I’ve talked about what branding is before, and just wanted to reiterate quickly:
...branding is….everything that has to with any aspect of your business. Branding is still about your logo and colors and website, but it’s also the ideas your company stands for. It’s who you partner up with for events or promotions. It’s no longer a tangible thing you can see and touch, but rather how people feel about your company, whether it’s employees or customers.
So now you have a refresher on what branding is, how the heck do you apply it to real life? How do you take what you’ve determined your brand to be, or how you want customers to feel about your brand, and make that a tangible, measurable thing?
I’m going to tackle the easy one here: design. How your brand looks is still a big part of its influence on others. A well-designed logo and website will invoke trust and respect over something you ordered on Fiverr. If trust and respect aren’t at least a little part of your brand, best go elsewhere for brand advice.
Your logo should instantly convey who you are and at least a bit of what you do. Abstract, geometric things placed next to text is still an ongoing phenomenon, but it only works best for household names. Personally, I only use text for my logo. I thought of adding some sort of abstract thing to it, but I don’t need to, so why bother?
A good logo is the foundation of your brand identity. It’s got the colors, the font, the overall feel that will drive the rest of the designed elements. Once you have that, then it can be applied to your business stationery, physical or virtual (think, email signatures).
When a prospect comes across your business name what’s the first thing they do? Google it. The site that shows up needs to be designed to reflect your company’s branding. The fact that it looks good and works well is just something that has to happen.
Tone of Voice
Your branding comes across not only in design but also in what you say and most importantly, how you say it. Coming off of the website design is the copy you have on its pages. Are you going to wing the text, or are you going to hire a copywriter who has experience in making businesses sound good? Does the website copy explain who you are and what you do? Does it reflect the culture you want to show off to your prospects?
Another way when your tone of voice gets perceived is when sales people are talking with prospects. What kind of language are they using to get people to buy your product or service? Are they using sales scripts that every other company is using, or is it tailored for your ideal client and how you want your business to be perceived?
Finally, your branding should be reflected in the way internal communication is done. How your team talks to each other reflects how they talk to others about your business. Closed-door meetings and secretive processes don’t reflect a transparent and fun brand. Building an internal culture that helps your employees thrive is.
The final way in which you can make your brand come alive is how you delight your customers. One way is in your customer service, and how complaints or questions are handled. There’s a few companies whose branding screams fun and customer-friendly, but when an issue arises they’re nowhere to be found, or respond in a poor manner. Don’t be one of those companies.
Next up is in the actual product or service you build. Does it reflect your company’s mission or goals? Is it a product or service your customers love to use? Are there aspects of it you can improve on and drive customer retention and referrals?
Last, but not least, is social media. Everyone and their mother is on social media, and so should your company. You’ll need to pick out the right channels for your business and branding. Start-ups with a focus on younger customers won’t spend all day on Linkedin, but they should be on Instagram. How responsive are you to posts on social media about your company? Are you measuring the overall feeling online about your brand?
To sum up, the feeling you want people to exude when they talk about your business needs to come across in three areas: design, tone of voice and delighting customers.
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