You need to prove to people that your identity actually means something.

Your branding is about far more than just slogans and logos. It’s also about the promises (implicit or explicit) that you make about your business, concerning everything from the rates you charge to the flexibility of your operation — and living up to those promises is utterly essential if you want to be taken seriously. Fail, and you’ll be broadly dismissed.

Simply delivering on your promises isn’t enough, though: you also need to ensure that people know about it. Secret successes can bolster team morale, but they won’t earn you any new clients or improve your brand image. This is one of the biggest reasons why big companies invest so extensively in their PR representation.

So when I use the word visible here, that’s what I mean: finding ways to make it clear to those who follow you that your brand actually means something real. In this post, we’re going to identify five ways to do this, so let’s get to them:

Keep your designs consistent

Consistency is one of the promises that must underpin everything else, because who wants to work with a company that may deliver good work or terrible work? And instead of waiting to show that consistency in what you deliver for your clients, you should show it through all the designs you allow the world to see: all your marketing materials, websites, and apps.

You should have a font (or small set of fonts) that people can associate with you, a slogan that follows your brand everywhere, and a colour scheme to make everything align everything visually. If you don’t have brand guidelines yet, make it a priority to create some.

Give your employees perks

Every ambitious brand needs to attract talented employees, and key to this is being known as a generous employer. It’s also becoming increasingly important to emphasise the goodness of your brand (more on this later), showing that you’re not only effective but also worthy of support, and treating your employees well can really help with this.

Offering a competitive salary is great, of course, but to get attention you need to go for notable perks. Consider things like additional health provisions, childcare support, and gym funding (Unum has a great list of in-demand benefits). You also need to ensure that the basics are covered, of course, including all costs and difficulties stemming from your daily workloads.

For example, if you require your employees to do a lot of driving, you should not only cover their fuel costs but also make it as easy as possible to pay by issuing fuel cards (iCompario has a handy guide). And if they’re all doing a lot of heavy lifting and developing aches and strains, why not pay for regular massages through a business like The Pamper Company? Not only will it lift morale, but it will also help minimize sick days.

Be friendly on social media

People find it hard to trust faceless corporations because they don’t know what such entities actually want (beyond profit), and any further suggestions can easily seem manipulative. A statement like “We care about your happiness” may come across as comical, for instance. So how do you convince them that your brand isn’t just about making money?

Well, you show humanity and personality, and one of the best ways to do this is to get active on social media and start engaging with your followers. Really talk to people: ask them how they are, talk about how you are, and offer insight into the behind-the-scenes working of your business. Get it right, and people will start to believe that your brand isn’t just hot air.

Provide real price comparisons

Plenty of brands focus on competitive pricing in their marketing and mission statements: think about John Lewis and its enduring Never Knowingly Undersold statement. But much of the time, it doesn’t seem to mean anything. It’s akin to seeing a sale described as “up to 60% off” and knowing that the average discount is likely to be about 2%: empty words, essentially.

This is where truly-indicative price comparisons become extremely useful. By finding opportunities on your website and through your social media activity to provide meaningful comparisons between your products and those of your competitors, you can prove that your pricing promise is legitimate. For instance, you could Tweet about lowering a particular cost by 25% to beat the average market price of the item (instead of just expecting people to notice).

Take part in charity events

As noted earlier, being worthy of support is a big deal for today’s brands, because people want to buy from brands they find likeable and commendable. So what efforts can display these qualities? The most enduring is probably charity because it shows two things at once: that a company is invested in making the world a better place, and that it’s willing to sacrifice profit when it deems it justified.

Charity events are fantastic for supporting charities, obviously, but they’re also great for PR — and this doesn’t need to be viewed with cynicism, because it’s a harmless win-win. Given the amount of attention charity events get, some key appearances and instances of support can radically transform how a brand is viewed.

Not only do you need to give your brand an identity that goes beyond basic aesthetics, but you also need to prove to people that said identity actually means something. Using the tactics we’ve looked at here, you can do just that.

Stevie Nicks is Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine – a website that covers the topics you care about. You’ll find articles about lifestyle, travel, fashion, trends and relationships on our site – each of which is written in our unique style.

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