Branding, or the art of achieving a positive and consistent brand image for your business, is more than just a nice idea. In fact, branding is a key pillar of an effective marketing strategy, and applies as much to online and social media marketing as it does to traditional marketing and advertising such as print media, outdoor advertising, radio, and TV. It’s a pillar because great branding essentially multiplies your marketing and advertising efforts and dollars by providing a hook to make your message live on in the minds of your target audience.
Just getting your new business off the ground? Don’t be fooled into thinking that an integrated logo, business card and letterhead are sufficient to create a great brand image, even for a low-budget one-person operation. There are many things to consider, all of which work together to reinforce your brand image and to remind potential customers of who you are and how you stand apart from the competition.
Here are four easy ways to achieve positive and consistent branding:
#1. Use Taglines: Make Them Short, Memorable, & Relevant
A good tagline is a memorable phrase or one-liner designed to remind customers of who you are, what you offer, and how you stand apart. Just as a picture can paint a thousand words, so a tagline can help customers recall your advertising campaigns, presentations, and value propositions in an instant. Who can forget Nike’s “Just Do It”, Ford’s “Ford Tough”, or Wheaties’ “Breakfast of Champions”? When you hear those lines you know immediately which company is represented, and experience an instant visualization of their products or logos. Strive to make your tagline short, memorable, and relevant to your core products, services, and mission.
#2. Create a Style Guide for Consistent Branding
Creating, a style guide is a fairly painless way to ensure that your basic branding efforts share a consistent look and feel. Your style guide, which should be created by a professional graphic designer, will define the colors, images and fonts to be used in your advertising materials and presentations, as well as logo placement, and details like the amount of white space to be included around your logo, as well as other guidelines. A thorough guide may even include examples of what is not acceptable in an effort to avoid common errors by your well-intended sales and marketing staff. Your guide is also valuable when outsourcing new advertising and promotional materials, and may help reduce the cost of such efforts while helping ensure consistent, high-quality branding.
Your style guide will make it easier for you to achieve visual consistency in anything and everything that represents your brand whether it’s a flyer or brochure, a blog or social media page, a TV commercial or PowerPoint presentation, a pen or mug, or virtually anything that can reflect or reinforce your brand image.
#3. Brand Your Social Media Experience
Branding includes creating a consistent visual experience wherever your brand is encountered, including on your social media networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and any others your business may use. Some social media platforms provide less graphical design flexibility than others. Nevertheless, those encountering your brand via social media should experience a strong sense of familiarity and consistency across all social media touch points.
#4. Create and Use Branded Templates
Take the grunt work out of branding by providing your sales force and others with professionally created templates that adhere to the branding guidelines in your style guide. Your graphic designer can create effective templates for letterheads, PowerPoint presentations, signature lines within email messages, sales receipts, customer quote forms, and virtually every type of printed or electronically transmitted customer-facing communication. Using templates will save time and money while consistently reinforcing your brand image.
A great brand can multiply the results of your marketing efforts while building brand recognition and loyalty. The more you get a clear and compelling brand image in front of others, and the more consistently you present it across your marketing and advertising channels, the quicker people will recognize it and become more likely to choose your brand over others. There are many aspects to effective branding beyond those mentioned here, but by following these 4 principles you will be well on your way to a more effective branding strategy.
If you would like additional help in forming an effective branding and marketing strategy for your business, then please contact us.