The importance of a consistent brand
It is becoming more and more common for your customers to evaluate and make purchase decisions online. Just look at your own clothing purchase: how often have you checked out the competition before you even walk into a store (if you walk into a store and don’t shop online!). This is exactly why branding is more important than ever.
So what is the brand? It essentially boils down to your customers’ perception of your business and includes personality, character, and values. The brand should extend to your store/office, all signage/print materials, website and online presence, customer service, and team interactions.
Where do you start?
- do your research – who your competitors are, how their sites look, feel and sound. In case yours stands out from the crowd or is in line with the industry. What makes you unique and makes you stand out from your competitors? Depending on who you serve (and understanding their needs) will dictate your direction.
- Understand who you are and who you serve (a little more digging!) – What matters most to your customers? Put your customers first: Meet their needs from your site first, start with easy-to-find contact information. Ask yourself if the copy is too long or full of jargon. Is your content organized on the page to make it easy to read? Does it tell enough of the story to be useful? Do you provide testimonials to facilitate decision making? Are your packages/pricing easy to find and understand? Will they know what they are getting? We have a great worksheet that helps clients understand their client, if you would like a copy please email us! We will be happy to send it to you.
- Define your mission and vision statement -All actions and communication should be tied to your mission and vision statement, and your brand should reflect your future goals. Take for example that your vision is to recreate an industry and stand out by turning the industry upside down, does that sound radical? Now, what if that is your vision and your website is shades of gray with very formal, jargon-filled text? How does that speak to your vision?
- design and copy – Don’t underestimate the power of visual appeal. Create a recognizable logo and choose a color palette that reflects your values and voice. Your website structure should be easy to navigate, with clearly designed, easily digestible text in a clear font (not too scripted and hard to read). The copy must be professional and demonstrate expertise in speaking in a language that everyone can understand. Your copy should be free of typos and grammatical errors (enlist the help of an editor, or at least have a trusted peer proofread your content).
- social networks it is an extension of your brand, this includes both the appearance and the content. Use social media to expand your reach with timely responses to reinforce your dedication to customer service, quality information curated and created according to your vision.
And a bonus tip: create a style guide with tone, voice, and style standards; and includes standards for social media, website design, any future graphic design. Don’t forget to include team expectations! This is the perfect time to create guidelines for response time, signature lines, tone, and professionalism.
The key is: you are your brand, so ALWAYS be consistent!