Branding is one of the most critical components of your company’s image. Or better yet, GOOD branding is the most critical component you will need to exercise to make your company stand out from the rest. Branding of your company, product, or service is the foundation for all of your marketing efforts and customer engagement.
I am still amazed that some companies just don’t take the time to create GOOD branding and marketing practices for their company in this day and age. PLEASE! take the time to consider, or re-consider, your current brand’s look and feel to make sure you’re still relevant to your audience. Here are a few basic components that should be considered when shaping your brand and image for marketing. With these foundations established, you can then move on to more creative branding ideas.
Is it strong and iconic? Is it easily understandable by the audience? This is the visual characterization of what your company, service, or product represents. You have mere seconds to capture the attention and become memorable to your audience. Don’t waste this time with a logo that is so complicated or jumbled with words and icons that you need the secret decoder ring to figure it out. Excellent logos are simple, bold, and fit the company it’s attached to. When I say blue oval you say?…
There’s a reason why Harley Davidson has one of the world’s most loyal customer bases. They don’t just sell motorcycles, they sell a lifestyle to their customers. A lifestyle filled with wind-through-your-hair excitement coupled with the proud-to-be-an-American, red-blooded adventure. Their brand loyalty is so strong that some of their customers will even get tattoos of their logo. Now I get that most of your clients or customers will not get a tattoo of your insurance company logo, but when you consider your company image, base it on customer terms. Your mission statement, company tagline, and brand promise should include the ‘what’s in it for the audience’ mentality.
Brand consistency amongst your company is a must to maintain credibility with your clients and customers. Make sure all of your materials like brochures, business cards, letterhead, product slicks, trade show materials, promo products, etc, feature your current logo and identity. Nothing screams cheap like handing a new prospect a business card that has your outdated logo and address on it.
Obviously to even be relevant in the marketplace you will need a website, no kidding. But I am challenging you to re-look at your current website through your client or customer’s eye. Does it have a logical flow that leads the viewer from homepage to contact page? Does it allow the viewer to understand the product or service quickly and easily? Is the design up to date and appealing?
Sure, small companies don’t have large multi-person marketing departments that can dedicate someone to consistently updating the company website, but making sure your content is still relevant to the ideal audience your targeting is critical. Create a user experience that engages the customer both visually and with great messaging. If you can’t commit to a frequent content and messaging updates on your website, then pay for the professional. There are enough resources for hire out there that can help create and maintain a content marketing strategy to boost your marketing efforts.
One of the most overlooked items of a branding and marketing plan is metrics. Quite simply, “Did it work?” and “Does it need to be tweaked?” are the easiest questions to ask if you are tracking your marketing efforts. But more so take a moment each month and review what efforts are getting traction and where. Tracking what the change has been month-to-month will allow you to see growth or decline of your customer engagement. This will help you identify other possible opportunities and help you develop not only your product or service offering, but will help you develop your audience as well.
Make no mistake branding and marketing can demand a large investment to properly execute, but without a well thought out visual identity and persona of your company, you won’t be memorable in the industry or by your audience. And re-branding a product or service may initially be costly but will definitely out weight the cost of losing valuable market share in your industry.