If you ask many people the meaning of 'branding' they automatically think of a company's logo or marketing campaign, but branding is far more than just a logo.
Part of communicating effectively is to be consistent with who you are and what you stand for. Of course having a unique and memorable logo will help build brand awareness but it is just as important that the message you are sending out represents your brand values.
Effective branding can make or break a company. When you think of brands you really love, you associate these with an emotion. The same goes for brands you loathe too. Those reasons are generally because of judgements you make based on your experience of that brand.
Building brand awareness for your company means you need to know who your customers are and why they would come to you over your competitors (benefits of your service/product, qualities your customers look for, possible preconceptions of your brand).
Here are 10 tips to building an effective brand:
- Make sure your logo, web graphics and company literature have the same consistent feel in both the design and content (text and images).
- Think about your message - what key messages do you want to communicate?
- Be authentic to who you are and what you stand for (your ethics and values should reflect in all that you do and showcase).
- Perhaps have a catchy tagline so people remember you. However make sure that it reflects the right 'tone of voice' for your company.
- Ensure your social media pages (if used for business) reflect the same look, feel and messages as your website. Although it is fine to give an insight into the people behind the business, do not share information that could threaten your reputation and credibility.
- Make sure the way you dress reflects your business. You don't have to wear a suit to be taken seriously in business. You may choose a more casual style of dress especially if you work in a creative role, however always make sure you look well presented, clean and professional.
- Take time to share your expertise. You don't have to give away the crown jewels but sharing top tips or nuggets of information helps to show prospective clients that you know your stuff.
- Make sure your email address is not a hotmail, yahoo or google address. It should be yourname@companydomain(.com or .co.uk) - This is important because it shows that you have a professional business set up and also reminds people of your company name again.
- If you have a portfolio only showcase your best work and make sure the photographs are good quality images i.e. not pixelated/blurry and relevant (do not include your work sitting next to a picture of your pet).
- Don't be afraid to ask for feedback from existing customers and even potential new customers. This will help you create the right experience for your clients and target new clients more effectively.