1. Commit to a Mission
Before you can have a recognisable brand, you need a clear vision of what that brand is going to be. Outline a clear, concise mission for your brand from the outset and commit to staying true to that mission in every piece of marketing, every blog post, and every product you make.
Your mission should help define your vision for your brand, but it shouldn’t just read, “to be the next Apple.” Your customers can go to Apple if they want Apple. What is it that you provide that’s unique and valuable to your customers? This could be something like “creating environmentally conscious beauty products that give you beautiful skin” or “being the most reliable source for the latest security technology.”
You have something that can create value for your customers, and it’s important that you identify what that value is in order to effectively communicate it to them.
It will be helpful to revisit your mission statement often, and ensure that you’re still in sync with it. Trying to be too many things at once can confuse your message and weaken your brand, so try to stay focused and figure out what it is that makes your particular brand recognisable.
Consistency in branding and voice are an essential element to every brand, as it builds trust and makes you more recognisable.
2. Be Visible
With so many things vying for your customers’ attention, you’ll be left out in the cold if you’re not promoting yourself across the internet. Furthermore, if your customers can’t find you, they’ll be less forthcoming with their information and their business. A business that’s not on the internet is inconvenient to interact with at best and downright sketchy at worst.
This is why you should be investing in putting your brand everywhere you can. Here are some of the most important things you should be doing to leave your mark on the world wide web:
Social Media Master
Your customers are on social media, so you should be too. Take advantage of every popular social media platform that is relevant to your brand and audience, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube, and use the tools they’ve created to help companies like yours promote themselves and get out in front of the right people. Post daily if you can and keep your brand top of mind. Again, make sure your posts align with the image you want for your brand.
A Strong Website
A web presence is imperative to your success on the internet. Customers will look to this page to find you and to discover valuable information about your business and what you provide. To appear professional, you’ll need a well-designed website that features branding elements like your logo and your company colours. The website should be professional looking, but can include elements that make it mesh better with the image you’re promoting- whether that’s whimsical, stylish, sleek, or cutesy.
If you’re inexperienced with both branding and web design, it’s always recommended to work with professionals like this branding agency Manchester who can help you with all the above.
Your website should be free from bugs and broken links. You should check in often to make sure your website is still running smoothly. Your website should be mobile-optimised so that it works seamlessly on a phone or tablet, too. The branding agency you choose to work with will be able to take care of this for you.
A relevant URL is important to maintaining brand image and consistency. This can be tricky given the amount of domain names that are no longer available, but it may even be worth basing your company’s name on what URLs you can find. You can check for domain name availability here.
A Good Email Strategy
While email may seem like old technology, people’s inboxes are still one of the best places to reach them for lead generation. You should determine the best timeline for delivering your newsletter based on what makes sense for your business. Use this newsletter to connect with your audience and promote your content and products. Make sure these emails are mobile optimised, because many of your customers are checking their emails on the go these days.
There are many email marketing services that can help you get started.
Beyond the basics, emails are a great way to familiarise your audience with your brand. When formatting your emails, use your company logo as well as colours and design elements that coincide with your company’s visual image. The more contact your audience has with this sort of branding the more recognisable it will be to them in the future.
And even after you’ve done all that, you still don’t get to rest because you should be promoting and distributing everything you’ve created up to this point. You can have all this in place and if your guests can’t find you, it won’t help. You’ll need SEO solutions to make sure that you’re searchable and that your brand doesn’t get lost amongst all the other content on the internet.
The ubiquity of the internet these days has made the company-customer conversation more two sided than ever, so if you want to endear your brand to your readers, let them know you’re a good listener.
Create a Community
Social media is perhaps the best platform on which to engage your guests. This will likely be the first place they go to air grievances, write reviews, and ask questions. Your primary goal when creating a social media campaign should not be to place another billboard advertising your products and services. It should be a place where you create a community around your brand.
Use your social media page to post things like interesting content, exclusive deals and promotions, and (if it fits your brand) humorous posts. You want to use posts on social media to generate interest in your brand and to encourage people to comment, share, and interact. Post often, and with the understanding that every post you make should represent the image you want for your brand. Your social media pages should be a place where your fans can go to interact with your brand, receive updates, and discover content that they’d enjoy.
Be a Good Listener
Companies are really good at talking, but what your customers really want to see is a brand that’s marked by its listening skills. Give your readers opportunities to reach out through private messages, comments, and reviews on your social media platforms. Set up a place on your website with contact information. And when your customers talk to you, listen! You have the potential to turn a bad customer experience into a good one just by providing a listening ear and good customer service.
