Branding can make or break your business. Two otherwise identical companies can have hugely different success rates depending on how their target market connects with their brand. The smallest details, something you may think is insignificant or unnecessary to include, can leave a lasting impression on an audience who are bombarded with choice and can easily seek services and products from competitors. Making sure your target market knows who you are, what you provide, and how to obtain it is just as important as appealing to the superficial enjoyment we all get from interacting with or viewing something pleasant. Your brand must be functional and beautiful. What’s more, it must be memorable and recognizable.
If you’re just getting started and need some guidelines on how to begin branding your business, or perhaps you feel that your current brand could use a tune-up, here are some useful tips to help you on your way.
The need for a business to have its own website is vital in this digital era. To reach as many potential customers as possible, it would be foolish to ignore the advantages of setting up your own site. However, having a poorly constructed, uncomfortable, and ugly website can be almost as bad as not having one at all. Potential customers need to be able to navigate and understand what your website offers instantly. Only huge companies who have practically monopolized their field can be forgiven for clunky user interfaces and user experiences. Part of your brand includes the feelings experienced by users as they interact with your online space. It can be visually enticing, but if the mechanics are unreliable, then your brand image will be associated with low quality in the minds of your potential customers. Here are some crucial aspects of your business website to focus on:
- Clarity – Don’t fill your page with unnecessary information
- Flow – Gather feedback on how others use your site, paying particular attention to how their eyes travel the page
- Hierarchy – Make a list of the most important elements you want website visitors to notice first and make sure these are presented well on your homepage
- Navigation – Clickable links and buttons must be functional and necessary, as otherwise, your website might feel like a maze with dead ends
- Visual appeal – This feeds into your overall brand image; make sure your site compliments and enhances this image to promote positive associations
It can be tricky for businesses to balance their tone while connecting with their target market through social media. Some are incredibly formal and rigid while others come across as far more personable. Neither is inherently better than the other; it is a matter of how well your business’ tone of voice matches the intended brand image. Do you want to appeal to professionals in a particular field? Are you hoping to catch the attention of students? Observe the kinds of social media posts that gain the most traction amongst your target demographic and align your brand with those. Be careful not to appear insincere as this will significantly influence the lens through which potential customers will view you.
Linking to the last point, it can be tricky to gauge how your brand is perceived and whether or not you are on the right track. Often the solution is to run frequent feedback tests to ensure that your brand is hitting the mark. There are also brand monitoring tools that allow you to monitor mentions across the internet about your business and help you manage your brand reputation as well as to build engaged relations with your customers. This gives you the advantage of responding to feedback quickly and easily, making brand changes where necessary.
As mentioned before, a beautiful brand is far more likely to succeed than its less visually appealing competitors. Invest in good designers who can help build your brand image in a way that appeals to the people you want to attract. Humans are naturally drawn to beauty, so give your brand that extra boost by focusing on how everything looks, from the website to the product to anything your customers come into contact with.
A hugely successful part of big businesses is their utilization of merchandise. Depending on the type of business you are in, merchandise can elevate it to iconic status. For example, Coca-Cola is primarily a drinks company; however, their logo is printed on many kinds of merchandise – such as T-shirts and artwork – and has become a well-appreciated piece of design. Be proud of your brand image and flaunt it with merchandise, encouraging the people who love your service or product to share their appreciation of it with the world. Here are some ideas for possible merchandise products that can promote your brand long after they’ve left your site:
- Pins, badges, and patches – These can be made cheaply and are rarely out of fashion
- T-shirts – Can also be produced easily and are versatile in their potential for branding
- Relevant items – If your business is related to the finance industry, perhaps opt for branded wallets or piggy banks. If you run a company whose primary demographic is students, offer laptop sleeves or attractive stationery
If your visual brand is appealing to the eye regardless of what your business involves, it will catch the attention of many more people by appearing on merchandise.
The key to effective advertising is to know where and how your message will be best received. Don’t waste your efforts and budget on marketing your business in places that reach the wrong demographic or not enough people. Instead, focus on who you want to attract and what types of advertising they will connect with. For example, if your business is aimed towards older generations, then it is unwise to concentrate all your marketing online. Study the different demographics who use different social media sites. You will find that your business will be better suited for some but not all since various platforms cater to a variety of people. By keeping your target market in mind, you will be better able to display your brand.