Business Branding 101
The American Marketing Association (AMA) defines a brand as a "name, term, sign, symbol or design, or a combination of them intended to identify the goods and services of one seller or group of sellers and to differentiate them from those of other sellers."
As a graphic designer, I all too often see businesses that have such amazing items to offer, but their business is seriously struggling due to their lack of a cohesive business brand. For example, they will have different images for their business across different sites such as Etsy, Facebook, and Twitter. If your business looks unprofessional then your customers and clients will think that your customer service, and potentially your product, is unprofessional or low quality. That is why having a professional cohesive look and brand to your business across the board is vital.
Here are four tips to give your business a brand that others will easily recognize:
Use a consistent logo and/or images to represent your business. For me, I use the logo you see on the top of this blog and a set of cohesive images on everything from Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, my business card.... I mean on everything! All of my avatars and profile pictures are the same to keep it consistent.
2. Professional Look
Does the look of your business appeal to a specific niche of people or to a broader customer base? The more customers that your brand appeals to means the more sales you will have. I am not saying that you must hire a professional designer to create your logo and other graphics in order to be successful, but I am saying you need to have a professional look.
3. Professional Tone
When you write an email or post a status update on Facebook, how does it sound? Are you using slang or bad grammar? Nothing turns me off to a business faster than an unprofessional tone. If grammar isn't your strong suit, then write the post in Word first to do a spell and grammar check.
4. Customer Service
You may be asking, “Leesa, how is customer service part of my brand?” Your brand is more than just how your business looks, it’s how your business feels. While your image will help drive customers to you, your customer service is what is going to close that sale and bring them back for a future sale. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have great customer service. One unhappy customer is more powerful than 100 happy ones. Word of mouth is a huge factor in business, so make sure that your customers and clients are singing your praises.
Before you start thinking about the image of your business, first think about how you want to be perceived, what sets you apart from the rest, and how your business is different. You need to answer these questions before you can create that true brand and look of your business. Make sure that your brand reflects not only what you're selling, but what people want.
Do you have a cohesive, well-designed brand? If so, what are some of the main benefits that you see from it?