If you've ever talked to a marketer before, you've probably heard them throw around the term “branding”. Along with words like “engagement”, “synergy” and “hashtag” it’s probably one of our favorite things to say to current and prospective clients. But what does it actually mean? And how can you apply it to your business?
“Branding” refers to the colors, logos, tag lines and overall character that belong to a particular product or service. By “branding” your company, you are creating essentially a trademark that defines who and what you are. Having a strong brand presence is important if you want your customers to be able to recognize your company when they see your advertising, your signs, your printed materials, and your website.
Here’s a few tips to keep your branding consistent throughout all the various ways you promote yourself.
- Have specific colors, fonts and graphics for your brand, and use only them. It’s easy to say, “My company uses the color blue”. We’re on the right track here, but the color blue can come in a variety of shades from navy to robin’s egg to “cerulean" and “blizzard”. Picking a specific color (with a specific number attached) and font, and insisting that they be used on all of your marketing materials, can help ensure a uniform presence.
- Say the same message. This one is pretty simple. Don’t publish a 20% off sale on your Facebook page, while an ad for $15 off a $50 purchase is running on a few websites. You can promote different products or services on different platforms, but make sure the messages meld together and don’t compete or else you’re going to get confusion among your customers (and headaches for your staff).
- Create your brand around your customers. This one can be a little tougher. Think about your prospective audience and what they may like and feel a connection with. As an example, a clothing line made for the beach, looks odd paired with a heavy, victorian font and dark colors. Your audience is fun, probably young and into the outdoors. Soft, fluid script that mirrors the ocean waves and light colors evoke a feeling of summer and sand with your potential patrons.
Branding may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up in a variety of styles and messaging as your explore what works best for your brand. Don’t be afraid of trying new things, but make sure you aren't losing who you are, and confusing your customers in the process.