A Brand – What is it?
Before we get into why a professional brand is important, let’s talk about what a brand is. A Brand is defined as “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product distinct from those of other sellers”. The foundation of your brand is your logo, a graphical representation of your business – the first impression. Your website, promotional materials and social media are all brand tools that integrate your logo, which help communicate your brand. Professional branding encompasses everything that your business or organization needs and/or uses to make it unique and recognizable in today’s market.
Define your Brand. Strategize your Brand.
In order for a brand to be successful, you need to first think about your definition – your branding message. What are the benefits of doing business with you? What sets your company apart from your competition? What makes you different or original? Why should a potential client choose you? And what qualities do you want people to associate with your company? Once you’ve established the core characteristics of your company it’s time develop your brand strategy.
Your brand strategy is the who, what, where and when, with a little how thrown in there. You need to determine who you plan on communicating your message to; what you use to communicate your brand messages with; and where and when you advertise to reach the who (your audience). How? That’s up next…
How do you develop and build a brand?
Developing and building a brand is the combination of the visual and the verbal. It starts with a professional logo design, which should be used on marketing materials that will relay your branding message. Business Cards, Stationary, Forms, Websites, Social Media, Networking Events, and Volunteering are all methods of branding and relaying this message.
A Professional Logo Design
A professional logo is the first impression of your business; it is the visual representation of your brand message. In the eyes of potential customers it can signify stability, credibility, trust, being established and be the anchor of customer loyalty. Having a memorable logo design will spark emotion and recognition with your customers and will help them identify with the products and services that you will or have offered. Graphical elements, Typography and Color Theory can all be used to help relay your brand message and the ‘feeling’ you want your business to portray.
Business Cards, Brochures and Other forms of Marketing Collateral
Every business or organization should have multiple forms of print collateral. Business Cards, Brochures and Rack Cards are great ways to deliver your branding message both visually and verbally. These forms of marketing can help relay your intended message and inspire potential customers to do business with you. These tools should reflect a unified image throughout to help make your brand strong.
A Professional Website
Your print marketing materials go hand-in-hand with a professional website. Your website should reflect the brand message you’ve established, and the ‘look and feel’ of your print materials. Keep it up-to-date, consistent with other advertising, easy to navigate, and engaging.
Sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (just to name a few) offer a great source for businesses to advertise and connect with existing and potential customers. Take advantage of everything they offer – the free aspects along with some of the paid services. Targeting through sponsor ads and promoted posts using demographic options can optimally reach your target audience.
Consistency is Key to a Strong Brand.
When building your brand through print or online medias, keep things consistent! Many businesses and organizations fail to do this, which can cause confusion with existing/potential customers. A consistent brand becomes a memorable brand.
Write an article. Volunteer. Network.
Take the time to share your knowledge and expertise, volunteer at an event, write a blog post, comment on other posts, and network in the business community. These are all ways to help create a presence, get your name out there and give you the opportunity to verbally communicate your brand message in a positive way.
Keep it going.
Building a strong brand is not a one-time thing. It’s a constant, ever-evolving process and should be an on-going endeavor. Keep your online information and profiles up-to-date, stay in touch with your customers and networking contacts, and build upon your marketing materials – doing this will build a solid presence in the business community.
So Why is a Professional Brand Important?
It will get you recognized. It will show that you are committed to your customers and that you take pride in your products and services. It will make you visible and create familiarity. It will convey that you are stable, credible, reputable and established – All reasons why branding IS important to your business.
Tina Thistle, is the Creative Director and Co-Founder of Cre8iv Design Studio Inc. – a Graphic Design and Digital Printing company located in Donovan’s Industrial Park, Mount Pearl, NL. Tina is experienced in all areas of graphic design, however her true passion is helping businesses create and develop their brand. You can connect with Tina on LinkedIn or she can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 709-368-8888. To learn more about Cre8iv Design Studio visit www.createdesign.ca or connect with them on Facebook, Twitter (@Cre8ivStudio) or LinkedIn.