What creates a brand? It's how your potential clients see your business by all the different ways you communicate with them. This is what creates your brand.
So, while you have control over what you show them and how you communicate, your client ultimately decides what your brand is and if it's memorable. You just pave the way to help them get to the destination you want them to arrive at.
Branding all begins with communication. How all the different thin, let’s focus on how your business communicates with a potential client what your business stands for.
There are many initial ways that you communicate with your potential client before you ever actually communicate specifically with them, so it’s important that all aspects have been thought through and are consistent.
Let’s go over the basics of branding and how they can help small businesses.
The first thing you should think about is your brand message. What type of company do you have and how do you want your clients to think of you? Brainstorm a brand message first, and then start the visual branding aspects that fall in line with that brand message idea. As you go through all the different portions below, the exact brand message will start to solidify.
Start with the basic basics. Do you want to be classic, serious, fun, goofy, trusted, wild, spunky, safe, etc. Then take those ideas and build the brand details below.
These days your website is the first impression a potential client has for your business. So what does your website say in those first moments? You have all of 3-5 seconds to grab the attention of whoever just clicked on your site. Make sure that what is seen in those first moments really capture their attention.
Is it clean and easy to navigate? Or does it leave people wondering what to do next?
Does it entice people to stop and look around a while?
Does it instantly show them what they are interested in?
Does your content lead them from landing page to where you want them to reach out to contact you or buy something?
After you’ve captured their attention your website tells you are a potential client a lot about your business. And that’s not via the words that you’ve typed on that page, it has a lot to do with the design and look of all of the different visual aspects including images.
Many wrongly believe that a brand is done once their logo is created, but this is really just one portion of the many facets of your brand.
Does your logo convey the quality you want to show?
Is it classic? Is it playful? Is it rustic or urban?
What immediate impression does your logo convey and does that stay in line with the values your company holds?
Image courtesy of thelogocompany.com
The color palette you choose can say a lot about what you want your clients to feel.
Does it consistently convey the same feeling as the design on your website as well as your logo?
Did you know the colors give a different psychological impact on people, and you can use that to tell visitors what to expect ( a great article about branding colors here)
Want to look deeper into brand colors? Here’s another great article
Just like colors and logo, your choice of font conveys a feeling.
Do you use a specific font for specific reasons or has this not even crossed your mind?
You should have a set number of fonts that you use for different aspects of your website your brochures and any sort of marketing you have that way when people see your flyers or ads they will connect in their mind as it is coming from the same company i.e. the same brand images.
How is your site and social media feeds represented with photos?
Look at the major brands, their images convey feeling in a message and are extremely well thought out and high-quality.
Many small companies have one of these problems
they lack images altogether (which is bad),
use low-quality or obviously cell phone images (which is also bad),
or stock images (which can definitely work). Usually, stock images are generic and obviously stock so they work better the cell phone photo but only a little bit.
Worst-case scenario they use images they just pulled off the Internet without knowledge of who owns the images and that’s not only bad but also illegal and can open your doors to a lawsuit.
The best option is to have custom images made for you telling the visual story that you want to convey to your potential clients. Everyone can show what they want their client experience to be in images and custom photography does that for you.
Design and Graphics
This falls closely in line with your website, as the design and graphics all work together for a specific look. But I have this as a separate thing because the design and graphics tie in with your brochures, your ads, your flyers and any way that you showcase your business that is not photos or your entire website.
This is separate from the website, but needs to be cohesive with your website.
To have a recognizable brand, your design, logo, fonts, colors, website and any promotional flyers need to be consistent and convey the same feeling and brand message.
Do these all together, and you communicate a lot to what your clients should expect when working with you. Then as long as you communicate in the same tone when you talk with the client and wow them with your client experience, people will start to recognize and share your company and your brand will grow!
Take a look at our easy and free Branding Basics Guide to start brainstorming for your brand.