It has taken me many years, hours of educational courses and a lot of tweaking to really understand what branding is. I know it seems simple, and you might be reading this thinking "isn't that basic knowledge within business", and yes you would be right, it is basic knowledge and should be simple, however many business owners do not understand what branding really is.
Your brand is not just your logo and your tagline. Your branding is the veins that runs through every part of your business. It is the way you interact with your clients, it is the culture of your business, it is your staff and the way they portray your company and it is the way you present yourself in person and online.
To get your branding right, you need to start with the basics.
Who are you? what are you offering? and why are you different? If you don't have a clear, definitive answer to these questions, then your branding is most likely wrong and being misconceived by many of your potential clients. If you can answer these questions clearly, that's great, but if you were to ask your staff the exact same questions about your business, do their answers match yours? If the answer to that is no - we're back to square one: Who are you? what are you offering? and why are you different?
So who are you? What is your company name and does it reflect your services?
Is your name and your tagline, clear to your customers, or would they need to dig deeper to find out exactly what you do? If you're like us and offer a wide variety of services that differ, you may struggle to choose a name that coincides with all of those offerings. We chose something that was vast, like our services: "Infinite" and incorporated the word "management" as this is what our services revolve around. We help you manage your business elements or we help you plan and manage your wedding or event. Try and get as specific as you can.
What are you offering? Is this clear to your clients across all platforms? In store and online?
I've met many business owners who have so many fantastic ideas they can't decide which they want to run with. I won't lie to you, this is something Debbie and I have been guilty of in the past. While the ideas are all great, and conceivable, they become just that: an idea. What you want to offer and what you actually offer becomes distorted and your vision for the company begins to lose balance. Outline what it is that you offer and why it will benefit your clients. Once you've done this, stick to your choices. I'm not saying that you can't ever change your services or product, because to be successful you must be willing to pivot, but stop making changes every month or so for years to come.
What makes you different?
Why would someone come to you as opposed to your competition?
To build a successful and consistent brand, you must know what makes you stand out of the crowd, and you must make this a part of your branding. If you're not offering something unique, why would someone notice your business above others, who offer similar products/services.
What is your culture, and are your staff following it? Are you and your staff interacting with your clients the same way? Are they following the rules and guidelines that you have laid out for them? Have you even outlined your protocols to your staff in a clear way?
If you haven't already, you must engrave your basic cultures and values into your business. Outline the type of behaviour and interaction you require of your staff, and reward those who are religiously following the rules you've laid out.
Are you portraying your brand consistently in person, in store and/or online?
Are you making sure that all the above points are clear to your clients, and that your marketing team are abiding by these set guidelines? Is the content you're putting out there relevant to your product and/or service? I can't tell you how many social media pages and websites I have come across that relay content that has nothing to do with their business, services or brand. Make sure that the content you're feeding people is relevant and interesting.
Last but not least, are your logos, business cards, flyers and online graphics consistent with your brand? Make sure you are using the correct colours, fonts, pictures and designs that coincide nicely with your brand. Your logos and graphics should compliment your brand, not 'be your brand' entirely. Ensure your logo is always present on social media graphics and print outs such as brochures and if you can, watermark any images that are yours so that if someone comes across an image that is not on your website, or social media pages, they will know it is yours by your logo.
Need help improving your branding?
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