Branding is a tricky thing to define. There are a mix of opinions, but essentially it’s all about conveying who you are and what you do to other people in the most effective way possible. I often say that it’s the perceptions, emotions, memories and experiences (the Design Council calls these Associations which is much neater way to put it!) that people have of your business – even when you’re not there. A bit like the Marley of business – thinking about how you come across in the past, the present and the future. This isn’t just visually – how your business looks is a BIG part of branding, but it’s also down to things such as your copy, the way you talk to people, the experience you provide… it’s about curating how your business comes across to others at each possible moment.
Being aware of this means that you can do something about all of those aspects and do your best to ensure that people get what your business is all about and won’t be confused or frustrated by inconsistent messaging.
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Aside from the points I’ve already made – why should you pay attention to branding?
Experience. I mentioned this briefly above. Branding is all about the experience – the way your business makes people feel. Does the experience of buying from you, interacting on social media, being on your list, returning products or scrolling through your website make people feel good? If you know your values then you should use all of these opportunities to help people get a grasp on what your business is all about and ensure that the experiences they have either as a buyer – or not – help them to get the right impression of you. Which brings me to….
Impression. People are judgemental. We can’t help it. You’ve done it haven’t you, where you see someone on the street and you go “what are they wearing?!”, it’s as though it’s inbuilt. This works with everything. People will judge your business cards, your website, your van, your social media graphics, your leaflets… so they’d better be good! The fact is that if your branding is consistent, well done and clearly thought through then you’ll look more professional. When you look more professional people trust you more and see you as being really good at what you do. If your branding is hotch potch and just not all that good, then you will be perceived as having less credibility. So consider how you can create the best impression on everything you have.
Intention. It’s not long since I blogged about this – being intentional is crucial to help you with that good impression. If you set your intentions, knowing what you want, who you want to reach and why you do what you do, then you will have much more success with your brand identity. Grab a worksheet here to help you get brand clarity.
Memorable. Branding helps you to stay front and centre in peoples minds. If they see a post from you then they’ll say “O! That’s such and such” without having to read your business name. You may or may not become as much of a household name as Google, but if you’re consistent in your application then you’ll be memorable. So use your brand colours, every time. Use your fonts, over and over. Make sure that your brand identity is recognisable as you on each piece you create and people will recognise you.
Standing out. Branding helps you to stand out. Your visual image will leap out at people, but more than that, it’s also about standing out from the competition. Showing what makes you different, what makes you better, what makes you the only possible option for them. Branding helps people to develop associations with your business, associations which you can be in control of.
Speed. You don’t have long to make an impact. Say someone lands on your website, you have 10, maybe 15 seconds to make them stay. That’s it. So how are you going to convince people that it’s worth hanging about? Are they going to have time to read about you or watch a video in that time? Nope. So you need to ensure that your website is enticing enough visually to get them to hang around a bit longer so that they read that blog post or watch that video or check out the items in your shop. If they don’t feel motivated to stick around then they’re gone. Poof. And whilst you can of course recapture them using Facebook Ads for example, if they didn’t stick about the first time, who says they’re going to be interested the second time around?
So you need branding to help you set your intentions, communicate them quickly to create the right impression and experience, be memorable and to stand out. In other words – so that more people will notice you, like you, pay attention to you and buy from you.
What do you need to work on?
Amy Purdie is the founder of Whiteacres (where you are now) she can help your business become irresistible to your ideal clients so that they can’t wait to work with you.
Amy has been enjoying designing logos, brand identities, illustration, print work and websites – since 2007 fuelled mainly by tea and chocolate.