When looking at your own business branding keep it simple – choose 2 or 3 fonts that compliment each other and stick with them for everything that you do in your business: stationery, adverts, emails, letters, posters, website etc.
By using only these fonts and always using them in the same way (ie. one for titles/headings, one for body copy (main text) and another for other things like big bold titles or quotes) you will begin to see a uniformity appearing that will help customers identify your business quickly and a brand will start to magically appear.
2. Colours and Formatting
Similar to the fonts, it’s best to stick to a set format for your promotional materials. Choose a few colours that you feel suit your business and that complement each other. Use these for your fonts, backgrounds and accents. If you use a designer then they will usually do this by default so you can follow their suggestions. Another good tip is to use different colours for different parts of your business so they are easily recognisable within your framework.
Once you have a set of guidelines for your colours, fonts, layouts, structure etc then you have what are called ‘branding guidelines’. When you utilise these in all your promotional materials then you will give your business a much more professional appearance.
3. Tag Line
It is well worth your time to create a ‘tag line’ or ‘strap line’ – a short, sweet, memorable phrase that is a strong identifier for your business. Think ‘Just do it!’ and ‘Every little helps’ and a mass number of other similar phrases.
By using your logo and a tag line on all your promotional materials you are increasing the likeliness of being remembered. The catchier and more unique the tag line the better. What you will find, much like the above examples, is that your business will be remembered and talked about due to it’s catchy tag line – and being remembered by your current and potential customers is what it’s all about.
When building a brand you really need to know the identity of the business. Who the business really ‘is’, what are it’s goals, principles, values, beliefs and how would you like your business to be remembered after it has been experienced – whether that experience be a meeting, an advert or a purchase?
By having a strong identity you will be able to create specific targets and have far more effective marketing and customer service strategies.
If you have happy customers then ask them for a testimonial. Customers old and new enjoy seeing that others think highly enough about your service to put their name to a testimonial for you.
By building a series of testimonials for both your products and services you have another effective tool to use for marketing your business.
By demonstrating that you are an expert in your field you build trust with your audience and trust is a hugely important commodity that cannot be bought.
Get actively involved on forums and post interesting and informative articles/information on your website, blog and/or social media accounts. When people see first hand that your business has expertise in an area then they will think of you when a situation presents itself and will also feel confident in recommending you to others.
Branding is still relevant when you’re face-to-face networking. They say ‘people buy people’ and this certainly seems to be the case when you compare businesses that actively network, both in person and online, and those that don’t.
Remember to keep focus of your identity and your promotional strategy when networking and utilise your time to promote the benefits of your business, rather than selling your product or service. By building and nurturing relationships with business colleagues you are investing in a powerful referral tool. When you utilise this to its full potential the rewards can be quite remarkable.
Do your research and find groups and events that are most relevant and will hold the greatest benefit to your business and then get active with them and start growing your referral network. When used with the correct strategy and motives (i.e. farming not fishing) networking can be one of the most powerful tools in your marketing tool box.
8. Review and Plan
Life is always changing and branding is no different. By reviewing your branding regularly you can keep track of how your business is being seen, monitor its effectiveness and then make tweaks or changes when necessary.
By planning for the future you can also set budgets and develop a strategy that will make life much easier when considering where and how to promote your business with literature, adverts, e-shots and social media campaigns.
Be sure to consider how your brand will appear in a variety of media, for example; newspapers, web, social media, magazines, websites, radio etc. Be consistent with your message, your formatting and logo.
This is how you build a brand. It is many small things tied together by their uniformity and used in a consistent manner that gives your business a professional edge and one that is easily recognisable.
10. Know when to use a professional
It’s tempting to go totally DIY with branding and there are certainly times when this approach can be effective, however there are a few things that are worth investing in:
A logo – by employing a designer to produce a strong logo you can then use this on all your literature and tie it all together your styling guidelines.
Photography – this does depend on the business but it is usually very handy to have at least one set of personalised images that you can use to promote your business. Especially handy for printed publications and websites. It’s also useful to have a professional image of the staff for use on a variety of media incl articles, email signatures, websites etc.
Copywriting – it’s so easy to think that we are the only ones that can write about our business because no one knows it as well as we do. But there are many different copywriters out there that you can work with to create some professional copy for use in your promotional materials. For example, investing in a 100-200 word descriptive piece of text that is well written can be hugely useful and used in online directories, advertorials and many other places. Well worth investigating.