“Brand” is a term that gets thrown around a lot when it comes to businesses of any sort. To many people, the word simply refers to company logos— making sure they are iconic and recognizable. And while a good logo is part of it all, branding encompasses so much more than just a single image. In fact, it encompasses almost everything!
Your company’s brand is the message that you present to the world about yourselves. It is relayed through every customer-facing aspect of your company: logos, promotional materials, websites, social media, customer service— even your offices are a reflection of who your company is supposed to be. To create a solid brand is to take all of these parts of your company and ensure that they are all relaying the same, consistent message.
Here’s a few things to consider when creating a brand for your business:
What do you want to say? How do you want your customers (and potential customers) to perceive you? Do you want to seem fun and exciting? How about calm, professional, and reliable? Maybe you want to be seen as innovative and daring, or you want to be warm, comfortable, and friendly. Or you could aim for any combination of all those options. Once you know how you want to be perceived, you can create your branding around this concept.
What visuals will convey your message? If you want to seem friendly and inviting, then warm colors like red, orange, yellow, brown, and white would probably serve you best. Soft edges will seem more comfortable than sharp corners. These sorts of design decisions should play into every visual you show the public— your logo, your website, your pamphlets, and anything else.
What sort of writing will convey your message? Every business produces a lot of writing: websites, promotional materials, memos, e-mails, newsletters, social media posts, and so much more. Make sure that it’s all well-written in a consistent tone. If you want to seem fun and exciting, then you can’t just try to sound fun and exciting in an occasional newsletter or tweet. Don’t pretend to be what you want people to see; just be it.
Be consistent. This is the most important and difficult part of creating a brand. Once you’ve chosen your visuals, your tone, your message, everything, you have to make sure that anything and everything you produce conveys that message. Imagine a co-worker who is always happy and pleasant when the boss is around, and then distant and uninterested whenever the boss leaves. You’d probably be bothered by that co-worker, wouldn’t you? They’d feel false and hypocritical.
Branding is the same way. You can’t come up with a message that you want to send to your customers and then only send that message part of the time. It has to be always on. You need to be genuine—be the real deal. It’s not always easy, which is why whole industries have grown up around each and every aspect of branding. My own company, Property Solutions, helps the apartment housing industry with many aspects of branding, and they’re a great example of branding done right if you want to see it in action.
Remember: A strong brand can build customer trust and comfort and make attracting new customers easier. It’s a hard road to run, but it’s worth it!