People often tell me they’ve “already done” their branding, but did you realise that the job is never actually done? There’s a reason larger businesses employ brand managers, and that’s because brands need managing, continually. That is if they are to stay “hot” in the eye of their beholder – aka your ideal customer – and attract business.
So how can you do that? We’re not just talking logos, brands also need to appeal to all the senses. Your brand represents a PROMISE – it’s what your customers (and potential customers) come to expect to experience from you – and consistency of that promise is key to building the brand reputation you want. Here’s my essential guide for keeping your brand hot to stand out from the competition:
1. VISUAL BRAND:
This is the most obvious part of your brand because it’s usually the first thing we notice. So yes, your logo plays a part. What does it say about your business? Does it look dynamic? Does it look professional? Or maybe it even has a fun element. Whatever it says about your business, just be sure it reflects what your ideal customer would like – and beware of falling into the trap of creating a visual identity that simply reflects your own preferences. The same goes for picking your colour palette for your branded materials including your website and social media: Colours represent different things to different people and there are lots of guides on the internet to give you some clues – red can mean bold or warning, yellow can represent optimism, orange confidence etc. Again your colour choices will play a role in building your brand reputation. In fact, anything visual related to your brand will have an impact, including your choice of fonts and imagery, so be careful when using stock imagery that you don’t just follow the norm for your industry. The aim is to ensure every visual contact with your brand stands out and tells a story that your ideal customer will be attracted to.
2. TONAL BRAND:
Organisations often place lots of emphasis on their visual brand, but pay less attention to their tonal brand, which is HOW you come across in everything you say. Everything you write or record (- e.g. copy, videos, advertising) needs to sound right for your brand, whether that be reassuring, inspiring, authoritative, approachable…? The adjectives you choose to fit with your brand will impact the tone you need to use. For anything recorded, you need to consider accents, style of speech and even background music. For the written word, this means a careful choice of language, written style and punctuation. For example, a very formal style of writing will be professional but may not come across as approachable, and if you want to be perceived as nurturing, beware of exclamation marks which can come across as pushy. Brands like Innocent and Loaf have developed their chatty, approachable tonal brands really well – you may not be a fan, but they’ve probably done a lot of research to make sure their ideal client is! So think carefully about your brand tone and whether it will appeal to your ideal customer.
3. EMOTIONAL BRAND:
Finally, when it comes to attracting people to our brands, it’s all about the emotion. What is it that’s going to make your ideal customer fall in love with your brand? I’m a big fan of the WHY word, as anyone who has had dealings with me will know, and that’s what I’m talking about here. WHY do you do what you do and WHY should people be interested? This is not just about quoting rational benefits, but instead about digging deeper to find an emotional connection and create brand messages that demonstrate you understand the needs and desires of your potential customers.
4. THREE LITTLE WORDS:
A simple trick I use with my clients is to find 3 adjectives that capture the essence of their brand. These then act as a filter to check any piece of branded communication. Again, these 3 little words need to appeal to the brand user, not the brand owner! Of course all the different elements of your brand will come together as a blend, so there are no hard and fast rules. You can dial up the different aspects as you see fit. However, once established, you will need to review your brand’s visual, tonal and emotional identity on an on-going basis. Checking everything consistently follows the identity you have set and also keeping abreast of your ideal customer and their habits. People change and so do customers – so make sure you stay relevant to the people you want to attract and do business with.
If you would like to know more about branding or to book a brand audit, then please feel free to get in touch