How do you stay consistent with a brand online? It’s a common question, and one we heard a lot during our presentation at this year’s TWGGA conference.
First, you need to create a brand. Then, stick with it — persistently.
Brand standards — colors, fonts, images, photo styles, tone of voice and brand story — guide your online and print materials, so that you can consistently reinforce you brand throughout your marketing and messaging.
So how do we do it? Here are four actionable steps for building and maintaining a consistent brand.
Build your brand on a strong foundation
Establishing brand standards
Businesses can only stand out from other businesses on three strategic levels:
- By targeting a certain niche market
For a small business, it’s tough to survive simply be being the cheapest. Innovation always matters. So the key to building a strong foundation for your brand: choosing a niche and creating content relevant to that niche. Your audience guides your product, your message, and your strategy — which means, it’s crucial to understand who they are and what they care about.
You might say “But I don’t want to pigeonhole our company and lose clients!” Choosing a niche does not limit your market. It will actually expand it.
Our brains are wired to put things into categories. The further you define your niche, the more clarity you’ll have in crafting messaging that will resonate with them; the clearer your message, the easier it will be for people to recall what you do in seconds.
Once you’re clear on your audience, you can establish a brand and marketing strategy accordingly. Choose colors, fonts, images, photo styles, a tone of voice and craft a brand story. Develop a clear customer journey so you know where to find your audience, and how to reach them.
Have a consistent brand across all media
A consistent brand uses the same logo, color palette, design elements, fonts, tone of voice, images and core position in all online avenues, like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and your Google Plus profile.
Consistency over time creates trust.
One of the best descriptions of a brand is in Marty Neumeier’s book, The Brand Gap:
“A brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product, service, or organization. It’s the sum of everything you are. It’s not what you say it is, it’s what THEY say it is.”
In its basic essence, a brand is how your customers feel about your company.
Do you have a strong brand? Try these two tests:
1. Cover up your logo on your website, ads and print collateral. Now look at your materials. Without your logo, can you see a defining design and message that separates you from your competitors? Or do you look like your competitors?
2. Ask people at your company and people that are walking by your place of business what your company does. If they can’t answer that question, you need to solidify your brand position.
Tell your brand story constantly
In a book called The Story Wars, the author says that the most successful brands are based on moral myths. The author offers three simple tools any brand can use to “break through, earn fans and become an icon: Be Interesting, Tell the Truth and Live the Truth.”
Every human being has a unique story, just like every business has a unique story. Are you telling your unique brand story online?
On your blog
The amazing thing about promoting your small business online: you get to tell your brand story every day of the week.
Part of a brand story is the tone of voice, and blogging is the perfect place to let this shine.
Is your company personality fun & quirky? Write that way!
Make sure your blogging tone matches the one you convey in person, in your marketing materials and in social media.
Blog posts are one of the greatest ways you can boost your brand visibility online, tell your story, and bring your audience to your website, where they can learn more about your offerings, make purchases, and join your email list.
Include YouTube videos on your blog, and explain what your company is about with “How To” educational content. Share your blog content in your email marketing for extra ROI.
Through your emails
Email is arguably the most important platform to curate, because you will always own your list. Speaking directly to your audience through email is an effective way to build trust, nurture leads, make sales and — build your brand.
Through email marketing, you stay top-of-mind to your customer and in charge of your message.
Create an unforgettable experience
On your website
You most likely put your web address on everything from your business card to your brochure. If you have a podcast or YouTube channel, you probably also refer people back to your website. Now think of your social media accounts – they also point back to your website.
With all of your spokes pointing to your website, it very important that your website conveys your brand in one glance.
Make your website easy to navigate. It should tell visitors exactly who you in seconds, and have clear steps for visitors to take.
What do you want your customer to do? Contact you for an estimate? Sign up for a webinar? Make your calls-to-action glaringly obvious, so your visitors can effortlessly move through your customer journey.
And don’t forget to make your site Google-friendly too.
Google and other search engines now rank searches on descriptive phrases. It’s important to define how you are different even to Google and the more you repeat it on your website, the better the SEO results.
On social media
With a strong brand identity, compelling brand story and effective website in place, you can harness social media to stay consistent. Keep showing up in a way that’s aligned with your overall marketing strategy, and engage with your audience through great content.
No need to go it alone.
At Bauerhaus, brand design and development is rooted in strategy, research, and artistic vision. Each project is based on a six phase process that begins with a dive into your business goals, your competition, and your target market.
Our monthly digital marketing packages are built to hit your goals, whether they are to increase in-store sales, online sales, increase brand awareness or to drive traffic to your website.
The Baurhaus Brand Map, our signature customer journey development process, helps companies identify and understand their customer so they can implement effective branding and marketing strategies.
Interested in getting clear on your customer? Schedule a discovery call with us!