Branding is an important concept in the world of business that many small companies do not take full advantage of. Many believe that they do not need it, or it is reserved for the big international companies that spend millions creating an effective brand. The truth is, branding can be just as effective for small, family-run businesses as it is for large companies, but it is essential that it is handled professionally. The wrong type of branding can sink a company, whereas a creative and effective rebrand can bring a struggling company back from the brink. It is also important to remain consistent so customers can easily recognise your brand and begin to trust your reputation. Branding incorporates many things, and goes much further than just a company logo. This article looks at the importance of branding in both online and print marketing materials, and how consistency is an essential element.
An Effective Name and Logo
The first step of branding is creating an instantly recognisable company logo. It should reflect the tone and nature of your business, and give customers an impression of what kind of product or service you are offering. Companies that cater to teenagers will opt for funky, exciting logos with bright colours and fun images, whereas insurance companies and legal firms will tend towards a more sombre, professional logo. These points should also be taken into consideration when choosing a company name and slogan, as the right name will attract the right customers. The next step is establishing a web presence. There are over 600 million websites currently active on the internet, so consistency in your branding will help your customers find you. It is important to recreate the exact colour, font, text size, and style for the graphics on your website as the name and logo that appears on your print marketing materials.
The Importance of Reputation
As well as visual designs, successful branding includes the character and personality of your entire company and its employees. It also includes the tone and language of any press releases and public statements made by your organisation. An example of branding gone wrong is the spectacular decline of the Murdoch media empire. Rupert Murdoch built his press empire from the ground up, but a series of scandals and bad decisions led to many consumers turning their back on his products, and eventually resulted in the closure of one of his popular Sunday newspapers. To avoid this kind of situation, it is important to conduct your business in a professional, neutral manner, and have the code and conduct of your employees reflect this attitude.
Consistency is Key
As well as professional face to face communication, you must ensure that your website upholds your brand name at all times. Many companies are adept at handling customers over the phone, but establishing an effective web support team is just as important. Many customers communicate with companies by email via their handheld devices, so taking 3 days to answer an email does not show brand consistency. Branding is not about looking better than the competition, it is about building a personal relationship with your customers, and creating a look and reputation that will gain their trust and loyalty for years to come.
Kathryn Thornton is a business branding consultant. Her articles mainly appear in business marketing blogs. Visit the Phoenix Direct link to learn more.