Read these 14 Branding Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Entrepreneur tips and hundreds of other topics.
A favicon is the little image that appears next to the URL in the address bar. Having a unique, branded favicon makes your blog look that much more professional. There are lots of ways to add one to your website, but, at least for WordPress websites, I've found using the MaxBlogPress Favicon plugin to be the easiest. And, generating a favicon in the correct format is pretty easy, too. Just go to favicon.co.uk, upload the image you want to use as your favicon and follow the directions.
What is your brand's personality? Is it perky? understated? creative? professional? The colors and layout you choose for your website should help communicate your brand's personality. For example, I chose vibrant colors for my Marketing Turbo-Charge blog because I felt they expressed the "turbo-charge" nature of the information, along with my quirky personality. The Women's Business Gallery uses a more down-to-Earth color palette because it is much more "business" focused. Because I'm going with a "vamp" theme for WordPress ReVamp, I chose a sultry, simmering color combination. Get the picture?
When creating your brand, you’ll want to incorporate some visual cues that will help prospects and clients identify when something comes from you. Visual cue decisions you can make include:
Choose carefully and then stick to your decisions. Monitor the look and feel of all the things you do and keep the motif running through.
Your brand should be reinforced in every communication opportunity with your customer, from print to media to in-person contact. Your brand is the emotional context of what you have to offer and it is suggested through things such as your business name, your slogan, your tag line, your logo, your products, your packaging, your customer service ... every point of contact your business makes with the customer. This is why Disney is so precise about how their employees look and behave ... these details communicate brand. Your business may not need to communicate brand at this level, but you must not overlook the small things. Consider your options carefully and always keep in mind: "What does this say about my brand?"
What brands can you name without thinking about it? I'm willing to bet those brands had simple, easy-to-remember logos or jingles. Something like the "golden arches" of McDonald's or the red target of Target.
The key to making a brand memorable is to make it simple, clear and to-the-point. In a way, brands are archetypal, they speak to a basic core understanding within human nature.
Your brand should be what your business is all about boiled down to its most basic elements.
For example, Target's logo is red, so they've made all their branding communications red. You probably even recognize a commercial as being from Target before you even see the logo because of that basic element: red.
Another example is Nike. Their logo ... a simplified, softened and stylized check mark ... is so well known they don't even need to tie to their name, tag line or color anymore. And yet, that symbol still seems to communicate what Nike is all about.
What are the core elements of your business? Can you boil them down to a symbol, color or musical combination?
Brand is a nebulous characteristic ... hard to explain but easy to recognize. When I say, "Golden Arches" ... what do you think of? McDonald's has carefully crafted and nurtured that aspect of their brand. It is recognizable even without words. If I were to start humming the tune to "Sweet Georgia Brown" would you think of the Harlem Globe Trotters. Very likely ... they've made that their signature tune. Target practically owns the color red ... especially when its in a circle. When there's an emergency, who brings in the medical aid? Red Cross. Their reputation is a part of their brand. I hope you can see from these examples that brand can be communicated in numerous ways ... sight, sound and symbol. Keep this in mind as you build your brand.
A brand is anything that represents or becomes a symbol of a company or business. This includes the logo, tag line, slogan, catch phrase, jingle, colors and more. A brand is not just one thing; it is everything that is connected with the company. It is the images you display in your logo. It is the reputation behind the company. It is the taste or smell that is associated with your products.
For an entrepreneur, achieving a recognizable brand can be a critical goal. So, when developing your products, services and communications about them, always keep in mind the brand you want to develop. Since brand is everything a company is about, developing that brand should be first and foremost when starting a new business.
There are two ways to approach branding ... from the inside out and from the outside in. When you're just starting out, I recommend working from the inside out:
What are the core values of your business? How can you communicate these values through your products and services? How can you communicate these values through your customer service, product delivery and marketing?
If you are having a hard time finding the answers to these questions, ask the customers you've attracted so far. Conduct a simple survey and ask your customers what attracted them to your products, services and/or business.
Remember, your brand goes way beyond your logo and tag line. It is the ambiance that your entire business exudes. So, as you develop your brand, but sure that the core meaning of your brand is communicated all every prospect and customer touch point, from marketing to sales to customer service. Keep in mind always the perspective of your prospects and customers so that you can be sure to provide products and services that are consistent with the brand you are developing.
The best way to build brand loyalty is to consistently develop high quality products and services. But beyond that you should develop a brand personality ... think Apple. Mac fans are very loyal and it is the combination of distinctive personality and high quality and innovative products that keeps them coming back. How can you give your brand its own personality? Create a brand profile and describe it as if it were a person. Then when you think about creating a new product or service, ask yourself would this "brand person" do that?
Once you've developed your brand logo and tag line, use it with every communication your business puts out: letterhead, envelopes, business cards, emails, brochures, website ... all outgoing communications that represents your company to prospective and current clients. Your products should always carry your company logo. Your customer service reps should always repeat your slogan or catch phrase. Every communication piece should reinforce what your company is all about. You don't want customers to simply know you are there; you want them to think of you whenever they need something similar to your product. Something as simple as your logo on every advertisement or product can help reinforce your product or service in your customer's mind.
One way to set your brand apart from others is to have a signature vocalization or musical ditty that is associated with it. Think the T-Mobile tones or the yodeling "yahoo!" for Yahoo! You can use this audio cue in many ways:
• If you use teleseminars and other audio products in your business, get a signature tune and place it at the beginning and end of all your recorded audio.
• Develop a signature sound bite and use it whenever you have a speaking opportunity. Maybe it’s a way of communicating your core concept, or a catch phrase.
Audio cues can be:
Be creative. An audio cue that communicates your brand doesn’t have to be fancy … just consistent. The audio cue basically tells the listener in an instant that this belongs to this particular brand.
Your brand can have a look and it can have a sound. But when it comes right down to it, it is how your brand feels that usually ends up being the most important. How do you do this? By incorporating intangibles into your brand. Intangibles such as:
What intangibles can you fit into your brand?
You don't have to limit your website design and content to just static images and text. You can incorporate audio and video components to liven up your website. It is better to know you are going to do this up-front, however, so that you can work these elements seamlessly into your design. Podcats and Videocasts are one option, but you can also post interesting video from YouTube, as well.