All businesses have a brand. Some carefully craft theirs (from start to finish) so they are as representative of the company’s culture as possible. Some businesses start life with a designer and maybe an agency for initial support. Others are more laissez-faire and attempt it without expert guidance and others, astoundingly, don’t bother with presentation at all. Where does your firm sit across the scale of branding investment and why does it matter?
Your brand is one of the most important parts of your business. It shows who you are and what you stand for. People are in a rush, they don’t have time to work out what you offer, how good your team is and what brand of coffee you serve at meetings. People (your customers) make judgement calls. We do it all the time when selecting any kind of supplier – are they what I need? Is the company professional, reputable, reliable? Do they offer exactly what I’m looking for? Am I comfortable with this organisation? At selection stage, brand is all anyone has to go on. Therefore if you have a bit of a logo, a forgettable name, a confusing message and a standard looking website, you won’t go far.
Your online brand is an extension of this. As the majority of businesses are found and reviewed online (way before the first phone call), it is really important that you get it right. A strong identity, good recall (memorability), clarity of message (what do you do and for whom do you do it) and consistency across all online platforms (website, social media and electronic communications) are just the starting points for an excellent online brand.
Good pointers for effective online branding include:
- Imagery – keep it the same/consistent across all platforms
- Tone of voice – ensure you have one person to edit and proof everything before it is published
- Clarity – keep it brief with valuable content – what do your customers want to hear/learn?
- Recycle – use your blog for a number of Facebook posts, tweets and article for your next newsletter. It reinforces your message and makes life easier for you!
Its a crowded marketplace, make sure your brand is seen and heard.