Your brand identity is the image your company portrays to the world at large, to your customers and prospects. When people look at your online presence, they should know what you do and that you bring value to the market. When you meet someone at a networking event, your business card should have the same colors and font as the brochure you hand them with the card. When someone walks in your front door, they should know instantly that they are in the right place.
A strong brand identity isn't just for big companies. Small businesses need it as well if they plan to grow and compete in an ever changing business environment. Your brand identity should be appealing to your target market and should be consistent in every printed piece you produce, across every online platform, and in every other way that you interact with the world.
Consistency is important because it brings name recognition. If people see your logo and/or your brand colors online, they will recognize your snail mail brochure when it arrives, and vice versa. When people recognize your identity, your name is always brought to mind, which is helpful when they receive your email or see your social media posts.
Let’s take a look at the five most important places to create consistency in your brand identity:
Very often your company website is the first interaction a potential client will have with your business. Make it a good one because people will likely make a 10-second decision whether or not to explore further than your home page. Needless to say, your identity should be strongly represented on that home page so your potential clients will explore further or contact you.
On your website, your brand colors, fonts, logo, and images are vitally important and should reflect your brand identity. If your message is serious and you handle tough problems, using whimsical fonts and cutesy graphics doesn’t meld with the serious issues your company handles. The opposite is also true; if your identity and mission are more light-hearted, using deep, dark colors and traditional fonts might turn people away after they make a quick judgment call.
Your Social Media Platforms
Not everyone in your target audience will use the same social media platform and those reasons vary widely, so it is important for you to post across multiple platforms to reach more of your audience. However, if your name, colors, and logo are different on all these platforms, when someone jumps from Facebook to Twitter, they may not think yours is the same company because the profiles look different. Or if they receive a piece of mail that looks different than the social media profile, they may also be suspicious. Consistency brings recognition and also helps to build trust between you and your clients.
All Company Communications
Letterhead, envelopes, invoices, business cards, and other printed marketing pieces should all have the same colors, fonts, and logo as your website and your social media platforms. Just one more way to show your professionalism and attention to detail - your clients will certainly notice.
Your Email Marketing Campaigns
Contrary to popular belief, email marketing is still one of the best ways to keep in touch with clients and to keep your company name in their memory. The key is to be relevant with your messages and offer valuable and engaging content. On top of these, create a template (or templates) that incorporates your brand colors, fonts, and logo. Don’t miss a chance to build that trust between you and your audience.
Your Office / Retail Environment
If you have a retail store or a an office where customers come to you, carry your brand identity throughout the spaces that customers interact in. Think about wall color, having your logo as a piece of wall art, the color of upholstery on the furniture, rugs, etc. to carry your brand identity into every aspect of your customer relationships.
Take a little time to look at these five areas in your business and make note of how and where you can improve your brand consistency. It doesn't have to cost a lot of money to get your brand into shape. Incorporate changes slowly if you need to, such as updating your business cards and other printed materials the next time you need to order. As long as you are working toward the end goal of a strong, consistent brand you ARE taking your business to the next level.
To your success ~
Laura Olson-Oxley is an entrepreneur, coach, speaker, marketing and business consultant, and sales professional. She has over 25 years experience working with small businesses in a variety of industries, focusing on strategic business growth through effective marketing and advertising. Also a strategist, numbers nut, project manager, and life-long learner, Laura looks at the big picture to analyze and recommend the most effective tools to take businesses to the Next Level.
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