Branding

Successful branding is more than a logo

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Branding involves much more than putting your logo on a business card or flyer. While logos are important, they represent only a small part of the entire brand. Successful branding is controlling how customers perceive you and finding unique ways to make your products and services more recognizable. If you sell products, your packaging is a part of your brand. Similarly, the design of a restaurant and the visual merchandising in a store both define a brand. As a business, you are responsible for every detail of your customers’ experience and shaping what they think of you.

Design the perfect logo

Logos are crucial and every business needs one that is distinct. Some comprise of graphics, some of text and others as a combination of both. They help customers easily recognize a company on packaging, signage and various marketing collateral. Though logos should be unique, they do not have to be incredibly extravagant or complex. For example, Apple’s logo is merely a symbol of a bitten apple. Disney’s is only text, but with a trademarked, identifiable font. (Even without showing them here, you can probably remember what they look like.) When creating the “perfect” logo, make sure it is professional, legible and timeless. If your logo involves multiple colors, create a solid-color version for black and white applications. Avoid trademark and copyright issues by researching design ideas and making sure they aren’t already protected by another company. Many businesses hire professionals to create their logos, which is a good decision if you have no idea what you’re doing.

Develop your voice

Branding is more than meets the eye. Another important factor is a distinct and consistent voice. Is your tone bold and witty or formal and serious? Whatever your voice is, stick with it. Use it consistently, from email marketing to your social media presence. It’s acceptable to mix it up sometimes; you don’t always have to be serious. Do it in a strategic way that remains reflective of the brand and won’t negatively shock your customers. Make it easy to love you. Get personal. Your voice should be welcoming, engaging and trustworthy, thus enhancing customers’ experiences and promoting your products.

Get to know your customers

Your brand doesn’t just shape who your customers are; your customers also shape what your brand is. Knowing your client base helps you better understand how to market to them, as well as help define your brand’s voice. Listen to your customers to know what they want and to augment your products and services. Also listen to them to learn what they think of your brand as a whole. If we’ve defined branding as strategizing how customers perceive you, it’s imperative to study your results. This will help foster brand loyalty and longevity.

Manage your brand

Managing a brand is an ongoing process. As your business grows, your voice may evolve and your customer base may shift. Still, the goal remains: shaping customers’ feelings about your company. To maintain consistency, create a brand guide to which you and your employees refer. This can be used to define appropriate uses of the company’s logo, signature brand colors and even fonts that should be used on all communications. Update it periodically to address the brand’s evolution and new trends. It’s also beneficial to use social media to monitor what your customers say about you.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to research what your competitors are doing. Study everything from their packaging to how they interact with their customers. Following this method, you can learn what works and why it works. Don’t just stop at designing a beautiful logo. Consider every detail of your brand and plan accordingly. You have the power to design your customers’ experiences.

For seven years, Gordon Media Company has been helping brands find their voice, refine their image and get to know their customers. If you’re ready to make this investment for your business, contact us here.

Why and how to purchase a custom domain for your business

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The second you decide on a name for your business, you should purchase the corresponding domain for your website. They are inexpensive, easy to buy and one of the simplest ways to brand your business.

What is a domain?

A domain is your address on the web, just like you have an address for your home. For example: yourbusiness.com. The .com is called an extension and there are hundreds of others to choose from, including but not limited to .net, .org, and .us.

A domain is not the same as the website

If comparing your domain to your home address, then your website is the actual “home” that your webpages and content live in. To build the website, you have to purchase hosting from a web host. The host provides you space on the web to hold your website files, which can then be viewed by anyone who visits your web address.

So, why should you purchase a domain?

Having a custom domain is one of the simplest and least expensive tools of branding your business. It is a badge of professionalism and says that you want to be taken seriously. When conducting business, the web address gordonmediaco.com carries much more weight than gordonmediaco.notmydomain.com. You can also configure your domain with an email provider to receive messages at an address like [email protected] rather than [email protected]

How to buy one

Domains are purchased through a registrar and the process is very simple. A few popular registrars include GoDaddy, Google Domains and 1&1. Each registrar has an automated system that tells you the availability of your desired name. Domains are registered in year terms, starting with a minimum of one year. Average costs are $12 to $25 annually.

Protecting your privacy

When purchasing a domain, you are required to provide the registrar with contact information for yourself or your business, including phone number, address and email. By default, this information will be public in domain lookup databases. However, for a small additional cost, registrars offer something “private registration,” which hides this information. Google Domains (our favorite) is one of few to offer free private registration. This service is ideal for preventing spam in your inbox.

A few last tips

A custom domain is an important step in branding a business. After deciding on a company name, read reviews and research costs to find the best registrar for your needs. When you are ready to build your website, again do research to find the best host. Many domain registrar companies also offer hosting services, though you do not have to use the same company for both services.

Try to keep your domain name short and memorable. Also, be unique—it will make it easier for customers to find you in search engines. And lastly, make sure no one else has trademarked your business name. A good place to start begin your search is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, though this should not be the only place you look.