A guest post by Stacy Kleber Jensen
What is your brand? Many people think that a brand is simply a logo, but it’s so much more than that.
Although a logo is an important part of a business, a brand encompasses much more. A brand is everything that people think of when they think about your company, and it’s part of every customer touchpoint.
When establishing your brand, keep the following factors in mind:
A brand is more than a logo.
I can’t stress this enough. A brand is more than using the same logo on all of your materials. Your brand is your company’s personality. It’s the tone of your advertising and social media marketing. It’s the color and imagery you use. Even the font you use speaks to some aspect of your brand: quirky, cool, casual or scholarly. It might include a particular graphic or pattern that thematically connects everything from your website to your swag.
Your brand should represent who you are and what you do. It should be part of everything that your customer experiences. If you take this approach to your brand, you can become a familiar and trusted company your customer will rely on for years to come.
Think about your target audience.
Who are you selling to and what do they relate to? If you try to market to everyone, you’ll end up watering down your message and failing to reach anyone. Taking a targeted approach will help you make the most impact. Women are attracted to different types of branding than men, and teens are attracted to different things than baby boomers. Do your research. Knowing your customer will help you find your voice.
Be concise and leave your customers wanting more.
I see way too many websites and advertisements full of lengthy paragraphs that try to include every detail for every potential customer. The truth is that most people spend less than a minute on your homepage and even less time on your advertisements. Keep it short. Tell your story with a strong image. If you need to make multiple points, use a bulleted list to make the text more digestible. Your content should always be easy to skim, and it should be simple for the user to find more information.
Being consistent reinforces your brand and builds trust with your customers. They know who you are and what to expect from you.
If your logo is fun, use a fun tone in your social media and advertising. If your company needs to garner more respect, a serious logo and tone of voice will better suit your needs. But pairing a fun logo with a serious tone will confuse your customers, creating dissonance.
When people build a personal relationship with your brand, you should respect that loyalty. Customer loyalty is your biggest asset. There’s a reason why the 2010 Gap rebranding campaign flopped. Gap changed their logo to something much different, and customers felt betrayed. They no longer recognized the company.
Show appreciation for your customers by being consistent and by involving them in big changes, for example by building excitement for a rebrand rather than rolling it out unexpectedly.
Bigger is not always better.
The number one request from clients is always to make the logo bigger.
If you have a strong brand, someone should see be able to recognize your brand from your collateral materials, even without the logo. They should be able to tell from the colors, fonts, tone of voice, and images that the packaging, video ad, whatever it is, belongs to your company.
The logo doesn’t always need to be bigger. In fact, subtle is often better. Your brand is more than your logo. Treat it as such.
Call in the professionals.
With wide access to design programs and WYSWYG editors like WordPress, everyone thinks they can create brand collateral themselves. These tools are wonderful, but they’re no substitute for a professional.
Your business is one place where people will judge a book by its cover. If your branding is unprofessional, you risk people assuming you’re an amateur. Having a polished brand can win your company more and better customers, and giving them confidence in your products and abilities may transform them into lifelong brand ambassadors.
Building a brand is an exciting time for a company. It’s a time to explore and be creative, then establish who you are and who you want to be.
By considering the advice above, you can help give your brand the consideration it needs to help you build loyal customers.
About the Author
Stacy Kleber Jensen is owner of Stacy Kleber Design, LLC, a graphic design studio that specializes in branding for small businesses and startups. Learn more about Stacy at her website: www.skleber.com.