Have you created a name for yourself in the marketplace? Are you well-branded?
"A simplified definition of "brand" is basically: the identity of a company. It's what you are known for, the images that come to mind when your company name is mentioned, the way you serve and operate – that's all a part of your identity! And, just in case you're thinking you don't have one, understand that every business has a brand. Either they have taken the time to carefully craft it themselves or else the marketplace, or individuals in the marketplace, have created it for them. In other words, if you don't create an identity for your business, prospects will come to their own conclusions about who you are and what you do. And, sometimes they are wrong. Don't run that risk! Intentionally build a clear, recognizable brand and leave a powerful impression on your prospects!
Here are the 5 components of a successful brand:
- A simple, clear message – How simply can you communicate your value proposition to prospects? Your message should be clear, concise and consistent. We'd suggest keeping your message (or tagline) under 6 words for maximum effectiveness. Simplicity allows prospects to remember and recognize your message easily. (Think Nike and "Just do it.") What's your message? Simplify it. And, then simplify it again.
- Attractive, purposeful graphics – Your identity isn't just made up of the words, but also the pictures and graphics associated with your business. Your logo should be purposeful and expressive – it should clearly tie in with your message and communicate to ideal prospects who you are. Choose graphics that deeply resonate with those you want to reach. If you are a bread baker, when paired with your message, your logo should attract the attention of bread lovers! Ideally, the two should work together to draw your ideal customers in. Work with a professional logo designer (because all graphic designers are not logo designers) and make sure your graphics and photos are high quality. Remember, your brand is your identity. These images represent you. Make them attractive!
- Signature color scheme – It's confusing to the marketplace when your business cards are one color scheme, your outdoor signs are another, and your website is yet another. None of them are remarkable when there's no consistency! Settle on one signature color scheme – 2-3 max – and use those colors consistently. And, to further solidify your brand in the mind of your prospects, wear your colors often. Look the part!
- Signature font combination – As with your color scheme, your font combinations should be consistent. Use the exact same lettering styles across the board! You'd be surprised how well the brain retains repetitive images. Prospects will come to recognize your text as a part of your brand the more they see it. And, as with colors, keep your font choices to a minimum – 2-3 max – and, make sure they complement one another. Font pairing can be tricky. Solicit the help of a graphic designer with a great eye. Choose fonts that are legible and work well with your overall brand and target market. In other words, don't use the Disney font for lettering if your target market is professional business owners! That goes without saying, but you'd be surprised…
- Corporate culture – Most people will stop at messaging, images, colors and fonts when it comes to branding, but they are missing a key component of any "identity" – personality! Just like you have a personality that makes up your identity, so does your business – and, it's an integral part of your brand! What energy would you like your prospects to feel when they come in contact with your business? What vibe best represents you? Are you a fun, energetic shop or a professional, serious firm? A slower, relaxed environment, or a fast-paced, get-er-done type setting? "Why does this matter?" you may ask. Because like attracts like! Your ideal customers will be attracted to your corporate culture! Identify and show the personality of your brand. (The perfect clients will flock to you when you do!)
Branding is so very important. The earlier you establish one, the better. Think of the companies you frequent – restaurants, gyms, shops, grocery stores, websites. Are their brands emblazoned in your mind? Can you recall their messages, logos, colors, fonts, culture? Can your prospective clients recall yours? Master these branding basics. It's a step in the direction of success!