Does your business have a brand

Does Your Business Have a Brand?

Just Do It.
Think Different.
I’m Lovin’ It.

Based on just those slogans, we’re willing to bet you know exactly which three companies we’re referencing. These phrases are so strongly associated with those companies that you will be able to conjure up their name, their logo and what they sell before you’ve even finished reading it. And there’s one simple reason for that – great branding.

We all see examples of branding every day. When we’re shopping, watching TV, reading the news, or searching the internet for a product or service we want to know more about.

So, the question to ask yourself is, do you have a brand?

This might seem like an odd question but bear with us for a second. Because, you see, not all businesses have brands, but all brands belong to successful businesses. Today, we wanted to share with you what a brand is, why it’s important, and what you need to create your own successful brand.

What Is a Brand?

By definition, branding is a marketing practice that includes everything from creating your logo, symbols and other design elements that make it easy to identify your products or services. But at Clever Marketing we think it’s much more than that.

Your brand is the overall experience a customer has of your business – from your name and logo to your website, your social media, the way you answer the phone and even the level of service they receive from you. It’s how you make them feel, what they remember you for and how they pick your business out of a crowd next time. At its core, branding is all about making a memorable impression on consumers and allowing your customers and clients to know exactly what to expect from your company. It’s the way you distinguish yourself from the competition – how you stand out and why you are the better choice. It’s different for each and every company, and while most businesses will have all of that information in their heads, many don’t turn it into a brand on paper.

Why is Having a Brand Important? 

Imagine you’re standing in the condiment’s aisle at the supermarket, looking for ketchup. On the shelves there are hundreds of bottles, all of which contain the same red liquid, most of which were probably made in the same factory. The only difference is the name on the label. Which one do you choose? Most of you would probably go for Heinz. That decision, that impulse is why branding is important.

Branding can change how people view your products and services, or your business as a whole. It can drive new business, increase brand awareness and help you differentiate from your competitors. The most successful companies will leverage their branding to promote loyalty in their customers, with big brands even becoming household names. On top of that, good branding can also:

Create Recognition: This is maybe the most important function of branding – to make people recognise your business and become known to consumers. For this, you need a powerful, easily memorable logo that can make an impression at first glance and stay at the front of people’s minds.

Increase Business Value: Branding is important when trying to generate future business, and a strongly established brand can increase a business’ value by giving the company more leverage in the industry. This makes it a more appealing investment opportunity because of its firmly established place in the marketplace.

Generate New Customers: A good brand will have no problem drumming up new business through referrals and directly. Strong branding generally means customers get a much more positive impression of your company, and if you’re familiar to them then they are more likely to do business with you over others.

Build Trust: Customers need to trust your business before they will buy from you. But having a professional appearance and well-thought through branding will help establish and build trust in you and what you do. Being properly branded also gives the impression that you’re an industry expert, making the public feel as though they can trust you.

Improve Employee Satisfaction: Many employees need more than just work — they need something to work toward. When employees understand the mission of a business and its reason for being, they are more likely to feel that same pride and work in the same direction to achieve the goals the business owner has set. Having a strong brand is like turning the company logo into a flag the rest of the company can rally around.

What Makes a Good Brand? 

So, after all that, how do you create a brand for your business?

A few characteristics of successful branding include:

  • Audience segmentation– if you try to appeal to everyone, your message will be diluted and ineffective.
  • Exposure – You need to be able to reach customers through multiple channels and mediums.
  • Unique approach – Being the same as another brand only means you will be mistaken for them. You need something distinctive and unique to your business.
  • Leadership – Whether it’s the CEO, the owner or the marketing manager, successful branding always has a champion behind it.
  • Passion –While you can build a brand in the short-term without passion, you need it to sustain and grow your brand in the long-run.
  • Unified approach to service – ultimately all parts of your business are part of the branding exercise, so your approach needs to reflect your brand values.

You will also need:

  • A good logo.
  • Strong and consistent brand identity (including colours, fonts, format, communication style and tone)
  • Consistent visual elements.
  • A great website.
  • A marketing, advertising and outreach plan.

But most of all, you need a great marketing team to help you create and implement all of those things.

