What can you accomplish in 10 seconds?
What about 7 seconds? Probably less than you can in 10.
Well according to experts, 7-10 seconds is the amount of time to capture your online audience with your brand. As leaders in the web design and marketing business, we hear this term, branding, thrown out a lot, but unfortunately people often have misconceptions about what that means and what it entails.
What branding is NOT
This is something we hear all the time: “We don’t need help with branding; we just redesigned our logo.” While logos are important, slapping a logo on your marketing materials and website is not branding.
What is branding?
Think beyond the logo; branding is a piece of your marketing strategy, and when implemented effectively will evoke an emotion, a sense of understanding who you are to your audience. Effective branding gives you an edge over your competitors because, even at a few second visual glace, you’re telling people your promise to them; you’re sharing who are you and what you can offer someone. Your branding will let a potential customer know if you’re innovative or traditional; high-cost or affordable; reliable and trustworthy or the trailblazing novice with fresh ideas.
In order to develop a brand strategy, you need to figure out who you are as a company (or perhaps who you want to be). You need to know who your target customer is and all about their demographics, likes, dislikes, how they take their coffee…okay, maybe not, but you get the picture. Other topics you need to thoughtfully consider include your company mission, how you think people perceive your company, how you want others to view your company, and what value you add to consumers.
After this, you need a logo to kick everything off, and while it doesn’t need to be an intricate design, it should be professionally created with your branding in mind because your logo will set the tone for the rest of the pieces of the branding puzzle.
Branding is all about communication and connecting, and that happens through visual design and written content. Consistency of both mediums are essential for use among all channels, including your website, business cards, promotional materials, social media – any way that you’re putting yourself out there, you need visual and written consistency.
By putting effort into the beginning stages of your branding plan and working with professionals to develop and implement your plan, your business will benefit in the short and long run. Companies with strong branding have higher returns of investment, which is clear from big-names with careful branding like Nike, Apple, and Coca Cola.
Implement your brand
Okay, you have your branding strategy, now what?
- Work with your professional marketing and web design firm to design your logo and start your plan. Then publicize the heck out of it, putting it on all of your material.
- Rethink and refresh your web design: The biggest mistake companies make is getting complacent with their web design. Maybe they’ve had the same design for several years and think it’s doing just fine. Maybe they think their design is amazing when really they’re sending customers running to competitors within seconds. Take it to web design experts to audit your current site and present cutting edge alternatives.
- Create a voice: Along with beautiful, cutting edge web and marketing design, you need written content that matches your branding. A great writer will be able to match your branding and keep a consistent tone to all written material.
- Educate about your brand: Get everyone in your company on board by educating them about your new branding. Each employee needs to know your mission and attributes you wish to convey so they can communicate and exude that every day, from answering the phones to being able to give a solid elevator pitch.
- Consistency: Make sure you have consistency through all aspects of company communication. A great way to ensure this is to have various professionally-designed template that use the same colors, fonts, etc. of your existing branding.
Think beyond the logo and understand that a clear plan needs to be developed in order to maximize your success and build a strong reputation for your company. Visual design, images, written content, and consistency are the pillars to your branding strategy success.