Branding your small business involves projecting a strong, consistent image throughout all of your marketing regardless of whether you are using online or traditional media. However a consistent online brand helps you maximize your brand presence, enabling potential customers to understand the value you provide to your clients. By projecting your business’s unique personality, you send a clear message about who you work with and what your business is all about.
Unfortunately as the online marketing world evolved, small businesses may not have thought their branding strategy through before creating their web presence. Part of optimizing your web presence is to ensure that you are consistent across your various web properties so that no matter where someone finds your business, they are left with a compelling, lasting impression
What is a brand?
There are two parts to your brand – a visual identity and your business promise.
1. Visual identity encompasses all the visual elements of your brand – logo, fonts, colors, images and tag line – that make your business recognizable.
2. Business promise is what you guarantee to consistently deliver to your clients.
What is the benefit of projecting a consistent online brand?
A consistent online brand helps your customers clearly differentiate you from your competition, since a brand signals a level of quality that grows as your brand becomes more recognized. A brand also establishes a personality for your business that helps attract your ideal client. Your business stand out from others in your industry. If you associate your brand with high standards such as trust and quality, clients and prospects will associate your brand image – logo, colors and message – with that value emotionally. This will inevitably increase customer trust, loyalty and familiarity. A strong, focused brand consistently projected across all of your web properties makes your business more credible and recognizable.
How do you create brand consistency?
1. Start with your company name. Small businesses and start ups should focus on creating a strong brand around your business name. Sounds logical but some businesses may feel they have to brand their products and services as well.
2. Grab a domain name consistent with your business name. If you can’t get the domain that matches your business name exactly with no hyphens, try to find one that works for your business. Just make sure that what you pick is easy to say and intuitive.
3. Select a user name aligned with your business name. Most social sites allow you to personalize the web address for your profile. You should try to use the same one on each social site so there is no doubt that the profile belongs to your business.
4. Use a consistent logo on all web properties. If you have a logo, make sure it is on your website, social profiles and business directories. In some cases you may need some alternative layouts to accommodate the varying profile images.
5. Select a cover photo/graphic that aligns with your key message. Most social sites allow for cover photos that can be used to project your brand even further. Take your key message and apply it visually on your website and your social profiles.
We know it's hard work but it's the kind of hard work that really pays off for the longevity and success of your business.