What does the word branding mean to you? For many it just means a company logo. While that may be an important factor for businesses, it’s far from the whole picture.
The two keys to branding are recognisability and consistency. Why are these two things important? For the same reason you think of a specific brand when you want to buy a computer, or insurance or food.
Branding is how we view a company and how we remember it. Though it’s more than just appearance, this is a big part of it because of the speed our brains take in visual information in comparison to other types of information.
It’s important to tap into that instant recognisability particularly because of our ever shrinking attention spans. We want information to be instant and a brand will tell us a lot, or at least enough to stop us in passing and make us look a little more closely.
In order to be recognisable, you have to be consistent. Offering consistency implies reliability and encourages confidence in your business.
There’s no good changing the appearance of your brand whenever you get bored. No matter how bored you are with it, your potential customers will get bored much faster if you keep messing around with your website.
Look at your favourite brands and companies and their colour schemes. You’ll find that most brands will only have a couple of colours that they use. Don’t go overboard with yours. If you do, you’ll be memorable but you might also be headache-inducing.
Bright colours are fine if that is your style but balance them out with more neutral colours too. If your logo and branding is screaming for attention it might end up distracting people from actually reading your content.
Make sure you remember the colour codes so that you can apply that across all your marketing materials. Having different shades of the same colour for your logo and then your titles will just look unprofessional.
Make sure your content is formatted in a way that is easy to read. No one likes big blocks of text because people mostly just skim read anyway. Make sure you’re leaving plenty of white space or people will take one look at your website and run.
Choose a standard font that you use across your website and any paper materials that you have. Changing your font or text size in every blog post you do will make you look sloppy and untidy.
The best option here is to buy some high quality stock images. However, you might want to take your own to inject a little more personality and creativity into your website. Make sure they’re good photos, bad quality images will make you look too cheap to buy stock images or just plain unprofessional.
It’s probably best to hire a graphic designer to create a logo for you unless you feel comfortable doing it yourself. Give them the colour codes for your website and make sure that the logo is eye-catching but appropriate for your business. It’ll probably be the first thing that people see and it needs to reflect your brand’s personality.
Online content is increasingly more important these days. It is essential for businesses not only to be online, but to be active and engaging. One way businesses do this is by focusing on online content, blog posts and social media in particular.
When building online content, special attention needs to be paid to tone of voice, language used and the overall purpose of the content. It’s important that online content is regularly contributed to, but that’s not to say that just anything should be thrown up on the website. Special attention needs to be paid to quality content that people will want to share with others.
Voice and language
Your online copy should have a voice that you apply across your website. When writing copy or blog posts, make sure your voice is consistent and try to avoid coming across as too formal and stiff. Try to write like you’re having a conversation with the reader. It will feel more personal and therefore genuine. Similarly, apply the same voice to your social media profiles.
Be wary of colloquialisms that people are unlikely to understand outside your local area. That doesn’t mean you have to speak in strict Standard English, you can have abbreviations and popular phrases but make sure they are understood outside of your local area. If you’re doing international business, try not to use phrases that would be potentially inflammatory or confusing.
The importance of knowing your audience
Your brand should reflect your company of course but it should also be tailored for your audience because they’re the ones you’re selling to after all.
A recent study from Attest of 2,000 UK adults between the ages of 18-75 found that 25% felt that brands did not represent them well. Of this number, 82% felt they were not well represented and were ignored by labels.