Take customer feedback from reviews, private messages, posts and comments and be sure to respond personally to as many of them as you can. While not every post or comment deserves a reply, showing that you care about your customer’s experience and helping them overcome obstacles of interacting with your company can convert cynics into lifelong fans.
However, not all comments deserve a reply. There will always be those who want to burn you just for the fun of it, and you won’t win that fight, so don’t engage. Learn to recognise trolls early, and don’t play into their hands.
In today’s world, customers are leery of stoic organisations that are difficult to get through to and use lots of “sales-y” language. It helps to lift the curtain a little on occasion to show your customers that your company is run by people, not robots.
This means using familiar language in your posts instead of technical speech. If you can, use your own name or the names of your employees when signing off on emails or blog posts. Try to avoid computer generated responses whenever possible. If you dabble in pop culture and hashtags, make sure that you fully understand the conversation you’re participating in, and that you don’t make light of heavy conversations.
Everyone makes mistakes, but covering them up will make things worse for you. Own up to your mistakes, apologise, and try to make things right with your guests. You may still incite the rage of some, but you’ll earn the respect of many others.
4. Give Something for Nothing
Content reigns supreme in the internet world, but gone are the days that basic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) using lots of keywords was sufficient for pulling in traffic. Google’s algorithms get more complex and clever all the time and they can see right through poorly thrown together articles stuffed with keywords. Not to mention, it’s not doing much for your credibility and likeability as a brand if you trick people into clicking through to your crumby blog posts. If you’re going to do content, make sure you’re doing it well!
Content is worth investing in not only because it draws in web traffic, but because it can help shape and improve the image of your brand. In the short term, it should be something that provides your customer value without having to work hard for it. At most, your blog should ask for (but not require) your guests to sign up for your email newsletter. But getting something in exchange for the content you create is not the point, making a more memorable brand is.
In the long term, creating high quality content can endear your customer to your brand, position you as an authority in your market, or advertise your products in a way that makes the value to your customer clear. Content marketing can take the form of blog posts, videos, quizzes, or just about anything else that provides your reader with something they’ll value or enjoy.
Share Other People’s Content
Why not share your fan’s content as well? You get more content marketing without having to invest time and resources in it, and your customer gets featured by one of their favourite brands. It’s a win-win! Just make sure you’re giving credit to the creator when you post their work.
5. Hire a Branding Agency
Creating and maintaining a brand is a lot of work, and you’ll need lots of time and manpower to make sure that you remain competitive in the online sphere. We believe the best way to get the most out of your brand is to bring in the experts.
Save Time and Money
If there’s a theme to this list it’s that there’s a lot that goes into creating a great brand image. It’s an art that employees of branding agencies have spent their whole careers perfecting, and it could certainly take a lot of time away from your other responsibilities just to get up to speed on the skills you’d need to craft and manage your brand. That’s not even to mention the time you’d spend actually taking care of that brand. It’s not something you can do on your own.
You could, of course, hire a team to take care of it for you. However, doing so isn’t so straightforward and may end up costing you more time and money in the long run. Bringing on new employees to handle your SEO, social media, or email list requires you to seek out new employees that have the qualifications you want, trusting that they’ll be hard workers that are as dedicated to your brand image as you are, and training and onboarding those employees. If you have turnover, you’ll have to start the process all over again putting up more time and money to do so.
Hiring a branding agency takes a lot of the risk out of creating such a team. The agency trains its own employees to be experts in managing a brand so that you don’t have to. Your relationship to the branding agency is that of a customer, meaning that the agency will have to work hard to keep you happy in order to keep your business.
Keep It Consistent
When crafting a brand, consistency is key, and consistency is what branding agencies are hired to do. They’ll be able to keep tabs on all of your marketing platforms and produce a uniform voice across all of them. Consistent branding will build trust and recognition among your viewers, and ensure that every interaction they have with your company reflects the high standard to which you’d like to be known.
They’ve Got Connections
A branding agency has resources that may not be available to you any other way. Many successful agencies have running lists of contacts that they have worked with, and they use these contacts to help promote your brand. These agencies have the means to run things more cohesively and efficiently than a small team starting out could, making them valuable allies to your company.
Since an established branding agency does branding for a living, they may know your target audience better than you do. Whether you’re branding for the first time or rebranding after a false start, a branding agency can help lend you a more customer-centric perspective that can guide your brand in the right direction.
What Are You Waiting For?
Your customers are out there, now’s your chance to woo them with a compelling brand that stands out from the crowd. With these big ideas, you’ll be well on your way to promoting your brand through a strong, cohesive internet presence that speaks to a rich and memorable image for your company. You’ll be amazed at what the right brand can do for your sales, and what using the right tools to promote it can do for your popularity.