The Importance of Establishing a Compelling Brand
How Do You Want Others to See You?
We work on brand development for many start-up companies and professional service providers striking out on their own, and we often get asked for advice on brand strategy and establishing branding that gets noticed. Getting off to the right start and building a compelling brand and online presence takes effort and skill. There are specific considerations that are individual to each business. Here are the key steps to establishing a compelling brand.
Establishing a Compelling Brand
Determine Who You Are!
Knowing who you are is probably the most important thing. You need your brand identity to define who you are as a business or professional and helps you stand out in your market place. Here are some of the elements to consider as you develop a compelling brand:
- Logo – the visual representation of you and your business, in our social age it also should include:
- Icon – a simplified, smaller version of your logo for use on social and professional networking sites
- Images – images can say a great deal about who you are.
- Colors – colors bring out different emotions in people.
- Fonts – keep your text easy to read and comprehend.
- Voice – how you communicate directly with others online and in-person.
Your brand should match your target audience; if you plan to open a spa, you should consider a more feminine look and colors. A bolder approach works well for an architect or urban planner, for instance. And the local coffee shop will most likely have a much edgier logo than a financial service provider.
The critical aspect of establishing a compelling brand is your actual brand logo. If you think clip art or even design from a service like Fiverr or tool like Canva can help you rise above the digital noise, you better think again! If you genuinely want a logo representing your brand vision, voice, and value, here are some essential logo design considerations.
Consistency is a crucial aspect of establishing a compelling brand. Once you have found your look and voice, you need to make sure that it is correctly used and reproduced online and in print. Brand consistency is especially important in today’s digital age.
Stand Above the Rest!
We are on Facebook. Find our images on Instagram. Follow us on Twitter. Did you see our latest YouTube video? If you believe that this approach will get your new business noticed, we have to disappoint you, sorry! In 2020 too many brands are trying to stand out by doing the same old shit as everyone else.
Focus on Your Business Card
If you want to stand out, you need a little piece of card stock called a business card. Never underestimate the importance of a well designed, high-quality business card to your marketing success. No other print collateral will give you the same bang for your buck than passing out your business card everywhere you can.
At a minimum, your business card should include your company name and website, your name, and your basic contact info (phone, email). If required, you should also list your street or mailing address, slogan or tagline, or your most relevant products or services. To help you avoid a crowded card design or tiny text, you may want to consider a double-sided or folded card.
There are numerous options available to make your new business card stand out. Rounded corners, die-cutting, embossed or de-bossed logos, foil-stamping, using a different texture or finish paper are popular design options. Having your card printed on extra heavy card stock, plastic, metal, or even wood veneer will stand out. Odd size cards can also help you stand out. Still, you need to remember that business cards that are larger than the traditional 3.5″ x 2″ size are harder to carry with you or for your customers to file.
We highly recommend that you stay away from very cheap printing options. Hand out a poorly printed flimsy card that will reflect negatively on your new business’s quality and service. Professional designers and printing companies can usually recommend very cost-effective options to get a high-quality business card.
Claim Your Online Identity!
At the very least, you should purchase www.yourbusinessname.com* for two (2) years or longer. Search engines like Google and Bing will not index domains not registered for a minimum of two (2) years. You can also register your domain for five (5) and ten (10) years; the longer the registration, the higher the rank on Google.
* Depending on your business’s nature, you may want to register a .org for non-profits or a .edu domain for an accredited college or other educational institution.
The most valuable domain name is one indicating the name and the nature of your business. abccompany is not as effective as abcplumbing or abcplumbingcompany, for instance. Short and easy to remember domain names work better. We recommend avoiding different (cute) spellings and characters like hyphens or dashes as part of your domain name.
Non-traditional domain names have become more popular and accepted, and can be more effective in setting your brand apart. So don’t feel that you need to have a dotcom domain to establish a compelling brand. A dot.com domain may work against you in a crowded digital market place. Depending on your business, service, or product, you may benefit from a domain extension such as .design, .coffee, .web, or even .porn.
But there are limitations on non-traditional domain names. Some of them can work against you and your online objectives! Find out more about both the most popular domain names in 2020, which ones are popular, and which ones you better avoid!
Did you know that:
- You do not “own” your domain, you “register” or “lease” it. Think of it like leasing a car. At the end of your “lease,” you can renew; otherwise, the domain reverts to the available pool. We recommend GoDaddy as a domain registrar.
- You can register as many domains as you wish. You can redirect several domains to point at your primary domain.
- Registering or “leasing” a domain does NOT include a place to host a website. In most cases, it is not practical to host your site, and you will need a hosting services provider. We can host your new website for you, or you can use a third-party service provider. We recommend WP Engine, Siteground, Kinsta, or BlueHost.
Build Your Online Presence!
Your prospective customers and clients will look at your online presence before they contact you. If you don’t have social media presence and website chances, your potential customers and clients will look elsewhere. Therefore having an active online presence is essential for any business.
An active online presence is not a single thing. Successful brand development is a combination of different elements. As a minimum, we recommend some or all of the following:
- Website – even a simple one-page site that tells your visitors who you are, what you do, and how to contact you is much better than nothing. A generic “Site Coming Soon” message, a page showing just a string of server code, or a page showing your web host advertisements virtually guarantee your visitors will move on to your competitors, and that is not what you want!
- Facebook Business Page – This is where potential customers and clients can interact with your brand. Please don’t use your personal Facebook account to promote your business. It violates Facebook’s rules.
- LinkedIn Company Page – this is where professionals of all types look for resources and to make connections. By sure to establish and link your own professional LinkedIn profile to your company profile.
- Depending on your business or organization’s nature, you should also establish a presence on Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Pinterest, and others.
Building a Compelling Brand Yourself
Having these essentials will go a long way to getting your new business off to a great start. You don’t have to spend a considerable amount of money to get them. And remember, there is nothing wrong with starting small! As your business grows, you can always add additional online and print components to help you with your marketing efforts. Just make sure that all the pieces follow your established brand.
There is one thing to remember as you work on establishing a compelling brand for your business or product company. You are not doing this for your expectations, but those of your target audience. Having a compelling brand can go a long way to increase your brand visibility, including your website engagement. So listen to your audience, and fine-tune your branding as you go along. Brand development is not something you do once and forget about it. It is an ongoing process. We are here to help.
Do You Need Help Building a Compelling Brand?
Feel free to reach out to us and learn more about brand development and logo design services. Our team can help you determine what type of brand logo and the image you need and help you establish a compelling brand for your business or product brand. That is one of our specialties, after all.
So, How Is Your Branding?
Now that you read this post, how do you feel about your brand strategy? Did it help you in establishing a compelling brand? Or do you think that your brand development may be missing the mark? If so, what do you think is missing from your brand voice and image?
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Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!