In any business brand is everything. Particularly with the highly visual culture we live in and extensive use of imagery that’s used to create appeal through online channels, you must create an identity that is attractive, memorable and keeps prospective clients interested and on your site.
So where do you start in creating a brand that will grab customers’ attention and keep you at the forefront of their minds?
Using Branding to Your Advantage
In branding, you want to utilize your strengths and specialties to set yourself apart from the competition. Start by:
- Examining your value, purpose, and passion – these should relate to your niche and goals for your clients
- Leveraging achievements or certifications to create trust – i.e. college degrees, association affiliations, years of experience, etc
- Relating your personality traits to your business – being persistent, persuasive, or possessing superior negotiation skills
All of these aspects will help you decide how to approach your brand creation.
Your logo is the first thing people see, and the thing about you that will stand out most in their minds (or not). It needs to be professional, yet also have a distinct flair that sets it apart and makes it memorable.
Clip-art type house shapes and other cliché representations are old news and overused. Geometric shapes reinvented and other symbols that relate to your business without being contrived offer a unique alternative to the norm, which means they’ll stand out more in customers’ minds.
Colors and Typography
Stylized typography can add an eye-catching element to your logo design. Typography utilizes different lettering sizes and shapes to make the image stick in people’s memories.
If the letters are uniquely shaped enough, you can even use it in lieu of a logo symbol or shape. Essentially, your name becomes your logo.
Color is equally important with your logo and marketing materials. Classic choices such as black, silver, blue, and brown reflect a distinct, professional vibe. Brighter colors like orange, green, purple, and red make excellent accent colors, adding a touch of interest to your identity.
[bctt tweet=”Color increases brand recognition by up to 80%.” username=”tierramwilson”]
Brand photographs should be crisp and clear, using a decent quality camera or professional stock photos. When taking photos, stage product or areas properly – remove clutter and personal effects from the area being photographed. Also, take advantage of natural light by opening blinds and curtains, and take pictures during the late morning to early afternoon when the sun offers the most help.
You marketing collateral and electronic media are crucial elements of your brand. They can either ooze professionalism and competence or scream gaudy and inexperienced.
Follow these basic tips to ensure that your brand comes across accurately on everything that passes through your hands:
- Keep the font clean and easy to read. Helvetica, Verdana, and Times New Roman are all classic choices.
- Business cards and letterhead should include your logo and contact information, along with any accent colors that are a part of your brand.
- Carry your color theme, fonts, and other brand elements across into your marketing collateral.
- Utilize the grid design method to maximize visual appeal of presentations, website layout, and paper materials like business cards. Grids are divided up into either an even number of columns or odd number, with design elements strategically placed within the grid sections in order to create a balanced, aesthetically pleasing appearance.
When writing copy (advertising):
- Be concise.
- Use your branding – if you have a motto, this is the perfect opportunity to utilize it.
- Show your personality – let people know you’re not just a robot by letting a little of yourself shine through.
- Have Balance – you do a lot of writing as a business owner; the key is knowing when to be serious and stick to the facts (offer writing) and when you can add a little pizzazz (advertising copy).
Being an entrepreneur in the 21st century means being online, and utilizing social media as a lead generation, networking, and advertising tool. Here are a few brand etiquette tips for social media:
- Focus on information. Offer your subscribers value, rather than a constant stream of self-promotion.
- Be worth following. Good sites don’t have to beg for followers or subscribers. They provide actionable, helpful, or amusing content that gets shared and draws an audience organically.
- Keep personal photos and posts where they belong – on your personal account (unless it’s a personal brand).
- Respond promptly. The online world moves lightning fast, so you must be ready to answer questions almost as soon as they’re asked. Give your followers ample attention, but ignore negative posters and trolls.
- Spelling matters. Your online presence is an extension of your brand – use spell check and make sure your grammar is passable. People notice these things, and it makes you appear less professional if you’re not paying attention to simple errors.
Creating a brand can be intimidating, but as long as you are authentic, use a theme that is professional and relates to your specialty, and stay consistent across all of your products, you’ll soon find that people automatically associate your look with your business.
Don’t be afraid to get creative – being professional doesn’t mean being boring! Use these innovative ideas and have fun creating your new brand.