be well on your way to building a brand that works.