When you’re first starting to establish your brand, it’s obvious where to start. After all, what is a brand without a specfied color palette, a logo, and a good, solid design? The real challenge, though, comes when you need to spread your message and really communicate what your business is all about. After all, “a brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another,” according to Seth Godin.
So how do you set the right expectations? A logo and mood board are a great start, but when it comes time to tell the story of your business and connect with potential customers on a deeper level, there are certain branding tools that savvy marketers know to use (that aren't just a logo).
1. Start With Your Story
Before you can effectively use any branding tools, you need an all-encompassing understanding of your brand and your story. Start by working with your team to answer:
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What problem does your product or service solve for them?
- Why are they coming to you in the first place?
From there, you can work internally or with a marketing agency to examine how you want your brand to be perceived. Are you playful and fun? Serious and straightforward? Remember, your brand is everything that potential customers associate with you, so it’s important to pin down what you want your story to be.
After your team has an understanding of your brand, you’ll be much more effective at establishing a consistent brand across platforms. Not only can you tell your story on your site, but you can also share it on social media and in podcasts. Starting with your story ensures that your site isn’t collecting just any lead, but qualified leads that are more likely to convert.
2. Optimize Your Website
Of course, your website is probably one of the first things you focus on during a site redesign, and it’s easy to understand why. Most potential customers are going to touch at least some part of your site when deciding whether to make a purchase, so it’s important to communicate your brand identity through layout, design, and copy across all of your webpages.
A beautiful website is more likely to get higher engagement, too. A survey by Adobe showed 38 percent of consumers stop engaging if content is unattractive, and that with only 15 minutes to consume content, 66 percent of consumers would prefer to read something beautifully designed.
When working with a designer on your site, be sure that they have an understanding of your brand and ideal client. Think through the process of engaging with your site for the first time: Is it intuitive and easy to find your contact information, pricing, and other relevant information? Gather metrics that indicate how user-friendly your site is, so that you can continue to optimize your site based on performance.
3. Use Consistent Visuals
While you probably think of your logo when you think of branded visuals, your other images can have just as much of an impact on the way your brand is perceived. Are your photos bright and cheery? Do you have custom infographics that are witty, insightful, and shareable?
When you share an image on social media, your followers should be able to immediately tell that that image came from you. Instead of using the first stock photo you stumble across online, try to assemble a collection of images that have similar color schemes and look generally cohesive together. Similarly, if you have a designer create pull quote images or infographics, be sure they're using your brand guide every time.
Establishing a visual brand is a quick way to stand out to a casual visitor to your site. Even if they don’t convert on the first visit, a consistent visual brand will remind visitors that they’ve liked your content in the past, helping you collect more leads on the second or third visit.
4. Create Compelling Content
A blog is a useful tool for driving traffic to your site, engaging visitors, and telling them what you’re all about. Chartbeat found user engagement is strongly correlated with loyalty to your site. Used correctly, an engaging blog will not only entertain readers once, but make them more likely to return. Your blog will only work to your advantage, though, if it aligns with your brand.
Compelling content instills trust in readers, making them more likely to sign up to hear more from you.
A strongly branded blog knows exactly who it’s for and focuses on the problems of target customers. Each blog post should be written as an answer to a question that your readers might ask. For instance, if you’re reading this blog post, you probably had a question about the best branding tools to use. Your blog writers should also have a strong idea of the attitude and tone of your organization, so that they can write in line with that tone.
Compelling content instills trust in readers, making them more likely to sign up to hear more from you. Optimize your already stellar content for lead generation by adding a call to action or opt-in incentive to every blog post.
5. Embrace Personality on Social Media
So many brands make the mistake of starting a social media strategy before honing their voice. Social media is often a first stop for users who are interested in your content, so start your new relationship off on the right foot by ensuring that they understand what your brand is all about.
Instead of sticking with safe social media content, savvy marketers know that standing out and taking risks is the key to building a brand on social media. Nationwide fast food chain, Wendy’s, saw its popularity skyrocket once it implemented a more daring social media strategy—complete with edgy tweets and quippy comebacks.
While it may not be appropriate for your brand or industry to be as edgy as Wendy’s, stand firmly behind your brand voice on social media—don’t be afraid to take risks. Establish a guide with your social media manager on the tone of your brand, how to respond to customer messages, and what content to include. That way, you can create a consistent experience, even if multiple people are working on your social media.
6. Use Events to Your Advantage
While all of these digital forums are a great way to establish your brand for the masses, don’t underestimate the importance of in-person connections as well. Depending on your company's size and the industry it's in, you might want to attend or sponsor conferences, or even host your own signature events for others in your industry.
While you won’t be able to connect with as many people one-on-one as you can online, customers that bond with you in person have the potential to become some of your most loyal fans and vocal supporters. Crazy loyal fans will spread your message far and wide, leading to more leads and sales in the long term. Be sure that any employees who are attending in-person events have branded handouts or business cards, but most importantly, ensure that they serve as in-person extensions of your brand values.
7. Cultivate Internal Experts
Though you’re probably used to using your blog to share expertise, the experts you have recruited and cultivated within your organization can be a powerful tool for spreading your brand message. Your founder, members of your leadership team, and managers can help build your brand by becoming representatives who speak in interviews and at events.
Start by pitching interviews with your founder or CEO to news outlets or podcasts in your industry, and you’ll begin to see the power of experts for defining your brand to new consumers. Use the expertise that already exists in your organization to spread the message of your culture, your mission and, of course, your brand. Sharing the behind-the-scenes expertise of your business will make readers and listeners want to learn more, sending traffic and leads your way.
Define Your Brand With The Best Branding Tools
These branding tools will help your business to establish a reputation and stand out from the crowd. Not only that, but each tool will help you to nurture leads and drive sales for your business. By defining your brand not only through logos and color choices, but your voice, your experts, and more, you can create an all-encompassing message that will gain authority and relevance with potential customers.
If you want to take your branding to the next level, start by spreading the word among your employees and build it into the culture of your organization.