Branding is when you create an identity for your business and consistently use that same look to represent your company and everything you put your name on. To put it simply, it is the way you are perceived by others. Branding should start with a good versatile logo that can be used across all marketing mediums. But, your branding efforts should not stop there. A tagline or message, fonts,color scheme, and the style of graphics that you use along with your logo are all also part of your brand and should be established in a brand standards or guidelines document.
Portray the Correct Image
Your brand should sum up your business in a nutshell. If your business is a fancy restaurant make sure the fonts you use are elegant and the colors are not bright and poppy, but classy and tasteful. Your logo should be ornate and simple. If your business is a daycare you might consider kid friendly thick fonts, bright colors and a cartoony fun logo. You get the point.
Whatever your image, your brand should be professionally designed. It is worth the investment and some companies (I happen to know one) are more affordable than you might think. It is a big step and a very important one at that so make sure it is done right.
Take pride in your brand
Once you have branded your business be sure to show it off everywhere. Since most businesses are on a budget you will most likely have to work on this over time. Start with the most important stuff like your website, social media,e-newsletters, business cards, brochures or rack cards and exterior and interior signage for your location. Depending on your business there may be other essentials like letterheads, menus or apparel.
Make sure you integrate your brand in everything you do. Make sure the look and feel you created is in how you dress, how you and your employees communicate, how you have decorated your business space, and even in your e-mail signature.
Don’t Go Too Crazy
There are limitless ways to market your brand. Just be mindful in using solutions where you will see a return on your investment or it is something you will use often. Plus, only put your logo where it makes the most sense for your company. As an example: If you are a dog groomer and you want something fun to hand out to potential customers you might consider a Frisbee with your logo on it that can be tossed to a dog. But, if you are beauty salon you might want to pass on Frisbees and go with a neat little travel mirror instead. You should be proud of your brand and you may have the urge to stamp it everywhere but there is a time and a place for everything. Right?
You’re in Control
Here is another tip when spreading your brand to the masses. Don’t be afraid to give your branding guidelines to the newspaper staff,billboard companies, web designers, and other marketing “gurus” you encounter.Often times these advertising outlets when left to their own devices will not pay attention to your brand on their own and you will end up with something that does not look like it matches your business at all.
Lastly,remember the biggest key to an effective brand… stay consistent.