Let’s talk branding:
A “brand” is the way your business is perceived by the majority. Because this includes pretty much every aspect of your business, it’s incredibly important. From our experience, here’s a list of 10 tips that will help you build a brand you love.
What kind of things does your business offer (aside from just a product)? How do you want your business to make your audience feel? With that, you’re going to want to define your ideal customer.
Think about your customer as a single person (this is called a customer persona): How old are they? What is their job? What is their level of education? Where do they live/work? What is their relationship status? Answering these questions will help you figure out who you should be targeting when making decisions for your business.
Your mission statement is a large part of your brand, since all actions you take will reflect it. A mission statement can be anything, but it should clearly indicate what your business promises to do for your customers.
Rather than a surface-level statement like “we sell shoes,” a mission statement should have a deeper meaning, like “helping you take the next step forward.” Make sure your mission statement is clearly visible on your website and is also evident on your social media pages.
Consistency in your marketing messages is absolutely essential for branding. This is pretty self explanatory, but if you’re being consistent in all that you do, you’re on the right track.
This means that every time you make a social media post, add a new product, or email a customer, you should follow a consistent method. Your customer will see your business similar to a single person, and your brand will reflect who that person is. You want to make sure that if your name was taken off of whatever you create, your audience would still know that it’s your business.
Although consistency is super important, you want to make sure that you’re not just making the same posts over and over again. Make sure the messages you convey to your audience cover a large variety of topics.
For example, you can talk about services you provide in one post, a tip for your audience in another, and a behind the scenes look at your processes in the next. Instead of sticking to just one thing, convey several messages over a certain timespan.
There’s nothing more uncomfortable when you see a startup that deliberately copies a bigger brand. There comes a point when it’s not just inspiration and it’s a straight replica. Make sure you’re avoiding this at all times.
That being said, it’s good to get inspiration from bigger brands, as long as you don’t overdo it. Marketing and branding in general is all about taking the best ideas and making them your own. People love uniqueness and finding something they’ve never seen before.
In everything you create on behalf of your business, you should try to incorporate your brand’s logo. The best way to approach this is to create several variations of your logo that can be used on different things. If your logo includes words and a little graphic, you’ll want to have versions that contain only one or the other.
For example, the Fresh Fuel logo contains our agency name as well as our mascot, the funky goat. We have versions available in multiple colors for readability, plus variations that have only the agency name or brand icon. Versatility is essential!
Hashtags can bring our business lots of outside followers, but you want to focus on the community you already have as well. Creating a hashtag that is unique and specific to your brand will encourage your followers to do the same.
This is a good way to not only recognize your followers, but it also creates a community for your audience to interact with one another.
When you create new things as a business, you want to make sure it incorporates the same colors and fonts as you’ve used previously. A good idea is to choose colors and fonts in advance and stick to just those in all of your social media posts.
Fresh Fuel typically uses two main fonts (Raleway and Roboto Condensed) and a few shades of yellow, purple, black, and white.
Most people understand the colors part of branding, but one often-forgotten part is the brand’s voice. This is how you’re going to talk to others when you’re speaking on behalf of your business. Some examples of a brand voice are informational, excited, stern, bold, and much more.
Fresh Fuel uses a casual, optimistic, and slightly sarcastic tone.
I like to recommend that twice per year a business should evaluate their current brand and see if it’s still relevant to society as a whole. As you may have noticed, many businesses have transitioned to modern visuals, even as far as updating the look of their headquarters or stores.
Rarely does your brand need to do a complete 180 with your colors and voice, but little tweaks twice per year will ensure that everything is up to date.
If you plan in advance, branding is not as difficult as it may seem. Once you establish how you want your business to be viewed by outsiders, you should be able to make decisions guided by your answer. Don’t stress too much about your brand– as long as it’s unique and special to you, you’re doing it right!