In Business Branding

logos-business-branding

 

What makes these images recognizable?

It’s not just the logo.

You know the name, the colors, the tone, the shapes.  You know the weird clown, the simple swoosh, and the flaming red sticker on the curvy Coca-Cola bottle.  I’ll bet you can even describe what kind of experience to expect when you encounter the products.

That’s the Business Brand.

But, there’s more to it than the look and feel.

A brand has a soul.  It has a sound, a voice, and a personality.  Think of it as a child. You want your child to grow into a grateful, helpful, and appreciated member of society, but you know there’s only so much you can do. Other influences make a brand who and what it is.  While building on your business branding, you’ll need to make impossible decisions, but you’ll experience great joy in the process. The brand, like people, has a life of its own. It’s up to you to nurture it, but your customers and employees will have peer-level influence.

Business Branding Basics

Good business branding needs a good marketing strategy, and that all starts with your brand. Your business branding is the foundation of your entire marketing plan, and it’s in both traditional and digital marketing strategies.  It’s in everything, including your:

  • Web design
  • Social media posts
  • Blog
  • Print materials
  • Advertisements
  • Uniforms or name tags
  • Sales funnel
  • Responses to reviews
  • Networking plan
  • Elevator pitch
  • And much, much more…

Before you begin, dedicate a few hours to sit with the below questions.  Grab a pen and a piece of paper (to avoid device distraction) and find a comfortable spot.

I know it sounds corny, but you must be the brand when you answer the following questions:

  • Are you formal, professional, or conversational?
  • Do you use slang?
  • Are you witty or serious?
  • Are you informative or persuasive?
  • Do you use emoticons?
  • Do you use grammar and punctuation casually or formally?
  • How do you use or react to humor about your product or service?
  • How active are you on social media?
  • What do you really care about?
  • Use 3-5 single words to describe your business branding.
  • What’s your vision?
  • What’s your mission?

Does the audience currently engage with your brand?  In other words, are they buying from you?  If not, find out what posts, products, services, blogs, ads, etc. have the most engagement, leads, or sales, and use them to help you build on your business branding.  If you’re just beginning, look at your competitors and see what’s working for them.

Three Ways (with some notes) to Help Your Brand Grow (and keep growing)

  1. Use your colors, fonts, elements, and shapes throughout all Everything from your e-mail signature to your website font should match your brand’s style.
    • Don’t use more than three fonts, but three is pushing it. Choose one serif and one sans-serif from Google Fonts.  The third font can be a fancy one used for call-outs or quotes.
      • Remember, just because you think it looks good that doesn’t mean your readers will like it. Research shows that people prefer serif and sans-serif fonts (especially serif).
  2. Make sure everyone in your company knows how to talk to customers and potential customers.
    • Write an elevator pitch. I know it sounds old-fashioned, but it’s necessary. You don’t have a lot of time. We’re an easily distracted and often inattentive culture. Have the best elevator pitch that makes them want to know more.
    • Teach your team what not to say and do. For example, if you want to be good-natured, professional, and intelligent, you don’t want your team cursing and wearing clothes that don’t fit in with your brand’s personality.
    • Revisit the “who we are” topics regularly with all members of your team.
    • Throw events and do team-building activities that emphasize your brand.
  3. Create 3-6 guiding principles and post them everywhere, teach them everywhere, live them everywhere. Our six guiding principles are:
    1. Be helpful
    2. Bring joy
    3. Keep learning
    4. Have integrity
    5. Nurture partnerships
    6. Honor and respect everyone

Don’t underestimate the power of the collective.  Your audience’s voice is vital to your growth, and it changes as frequently as new ones develop.

Listen and adapt. Learn when to say no, but almost always say yes. 

Help Your Brand Stay Ahead of the Competition

  • Dedicate 30 minutes a day to researching your niche. You may be able to cover this in your workday. Be mindful of ways to learn more about your industry.
    • Check out Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, or enter common keywords in the search engine. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer.  What problem do you need to solve?
    • Follow your favorite blogs, social pages, and websites.
  • Check out your competition and see if they’re doing anything new. SpyFu and SEOptimer have some free information.
  • Research indicates that social audiences love current events, so keep an eye on the news, especially as it relates to your industry.
  • Find opportunities to teach about your industry, product, or service.
  • Fear of failure will stunt your growth. Failure happens. It must. It’s the only way to be successful.  Instead of caving into the fear, plan ahead.  Plan out a policy, process, or action plan for things like negative reviews, bad press, theft, natural disasters, spam, hacking, and employee misbehavior.

The most important message to take from this article is to make sure everything you and your employees do falls within your guiding principles.  Those values should be reflected in your business branding efforts.  It takes a village to raise a brand, so be sure to pay close attention to how those outside influences are affecting your business brand.

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