What is branding?In essence, branding is about developing a clear message (visual and verbal) that promotes the true personality of your company in a way that your customers and clients will recognise and remember. It also adds value to every message, transforming any company from competing on price — to competing on value. But my guess is that you have a pretty good idea about branding now and you're wanting to increase the impact of all your marketing and communication efforts?
Ask yourself these questions below:
Do you need to get better results each time you connect with prospective customers?
Are your customers and your team clear about what you stand for and what you offer, or is their confusion about your capabilities?
Have you printed out and laid out all your marketing materials on the table to get an overall view and are they visually consistent?
You're not sure on which services should be offered or what types of customers you should chase?
Do you look at your company website or marketing materials and realise they don't stand out from your competitors?
How to get startedBranding is an ongoing process that requires buy-in from decision-makers, and also focus and patience. Consider what you've been able to do so far with your existing resources and what you hope to achieve to reach your goals. The value of a brand can be spread out over a five to ten year period that, if managed and used consistently, can be seen as an essential business tool that will enhance your bottom line. Keep in mind that branding is not a quick fix – it is a long-term investment. You will need to allow at least a portion of your marketing budget over the next three to five years to allocate to the up-front development of your brand and website. Once you have all this, now you can start to look at one of the followings options:
Attend a Roadmapping workshopBy attending a roadmapping workshop or session, you will gain a better understanding of the branding process and how it can be applied to your business. Invite along any key decision makers as well as marketing staff to the workshop, as it will help to hear everyone's ideas and align them towards a common business vision.
Bring in a brand consultant or agencySometimes companies have some of the brand elements already, but they are not sure how or what to do next. Perhaps they really need someone to take a look at where they are and where they would like to go and make some recommendations. Whether it is working one-on-one with you or leading a brand or roadmapping strategy session with your team, consultants can often be the expert voice you need to launch your branding development and help you clarify the vision for the company and the customer persona you wish to portray. They will bring in points of view from other businesses they've worked with that can help you to gain a fresh perspective on your overall style, message and customer persona that fits the long-term positioning of your company.
Take on a freelance designerIf you've already developed a brand, with some brand guidelines that includes the logo, messaging, colours, fonts and tone of voice, you could employ a freelance designer to help you create your marketing tools. This approach is less expensive but requires more of your time — you will need to manage them or designate someone on the marketing team to be the brand ambassador and maintain consistency. The process of developing a new brand, or even refreshing an existing one, can be lengthy and intense. It is a strategic business choice that will set your organisation on the road to success, and create a better relationship with your customers and clients. And, most importantly, a strong, clear brand will also unite your team and inject new energy and enthusiasm to an organisation.
Have you been thinking of branding – or rebranding – your business? Or have you recently refreshed your branding and have noticed an increase in generating new leads? I'd love to hear your comments below if you have had any of the above?
PS. We offer roadmapping sessions and brand strategy sessions that can help define your branding or website project. I'm currently offering a free 30-minute consult with me to discuss your brand issues.