Your company’s brand is at the heart of all of your marketing efforts – both online and offline. Maintaining a consistent brand presence throughout all channels you use to connect with current and potential customers is crucial to your marketing success.
But what is a brand? Is it the ads you put on Facebook, or the flyers you hand out at networking events? Is it the logo and the colors on your letterhead? Or is it something else?
To help you understand what a business brand is, I’m going to start by telling you what a brand is not.
Surprisingly, all of the common elements that people initially think of when referring to a business’s brand do not actually define the brand.
Your brand is not your business name.
Your brand is not your logo.
While naming a business and creating a memorable logo are definitely important to making your business memorable, they do not define your brand. Eventually, people should remember your business name and recognize your logo, but these things don’t make your business memorable by themselves.
Your brand is not your color scheme.
Your brand is not your website design.
While ease of navigation on your website is crucial to keeping your online customers happy, and the colors you use to present your business may evoke certain feelings in your customers, these are also not items that define your business’s brand.
Your brand is not the awesome product or service you provide.
McDonald’s didn’t grow their brand by selling great tasting burgers, and we don’t buy iPhones because their apps are better than their competition’s. There’s just something more than a logo, a slogan, and a product that drives customers through a business’s door.
Every time you pick up the phone, every time you answer an email, every time you circulate a piece of marketing, you are interacting with people. After enough interactions, these people start to form an opinion about your business – and they start to share that opinion with others. You may think that all of the hard work you are putting into your business is creating a brand, but in reality…
Everything that your customers share about you on social media, the reviews they leave for you on Google, and most importantly the things that your customers tell other people about your business is your brand.
Try as you may to tell people what your business’s brand is all about – in the end, your brand is not about you. It’s all about what your customers are saying about your business.
While it’s true that your customers are defining your brand, there is a light at the end of the tunnel:
You have control over how your customers perceive your business.
That’s right! If you play your cards correctly, then your customers will pick up on all of the hard work you have been doing to build up your brand. When your vision for your brand is accurately translated to your customers, they too will be able to sell your real brand to their friends and family.
So, the key to mastering your company’s brand image is to
Consistency is key, when it comes to branding. You need to make sure that every person who interacts with your business, on every medium, has a similar experience. The more places you can give your customers a similar experience about your brand, the more they will come to believe in your brand, and turn into salespeople for your business.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll discuss each of these points in more detail. To get you started, here is a checklist you can use to help get your brand off on the right foot, and get your customers on board.
I’m not going to lie – building a brand image that you customers can run with takes a significant amount of effort. You need to ensure that every employee in your business is on board with promoting your brand image, and train them to interact consistently with your customers. The easiest way to do this is to
Determine Your Brand Values
At Iceberg, we sat down as a team to determine our core brand values. Doing this made everyone a part of the branding process, and made it easier for our staff to translate those values to our customers.
Develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP), and Make it the Core of Your Business
What makes your business unique? Why do people choose to do business with you over your competition? At Iceberg, our USP is “Website Developers Who Answer the Phone” – and everyone in the company know this. It’s on all of our marketing material, our sales agents use it at networking events, and it’s on the home page of our website. Our USP is the life blood of our business – we installed a four-line phone system just so we can keep this promise, and everyone in the business knows to answer the phone when it rings.
Make Sure Content is Consistent On All Channels
Time for a grammar and voice tone check-up! Do you talk about your business in the first person? Third person? Is your communication style formal or informal? Do you have catch phrases, or common abbreviations that you use? Make sure that all employees are on board with your style of voice, and that it is consistent everywhere you have print and spoken materials:
Keep Colors, Iconography, and Photography Consistent
If your business cards are green and blue, you had best make sure that the color palette on your website, Facebook cover photo, and brochures match! Your customers don’t want to second guess if they are on your website or not after following a social media link. Similarly, use the same icons on your brochure that you do on your website. And, make sure to hire a professional photographer, and keep your photo editing style consistent – from staff photos, to office shots, to product displays.
Make Sure Your Staff Represents Your Brand Values
Do you have sales employees attend networking events? Do customers visit your office or retail space, and interact with employees?
If you have made your employees part of the process of determining your brand values, it should be easy to get them on board with living those brand values while interacting with customers.
Tone of voice and communication style are key here – but what people wear also says a lot about your brand. At Iceberg, we value enjoyment, and our employees make that clear with interactions with the public. At networking events, we take on a casual dress code and have a good time, participating in as much laughter as we can. You’ll find that same casual, fun atmosphere if you walk into our office or run into the owner on the street.
It takes a lot of work to position your brand to the point where your customers can become your greatest advocates. But the rewards of doing so pay off exponentially.
Imagine owning a business where your best salespeople are your customers. If you put in the work, and give your customers a consistent experience, you can achieve this.
Need help getting started? Iceberg Web Design can work with you to keep your branding consistent throughout all online marketing channels. Contact us today to learn more!