Your brand reflects your identity as a company. As such every business or personality needs to get its branding right, to attract the required attention, market and value it needs. What are you doing to make yours stand out?
It’s often said that you need to get your ad in front of customers seven times for them to pay attention to it. But as marketing practices continue to evolve in the digital age, this old rule may no longer be relevant. It does, however, underscore how difficult getting noticed can be at times.
Your brand reflects your identity as a company. That’s why you want it to convey a sense of who you are and what you do. And, most of all, you want it to be seen by the right people.
Here are several elements you can use to get your branding noticed.
1. Distinct logo
Your logo is the main visual representation of your company’s branding. The first thing to check is whether your business name resonates with your target audience or not. If not, you’ll end up having to re-brand later, so be 100 percent sure the first time.
A surface-level study of color psychology is also worthwhile. Colors are subject to personal bias, so they don’t mean the same thing to everyone, but there are certain associations we tend to make. Yellow conveys optimism, clarity and warmth, while blue projects trust, dependability and strength. Being aware of these triggers can help you create a logo that sends the right signals to your leads and customers.
For example, if we go through the rainbow of colors, McDonald’s claims yellow for its recognizable “M.” Fanta is known for its orange soda cans, and Coca-Cola for red. Yahoo!’s logo uses only purple in its design to signify creativity and imagination. You can probably recall and then distinguish Facebook’s particular blue from Twitter’s shade without looking either of them up. John Deere’s use of green is representative of its resource as a landscaping brand.
Font choice is another major consideration. Serif fonts denote trust. Sans-serif fonts engender reliability and honesty. The shape of your logo can also play a part in the impressions your customers receive.
Finally, there’s design. Unless you have a highly skilled designer or illustrator on your team, you should hire a professional or utilize a service, like 99designs. To be fair, design tools are getting better and easier to use so you might also consider the use of an online logo maker, for prototyping if nothing else. Flat design is still the trend right now, so don’t go in the “realistic direction” unless you have a good reason to do so.
Companies like QuickSprout, WordStream and Leadpages all showcase simple flat designs that are attractive and straightforward.
2. Marketing collateral
Stationery, brochures, flyers, mugs, USB chargers . . . these and other marketing items all play a part in getting your brand noticed, especially since your prospects and customers will be interacting with them directly.
The same principles that apply to your logo also apply to your marketing collateral. Another major consideration is imagery. If you understand your target audience well, picking the right images should be a straightforward process. A lot of companies, however, get this wrong.
If you’re trying to appeal to millennials, for example, your imagery should convey fun, speed, excitement, action and change. The “instant gratification” generation doesn’t like cumbersome processes or hard-to-use products. Everything is “now, now, now.”
Brands like activewear producer Lululemon give out a free branded bag during promotional seasons or an exclusive purchase. Tom’s shoes provides a branded show bag and postcard with every purchase.
Another important point is layout. If there’s someone on your team with an eye for layout, he or she could might your brochures and flyers more effective. So, research examples, make note of what you like and don’t like and work with a professional if you aren’t sure.
In addition, if yours is a company with personality, don’t forget to have fun. Use a service like Sticker Mule, which makes stickers and labels, to put together materials that will turn your loyal customers into walking billboards for you.
3. Influencer marketing
Cooperating with influencers in your industry can lead to valuable and widespread exposure. As reported by the Adweek blog SocialTimes, 75 percent of marketers are using influencer marketing.
The key is to find active influencers that resonate with your brand. That seems like common sense, but if customers don’t know who you are, and they aren’t sure how good your product is, they have no reason to support you. But if they like what you’re doing, you may not even have to convince them to retweet your content.
Influencers can lend credibility to your brand. You can interview them or collaborate on a piece of content, such as a video, which gets your business and products noticed. Find a strategy that makes sense for your brand, and for the influencer in question.
4. Website design
In most cases, your website design will be an extension of your logo. Everything you’ve thought about in terms of color, font, shape and imagery with regards to your logo and marketing collateral should all play a part in the formation of your most valuable online marketing asset.
But, today, functionality and ease of use are more important for SEO and users than ever before. Cutting-edge, ultramodern designs should be avoided unless you are already a well-recognized brand, or if those designs somehow tie in with one of your strategies or campaigns.
In some ways, avoiding these modern designs makes it hard to stand out. But there are plenty of badly designed, or otherwise average-looking websites out there. Simply taking the time and care to create a beautiful, unencumbered layout can do wonders for your branding. Just look at the online publishing platform Medium. Your website doesn’t need to be complicated to look good. And when it comes to content, the fewer the distractions, and the cleaner the design, the better.
Again, hire professional help if it all possible. Have a look at We Make Websites, particularly if you’re running an ecommerce business.
5. Email marketing
How do you get in front of your leads and customers on a regular, ongoing basis? How do you ensure brand visibility in a noisy online world?
The answer is email marketing. It enables you to build a long-term relationship with subscribers; if you’re regularly delivering the content they want and need, they’ll be dying to hear from you every week.
Building a strong email list is getting tougher by the day. An ebook offer in the sidebar might get you a few conversions, but people are so used to seeing it that they might tune it out completely.
Today, a more thoughtful approach is needed. For example, content upgrades that are relevant to the posts and pages your website visitors are scanning will convert much better than a catch-all offer. You can be as aggressive as you want with collecting email addresses, assuming you aren’t breaking any laws; but know that quality email lists aren’t built on shady tactics.
Your branding will factor into your success as a company. That’s why you need to get it right. When you have an attractive brand, people will begin to associate positive feelings with it. Then it becomes easier to draw them in and keep them engaged.
Remember to deliver on your promises, as this will keep customer sentiments positive, and contribute to the longevity of your business.
Thomas Smale co-founded FE International in 2010, growing the business with zero funds from scratch to a seven-figure-a-year business. Specializing in advising and brokering the sale of established websites and online businesses, FE International has completed over 400 transactions. Smale has been interviewed on podcasts, blogs and also spoken at a number of industry events on online businesses, exit strategy and selling businesses.