This is the first post in a series about rebranding.
How you rebrand your business is no longer about a jazzy logo, a flashy sign, or banner ads. Your future client is depending upon search results and if you are not on the first page you are doomed to be lost amongst the millions of businesses on page 2 and beyond.
Making your brand stand out is no easy task. In this post, we will discuss how to create an effective, recognizable brand in the digital age with an inbound methodology.
INBOUND BRANDING IS A DIFFERENT GAME
Rebranding these days is done on the internet. A successful rebrand should be built up over time. A slow, gradual build-up provides the opportunity to reach far more people than some flash in the pan fad, that’s here today and gone tomorrow. The Internet is the great equalizer. It gives small companies the potential to have a big voice.
WHAT DOES A BRAND LOOK LIKE ONLINE?
Once a brand finds a differentiator for itself, it becomes their calling card. It’s how everyone recognizes them and the first thing everyone judges them by. So it needs to be consistent. No matter which channels your customers choose to interact with your brand—website, blog, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever tomorrow’s technology may bring—they should all demonstrate the unique experience that your brand represents.
Visually, a brand should include the same elements across all channels, such as logo, color, fonts, etc. But design consistency is just the first step. The most important thing is to brand the experience that customers have with your client’s brand online. It should transcend each channel and be instantly recognizable as their brand.
ACHIEVING BRAND CONSISTENCY
Here are some of the basic elements that should remain the same for all your client’s online content, whether it’s their website, their blog, e-mail, social media, or some other platform so that their audience can have the same experience no matter where they go.
Tone and Voice – What does your brand sound like? Is it Silly? Professional? Academic? This may fluctuate somewhat between channels. E-mails may be more formal, and social media may be more casual. That’s fine. But there should still be a unifying factor: a blanket mission statement or mantra that all content adheres to.
Font – Font is very important to a brand. People recognize things far more by the way they’re written than what they actually say. When people scroll past a meme on Facebook that’s written in a specific font, they should know immediately that that post is from your client. Just make sure the font isn’t Comic Sans.
Colors – Harvard’s color is crimson. Gryffindor’s colors are scarlet and gold. Seeing certain colors immediately calls to mind a particular brand, even if the brand name is nowhere near them. Therefore, a good color scheme for your brand can go a long way.
Design Elements – This is especially important online, as web design has become an essential part of branding. Will your site be simple and understated, with good use of white space? Will there be a logo, banner, or image that goes across each page? Those design elements are an essential part of the brand you offer.
Positioning – How should your address controversial or otherwise difficult issues? You likely already hold certain viewpoints as part of your mission statement. Be sure to incorporate those viewpoints into your branding.
Online you need the strongest, clearest voice for your brand because the internet is consistently shouting brands at your future clients.
At its core, that voice is your value proposition: the thing that makes you unique and better qualified than the competition. Your value proposition is the most important thing people will take with them in considering your brand. Therefore, it’s essential to get it right. It needs to be woven into your website, social media, paid campaigns, and of course, the value add that you provide your customers and clients.
What Is A Value Proposition
What You Do – Define, in very clear terms, what your business does. For example, if you were doing this for a marketing agency, you might say, “Our agency develops marketing campaigns to improve SEO, generate leads, increase brand awareness, and drive traffic to your business.”
How You Do It – Describe exactly how you do what you do. Carrying on the example of a marketing agency, you might say, “Our agency uses deep industry knowledge and cutting edge methodologies such as blogging, e-mail, and social media marketing, combined with state of the art analytics to ensure your business is search engine optimized and gets you found online.”
For Whom, You Do It – Many businesses will represent any client, regardless of what field they’re in. But your business will be much more effective if you practice verticalization: establish a niche, and become an expert in it. Your clients want to know that you understand their specific business and its challenges.
It’s also important to apply this concept to your business because you are more likely to find success by focusing on just one thing and doing it better than anyone else. Specialization is what the Internet is all about. It’s not a coincidence that businesses are reaping huge benefits from long-tail keyword optimization. So it’s critical that, for any company trying to be found on the Internet, their specialty stands out.
What Makes You Different – A couple of hamburger patties and a slice of cheese on a bun are just that—until you add “special sauce.” Then suddenly it’s a Big Mac: the biggest, best-selling juggernaut in fast food history. So what’s your special sauce? In a world of Whoppers, what makes them a Big Mac? Identifying the “special sauce factor” for your business is the key to building your brand.
This is a good starting point with your rebrand. Develop consistency and find your special sauce. In our next blog post, we will discuss buyer personas and how to put your brand into play.
source: This post was adapted from the ebook "Branding In The Inbound Age", www.hubspot.com
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