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 a distinct one. 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 complicated. 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 envision them.) 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 another company doesn’t already protect them. Many businesses hire professionals to create their logos, which is the right 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 approach 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 guide can be used to define appropriate uses of the company’s logo, signature brand colors and even fonts to use 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.