In our world, the world of marketing and branding, sometimes it feels like we are preaching the same things over and over and over….. and OVER again. It feels repetitive, and we worry that we may be belaboring the point.
But then we remember: in marketing and branding, you can NEVER belabor the point. Why? Because so many people do it wrong!
It’s 2017, and a few things should be obvious:
- If you have ANY long-term aspirations for your brand, you MUST have an online presence.
- Fonts, colors, and logos MATTER- brand-loyalty and brand-recognition are indeed, real things.
- Websites. Have one. A GOOD one, That serves your Purpose.
If you read elsewhere on this blog, you’ll see us talk about each of these points extensively. Yet people come to us saying, “Alex, we read your blog posts! Great information!”. Once we begin to discuss their business, we see that even though we’ve given them the roadmap, they still make a lot of the mistakes that our blog sets out to destroy.
Maybe it’s just that they have the knowledge but lack the execution. Or maybe they don’t believe that their lack of focus on branding or their web presence will cripple them in the long run. Or maybe they just don’t trust us to know what the hell we’re talking about. Either way, our purpose is still the same: help people take their brands to the next level with simple, actionable steps to strengthen their branding and marketing efforts.
That said, today we’re going to talk about how you can enhance your brand so that it further serves the purpose of growing your business.
Maybe you already have a brand book and just need to refresh your story. Or maybe you’re starting from scratch and need some steps to help you get started. Either way, we’re here to help.
Focus on these five things, and your brand (and web-presence) will improve dramatically. If you’re stuck in a slump and business is slow, or you just want to give your brand a facelift, then you came to the right place.
Here’s how to strengthen your brand and, in turn, grow your business:
1. Improve Your Logo.
Before you do anything, the first step in enhancing your brand is to audit your logo- as well as the fonts and colors associated with your brand. You may even need to look at your name, to make sure it’s unforgettable and serves your brand’s overall purpose.
Logos are a tricky phenomenon- there’s no ‘correct’ way to create a logo, and what looks good to you may not look good to your audience. It may look great to you and your audience, but it may not be appropriate for your industry or the message you’re trying to convey. But you know what they say: “nothing worth having comes easy”.
If you want a strong brand that leaves an impression on your audience, you need to invest heavily in the visual appeal of your brand. Much like you can tell a lot about someone when you first meet them by their choice of shoes, your logo sends a message to your audience as well. Some logos say “you can trust us” while others say “we don’t even care enough to invest in our brand; why would we care about you?”. You’d much rather be the former than the latter, I assure you.
It’s all about psychology- certain colors, fonts, and images send messages to an audience, and that audience interprets that message subconsciously. Even toddlers recognize brand logos and can deduce from it what the brand does! This is why it is important to design a great logo that speaks to your brand’s purpose, that sends the desired message, and that radiates trust and credibility.
2. Enhance Your Web Presence.
Once you’ve audited your logo (and overall brand look/feel), you want to head straight to your website and audit that as well. The look, feel, and messaging of your website should connect well with what your logo and brand-appearance says. This may include needing to make changes to the copy and content on your website. you may need to update the site’s fonts and colors as well. Learn how to audit your website here.
The important thing with your website is ensuring that each page looks like it belongs to YOUR brand. The colors should be the same, the fonts should be the same, and the tone of the messaging should match every page on the site. Your visitors should be able to tell it’s your site without looking at your brand name or the URL. This step is all about cohesiveness, making it so that your brand book is felt throughout the site and that everything works together to convey the same message to your audience.
This is arguably the most important step in strengthening your brand. Why? Because while you’re on vacation, or sleeping at night, or on the golf course, your website is working. There is no ‘open’ or ‘closed’ sign on your website, and you never know who is visiting you. Making sure that your brand and your website are on the same page (literally) will do wonders for your business.
3. Tell Your Story.
While we’ve mostly talked about aesthetics so far (the way your website and brand looks and feels), this step is actually much deeper.
The internet has made it so that businesses are competing on a global scale. The world is smaller than ever before, and that makes for a lot of competition. Don’t believe me? I just Google’d “shoelace tip maker” and received over 348,000 results trying to sell me the tips of shoelaces. Like I said, competition has never been so high.
But don’t fret, my friend. This is where we differentiate you from everyone else.
To enhance your brand, you need to make sure your brand tells your story. There are a million accountants out there, just like there are a million landscaping companies, just like there are a million e-commerce companies. What makes each and every company different is their story! No two stories are the same, and the best way to gain a unique, competitive advantage is to relay that story to your audience.
So what is a brand story? It is everything your brand is and hopes to be. Where’d you come from? Why were you created in the first place? What’s the competitive advantage of working with you versus your competitors? These are all things that should be clear in your marketing efforts, your web presence, your social media posts, etc.
4. Add a Personal Touch.
This is the most overlooked branding aspect of 2017 (in my humble opinion). Many brands haven’t caught on to the importance of ‘personal branding’, which is all the more reason for you to focus on it.
What is personal branding? Personal branding occurs when individuals market themselves and their lives/ careers as a full-on brand. If you have social media accounts, then you are branding yourself without even knowing it! People such as Tim Ferris, Gary Vaynerchuk, Grant Cardone, and Tai Lopez (to name a few) are exquisite examples of personal branding. In the old days before social media became the most poerful self-promotion tool in history, big brands would dominate their industries with nary a mention of their founders and CEOs. What personal branding does is allow people a glimpse into the lives of these C-level executives, which builds them a following opposite their business’ following, which maximizes audience reach.
I personally don’t know much about VaynerMedia, as I’m not a potential customer or client looking for branding help. But I follow Gary Vaynerchuk, VaynerMedia founder, because I love his messages and I believe in the way that he lives his life. So, VaynerMedia the brand doesn’t get anything from me, but Gary Vaynerchuk does and that increases awareness of VaynerMedia. Get it?
You may not be trying to be the next Bill Gates or Elon Musk, and that’s fine- personal branding can help small businesses as well. It adds a human component to what is often a faceless organization, which builds trust, credibility, and followership.
If you’re the founder of a brand and would like to grow fast, focus on building your personal brand as well.
5. Be Everywhere.
Last but not least, I’ve already touched on the importance of social media as it pertains to your personal brand. But it’s just as important for your business as well.
Social media, as I mentioned before, is the most-effective promotion tool in history. While it is amazing for brands trying to connect with their audience, it’s also changed the way that marketing needs to be implemented. People’s attention spans are shorter than ever- they no longer need to sit through commercials or ads on the radio. It’s 2017, and everything is on demand, meaning that if your message isn’t relevant or strong, people will just tune it out.
This is why you need to ‘be everywhere’ on social media- and, more specifically, be everywhere that your audience is. They’ll no longer come to you, so you need to go to them. How do you do that? Visit industry-relevant news sources, share pertinent info that your audience would like to know. Be helpful, be entertaining, give your audience what they want! They will reward you with their wallets.
All in all, your brand is the number one driver of your business. Offering a great product or service isn’t enough anymore, especially in this globalized economy that has changed the way we do business forever. Invest in your branding and watch your business reach new heights!