5 Tips for Branding Success
Branding can be a great unknown for many people. But if you’re running your own business, you need to have some understanding of what your brand is, when to hire a professional, and how to make your brand work as hard as it can for you. Read below for our top 5 tips for branding success.
Know what your brand is. What is a Brand? Your brand is how your business is perceived. It’s your business’ personality, its philosophy, its reputation, its style. You can define your brand by identifying who your target audience is, what you want your tone of voice to be, and generally how you want to be perceived in the marketplace. But your brand is NOT your logo, and your logo is not your brand.
Hire a Professional. You’re probably wishing you had more of a marketing budget. But if there’s one time I always recommend hiring a professional, it’s logo design. A good designer will work WITH you on your logo. They will get to know your brand, your audience, and your goals. You will be presented with several professionally designed options to choose from, none of which will be copied from someone else’s logo. And you should wind up with a logo that will clearly portray your brand and be easy to read and recognize.
Create Brand Guidelines. Simply slapping your logo on everything you put out does not equal branding. Keep your brand consistent by putting some brand guidelines down on paper. Establish a color palette and choose a few complimentary fonts to be used exclusively on all your materials. Choose a visual style that matches your voice: Is your look moody? Upbeat and personal? Illustrative? Bold geometric graphics? You can even write out a few examples of headlines to reinforce your tone of voice.
Commit to your brand. You’ve spent all the time and effort (and, probably, money!) on your brand. Now is the time to commit to it. Don’t waver! Consider what a potential customer might think when the sign on your building doesn’t match the logo on your website or business cards. “Am I in the right place?” is probably what’s going through their mind. The most successful brands ensure that everyone (employees included) is representing the brand according to the standards set forth, and that there is consistency across all marketing efforts.
Work your brand. Your brand means nothing unless people SEE it! A website, a social media presence, and even some traditional advertising (like brochures and print ads) are essential in today’s marketplace. But what many often overlook is the power of YOU. Get out there and network. Be a cheerleader for your brand. And make sure that what you are handing out to people—business cards, promotional items, even the name tag you are wearing—are properly branded.