All businesses have a brand, and the most successful ones control their brand. Here are 5 things that you can do to create a consistent, simple and consumer-friendly brand.
1) List All Impression Points. This includes any contact that you, your employees, or your marketing materials have with your target audience.
Examples of impression points are:
- Printed materials such as business cards, brochures and newsletters
- Advertising (print & online)
- Contact in meetings or in your business space
- Atmosphere in business space (i.e. Is your lobby inviting?)
- The professionalism/friendliness of you and employees
Once you have this list,
2) Maintain Consistent Service. While there is a lot of emphasis on the collateral pieces of a brand, the most important piece of your branding is the product and/or service you provide. Put measures into place that ensure a quality product each time. Also, have a customer-friendly plan in case something goes awry.
It is equally important to ensure your customers always have a positive experience. Make sure each employee is properly trained, has an in-depth understanding of your company and how he/she fits into the company’s structure. As the owner, if you need training in customer service, presenting, etc., get it. Your professionalism and friendly demeanor is vital to your business.
3) Develop Core Messaging. Your core message (whether printed, online or spoken) is based on your target audience and the need that your business fulfills. While developing your core messaging is an exercise, it is fundamental in maintaining consistency and ensuring you communicate clearly and quickly to your audience.
The following blog does a great job of walking you through developing your core message: http://wendy.kinesisinc.com/?p=282
4) Evaluate Your Company’s Name and Logo. Is your name easy to read or hold significant meaning? Does it imply what product or services are offered? When choosing a name, opt for one that fits at least one of these criteria. Does your logo translate well across all impression points? For instance, if your logo looks great on letterhead, but is distorted on company apparel, the inconsistency is a break in your brand.
As a general rule, logos should be clean, simple and not reliant on a corporate color. It should translate well in color as well as black and white.
5) Develop a Consistent Supporting staff. Once you have a logo, choose 2-4 complimentary colors and use only those colors for your marketing materials. Most people associate a color with a brand (think Coca-Cola red), so use this to your advantage. And by using the same palette of colors consistently, you leave less room for straying from your core image.
Fonts also play an important role. By using the same 1-3 fonts you are reinforcing an image, you ensure your materials look professional, and it doesn’t look like you have an overzealous amateur creating your collateral.
Towanda Long, aka The Cafe Lady