I've often had people tell me they've "already done" their branding, but did you realise that the job is never actually done? There's a reason why large businesses employ brand managers, it's because brands need managing, continually. That's if they are to stay "hot" in the eye of their beholder - aka your ideal client.
So how can you do that? We're not just talking about logos here, brands need to appeal to the senses. Your brand represents a promise, it's what your clients and potential clients come to expect to experience from you, and consistency is key so that you build the brand reputation you want. Here's our essential guide to keeping your brand hot and ahead of the competition:
1. VISUAL BRAND: This is the most obvious part of your brand because it's often the first thing we notice. So yes, your logo plays a part. What does it say about your business? Does it look dynamic? Does it look professional? Or maybe it's a bit fun. Whatever it says about your business, just be sure it's what your ideal customer would like - and don't fall into the trap of creating a visual identity that reflects your own preferences. The same goes for picking your colour palette for your branded materials including your website: Colours represent different things to different people and there are lots of guides on the internet to give you some clues - red can mean bold or warning, yellow represents optimism, orange confidence etc. Again this will play a role in building your brand reputation. In fact, anything visual related to your brand will have an impact, including your choice of fonts and imagery, so be careful when using stock imagery that you don't just follow the norm for your industry. The aim is to ensure every visual contact with your brand tells a story that your ideal customer will be attracted to.
2. TONAL BRAND: Often brands place lots of emphasis on their visual brand, but neglect to consider their tonal brand. Everything you write (or record - e.g. videos, advertising) needs to build the right brand image. Do you want to sound reassuring, inspiring, authoritative, approachable...? The adjectives that fit with your brand will impact on the tone of your brand and therefore your choice of words, the way you write and the punctuation you use. For example, very formal language will not come across as approachable, and if you want to be perceived as nurturing, beware of exclamation marks which can come across as pushy. Brands like Innocent and Loaf have developed their chatty, approachable tonal brands really well - you may not be a fan, but they've probably done a lot of research to make sure their ideal customer is! So think carefully about the language you use and if making any recordings, consider the "sound" of your voiceover (male v female v accent) and whether that reflects the brand that will appeal to the customers you want.
3. EMOTIONAL BRAND: Finally, when it comes to attracting people to our brands, it's all about the emotion. What is it that's going to make your ideal customer fall in love with your brand? I've talked about the WHY a lot in the past, and that's what I'm talking about here. WHY should people be interested in your business? Not just the rational benefits that you can quote against the competition, but the emotional connection that gives them that "gut feeling" that you understand their needs and desires, and are the choice for them. See my blog on making your brand shine for more tips on this.
3 LITTLE WORDS: A simple trick I use with my clients is to find 3 adjectives that capture the essence of their brand. Then these become a filter for any contact potential customers may have with that brand. Again, these 3 little words need to appeal to the brand user, not the brand owner!
Once you've established your brand's visual, tonal and emotional identity, you will need to review it on an on-going basis. Check that everything follows the identity you have set and also keep abreast of your ideal customer. People change and so do customers - make sure your stay relevant to the people you want to attract and do business with.
If you'd like to give your brand a summer make-over, then please feel free to contact me for a no obligation chat on 07585 224121 or at Lisa@icingmarketing.com