Branding is a lot more than “getting your name out there.” It is about leveraging all of the outlets that you have available to develop the image of a business. Unfortunately, many businesses make the mistake of overlooking some of the most simple, yet important, aspect of branding. Don’t let your business fall victim to these branding missteps.
Websites like Twitter and Facebook allow businesses to brand themselves like never before. Businesses can now inform their customers, joke with them, and even respond to criticism in real time. Social media is a great avenue for developing the “voice” of your business. If you want to be super serious, you can do that. If you want to show personality and joke around with your followers, you can do that. With social media your business becomes an entity that interacts with other online users.
Many social media sites allow users to review businesses. You will want to keep an eye on these reviews or comments, no matter what the platform. Try your best to respond to any feedback customers may be posting, good or bad. The online community will notice and appreciate your effort. Managing the reputation of your business is a must for branding.
While a great logo is not the defining aspect of branding, it sure is a huge factor. Think about any large company/corporation you know. What pops into your head first? Probably the logo. The NFL shield, the McDonalds “M,” the Taco Bell… bell? You get the idea. These logos are great examples of visual branding at their very best.
What do you want people to see in their heads when they think of your company? That’s what you need to keep in mind when creating a logo. A cheap looking logo will reflect negatively on your company. Customers will be thinking “if they can’t even take care of themselves, how will they take care of me?” This thinking is unfair but it is reality.
A great logo design and good all-around visuals can do wonders for a company. The look of your logo can improve the legitimacy of your business in many customer’s eyes. That’s why the creation of a logo should not be taken lightly. It is recommended that you work with a graphic design artist to get exactly what you want out of your logo. If this logo is going to represent your company, you want to get it right.
While most companies offer a variety of goods and services, it is vital for branding purposes to find the good/services that you want to define your business. Once you find your defining service, focus your branding around it. Trying to brand everything your company offers will just confuse and turn off customers. It is simpler to shape your branding efforts around a single service, and it will also make it much easier for potential customers to define what your business is all about.
Feedback from customers and people outside of your company can be extremely valuable. When you are on the inside of a company and part of the branding campaign it is very easy to lose perspective. In other words, you may see your branding efforts in a completely different way than a customer, friend, or family member would see them. Always listen to what a customer has to say about your brand. Some feedback may have no impact on your branding, but you may come across an idea that can really help your business.
It also would not hurt to ask your customers, family, and friends what they think of your branding efforts. Consider posting a question across your social media platforms asking what your followers think about your brand (logo/voice/etc.). You may end up with a lot of junk answers, but if one idea is valuable then it is a success.
It is not only important to keep an eye on how customers are reacting to your brand, but it is also a necessity to see how they are reacting to your competitors and the rest of the business world. What better way to learn about what works and what doesn’t then to watch how other businesses approach their branding? Look at successful businesses and how they present themselves, how and where they communicate with their customers, and what kind of language they use to represent their business.
Find a company in your field that you wish to emulate. Use their successful branding as a template for your own efforts. Just remember to add plenty of your own personality to that template. You don’t want to copy another company. You want to improve upon a foundation. Combine the best of what they do with the best of what you do.
Branding is all about consistency! You need to be using the same voice and logo across all of your platforms. If one of your social media sites looks and acts completely opposite of the other, you will be having an identity crisis. Remember what I said about your logo being the first thing that pops into someone’s head? If you have three or four logos you will get three or four people with a different image of your company.
It is completely ok to change up your branding methods if they are not working. Why continue pushing a brand that no one is responding to? Just realize that when you are changing your brand you need to do a complete makeover. Don’t leave your social media sites the same but change your main website. You do not want to send mixed signals. Your brand reflects what your company is. It needs to be definitive.
Obviously, there are countless factors that go into something as important as the branding of a business. Paying close attention to the factors listed above is a great way to make sure you have the basics covered.
Do you have any questions regarding branding? Contact GSM today for more information.