Branding, properly undertaken, can require a lot of time and effort and that might be why a lot of businesses leave it off their “wish list.” Whether you plan to coordinate it all internally, or hire someone else to do the leg work for you, it’s probably helpful to get guidance from someone who specializes in branding, since they know the questions to ask and they are quite often experts in graphic design, which is a key element of your brand expression.
The assistance will be helpful because your brand requires you to get clear on:
- Your ideal customer
- Your company’s values
- Your company’s “personality”
- Your vision for your company
- The issues that differentiate your company from your competition
- The main benefits of your products or services
- The ways in which you are better than other companies
- The ways in which other companies are better than you
- The things other companies are doing that you could do be doing too –with your own “twist”
- The areas of excellence that you don’t tell people about
- Your customer’s values
- The products or services that you want to grow
- The products or services that you should consider dropping
- The products or services your customers love
- The products or services your customers don’t care about
- The aspects of your business that your customers love
- The aspects of your business that your customers wish you would improve
- What you could do to improve your marketing
- The visual imagery that is likely to appeal to your ideal customers
- A lot more other stuff as well
Whew! That’s a lot of information to accumulate, analyse and summarize and it’s easy to get lost in detail. The point of acquiring all that information is so that you can package it up into marketing materials—your logo, your website, your brochures, your online content and anything your company produces to speak for it—that will immediately appeal to your ideal customers and help your brand’s reputation.
If you haven’t looked into all of these issues and came up with a brand that appeals directly to your ideal clients or customers, there is a good chance that you are all over the map in the way you express your company’s value proposition. Here are some of the things that I often see in my work with small businesses:
- There are half a dozen different versions of the company logo floating around on the company’s marketing documents…and the human brain reads inconsistency as unreliability
- Marketing materials were not designed to fit together, so the product brochures look different from the website, which looks different from conference and trade show materials, which looks different from the letterhead, which looks different from the white paper…and the human brain reads inconsistency as unreliability
- Marketing materials talk about the features of a product or service but the benefits (if they are mentioned at all) don’t support the needs of the ideal customer
- Images don’t seem to relate to the needs of interests of the target audience
It’s not the end of the world when this happens—it’s often a pretty common result of the fact that the leadership of a company has been focused on generating revenue the best way it knows how and they’ve been able to do that without worrying about their brand. But there’s no doubt that consistency is important in revenue generation, at all levels, and it’s worth investing in a branding program in order to avoid investing valuable marketing dollars in projects that your target audience won’t care about.
If you would like to connect with me to find out more about how Crossman Communications can help you tell your business story through your online content, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re in a hurry, book yay for a free consultation at www.meetme.so/susancrossman.