A strong brand is built on being consistent, recognisable and clear in your visual identity and messaging. Successfully establishing your brand might feel like something that should happen organically, over time. Or perhaps you’ve had a clear and unchanging vision from the start. If you’re in the first camp, you might be thinking about how your brand has evolved, and what to do about that. Never fear, we’ve rounded up a few starting points to get your branding journey going, or give it a much needed shake up! Read on for your one-stop guide to the importance of Brand and how to get that much needed awareness up.
While most businesses can only dream of reaching the branding heights of Google's archetypal G, Cadbury’s purple or Apple’s… apple, having a recognisable logo and distinctive colour scheme is a key starting point. Of course, brands like those have had decades of international success, but there are always newcomers and disruptors that dominate their sectors. There’s still plenty that smaller businesses can do as they work towards that higher level.
Let’s start with visual identity – your logo, colours and generally how you look. Effective branding needs to be consistent and well aligned in order to be memorable.Your overall design needs to consider which colours and fonts will stand the test of time (and be easy for your customers to digest). When picking colours, think about potential associations your desired colour might have; these could be positive or negative. Does your logo reflect what you do and your industry? Will it be appealing to your target customer? Could it be misconstrued or share unwanted resemblances with something else? It’s worth taking the time to consider all hypotheticals so you don’t waste your efforts.
Then there’s the second big factor: what you say and how. To figure that out, you need to be clear on the why: what’s the reason behind your business and what are you trying to achieve? Essentially it needs to represent your brand’s promise (to your customers or even to society as a whole), as well as reflelct your tone of voice. This all becomes part of your brand's personality and will shape the relationship you’ll have with your customers – which you want to be lasting.
You want to be memorable for the right reasons!
Once you have a clear brand identity, you’ll be thinking about how best to make sure people see and engage with it. Let’s face it, without a website, how can potential customers find you? Not only that, but how will they learn that you’re the best at what you do? What will come up when they search for your category? Not you, that’s for sure.
A thoughtfully developed online presence is key for your brand, and a website is one of the easiest ways to get started. Without one, consumers may question the legitimacy of your brand and choose a competitor with a more developed online presence.
But we’re not just talking about pretty graphics and fun fonts (important though they may be). A website that delivers results has good SEO. In essence, your website needs to appear high up on searches to make an impact. When was the last time you scrolled to the bottom of the search results page? Exactly. Check out our 2-part introductory guide to Search Engine Optimisation here and here for more detailed tips).
The quality of content will determine not only how high it appears on that first results page, but whether potential customers find a useful answer to their search. All you need are a few cue keywords and you’re off to a great start! There are some great free resources to get you on track. One of our favourites is AnswerThePublic which lists all search questions related to any word or topic. You’ll be surprised by what people are interested in and how they phrase their curiosity. You can then use these search terms and questions to develop what you write on your website to help people discover you.
Social media is one of the most accessible vehicles for promotion and when executed effectively, can be an incredible way to advertise. Each of the major channels (Meta, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, Pinterest) offer paid and organic advertising options that cater to businesses of all sizes. If consumers haven’t made it to your website (perhaps you need to sort out your SEO?) the next best way for them to discover your brand is while having their daily (or hourly) scroll. Social media is a fantastic way to keep customers updated without waiting for them to come to you. It’s a brilliant and affordable way to grow your brand identity and connect with customers. Better yet, most channels offer built in analytics so you can see which platform works best for your product or service.
As with so many brand awareness exercises, the output needs to be consistent to be effective. Posting regularly keeps you top of mind and doesn’t need to be complicated. For starters, there’s so much you can tell your audience in a simple social post: updates about the business, new or improved products, collaborations, sales and special deals – the sky’s your limit.
Effect communication on social channels is all about quality over quantity: focus on a few channels consistently, rather than trying to post on every channel at random. It’s all about building that presence effectively for the long term. Impactful social platforms build on and benefit from a strong website, and a strong website is built on powerful branding.
We know that branding may not be your top priority when running a business, especially after the stresses of the last few years. Finding the time, capacity and cash flow to fund something extra may feel like the least important thing on the to-do list. Never fear, that’s why we’re here. You can unlock cash from invoices with our invoice finance facility and bridge gaps in cash flow to cover lengthy payment terms, inflated contractor costs or your long-awaited rebrand. We offer both annual and monthly subscription options so you get to choose which works best for your business.
And who knows? Maybe you WILL be the next big brand.