At Clever Marketing, we provide a full suite of design and marketing services to help you create and maintain a great brand. Our services include everything from initial logo design and developing your brand identity (including colours, typography and other creating visual assets), to refreshing your branding and helping you roll out your new brand company-wide on everything from stationery to signage. Not only that, but once we’ve created your exciting new brand, we can help you write a set of brand guidelines for your business, so you know everything you produce will be consistent and match the brand you’ve worked hard to create.

That’s Clever Marketing

Clever Marketing - Surrey Digital Agency

Find out  how we can help you with your brand and set your business apart from your competition. Just  call us on 01276 534 680 or fill in the simple form with your details and we will get back to you.

The Importance of Branding Consistency - Clever, your brand agency, can help

The Importance of Branding Consistency

When a company visits your website, do they get the same brand experience as they would across your other digital channels? What about offline – is the branding of your brochure or print campaign consistent with your online branding? Brands never want to be predictable but when it comes to marketing strategy, consistency really is essential.

It raises brand awareness giving your company a personality and identity. It reinforces your position in the marketplace, therefore driving authority. It helps attract new customers. An inconsistent message can create confusion and could be seen as a sign a company cannot be trusted. Companies are often time short so how can you ensure brand consistency internally and externally across all touch points all of the time?

The building blocks of a consistent brand identity include messaging, tone of voice and design guidelines. While these must be specific to your company, these are the main elements that should be considered.

Logotype and brand message

A brand message should clearly define your positioning. Think about your logo and rules for using it with or without a tagline too. Consider how it will be applied and if you need different versions (ie; a logo with a transparent background might be a requirement). If your branding agency is designing a new brand identity, consider how it will translate across all touch points. Will one logo suffice or does it need to be scalable?

Design guidelines

Brand design is not just about a logo, design guidelines are a fundamental part of the mix. Typically these should include a colour palette, font type and weight, photography and illustration styles as well as other visual elements. Consider how the colour palette will work online and offline, checking colour matches in programmes such as PowerPoint. It’s worthwhile including guidelines for your website (ie; banners, buttons, web fonts) and print (ie; specifications for the most used collateral). Your brand design agency can help with this.

Tone of voice

As well as the look and feel, tonal values are just as important. Consider how your tone of voice will be applied on your website and in print but also across your social media channels. Think about the personality of your company, what kind of impression you want to give and how should you communicate. Cover off best practices like grammar, punctuation and spelling with your branding agency as well.

Once your brand guidelines have been finalised by your brand design agency, it’s worthwhile considering a cheat sheet featuring the most used elements too. It’s a great way to have a quick point of reference while ensuring brand consistency. Clear brand guidelines should provide everyone internally with a framework to implement activity across all channels.

Clever Marketing, Hampshire Digital Agency - The Importance of Branding ConsistencyHave you seen the examples in our portoflio of branding work?

If you require help with your brand identity or brand guidelines, feel free to contact us on 01276 534 680 today.

Tone of Voice and brand identity

“You talkin’ to me?” The Importance of Tone of Voice

How do you talk to your customers? It’s a difficult question to answer, as we all know that it’s not always just what you say, but how you say it that makes the difference.

How you communicate in person, on the web and on your social channels all contribute to your brand identity. But how much thought have you really given to your tone of voice? In our latest blog post, we discuss why a strong tone of voice is so important for brands, and how you can go about establishing yours.

Influence, Convince, Persuade

As marketers, our most basic and honest job description is that we help to sell things. We spend our time shouting about who we are and why we’re so great in the hopes of convincing customers to buy from us, and if you haven’t realised that your tone of voice is a powerful weapon to help you do this, you’re missing a trick.

The words you use and how you use them can impact the way a customer not only feels about you as a brand but also the extent to which they feel compelled to act on your message. For example, which is the more persuasive: “please consider us for your next business venture”, or “we make your life easier– why not give us a call?” I think we can agree the more successful of the two is the latter. Why? It offers you a benefit, engages through the use of a question and also employs a relatively informal tone to suggest a friendly yet firm nature. Ultimately, your tone of voice helps to tell people not just what you do, but who you are.

A Personal Touch

An effective tone of voice will reflect the people behind the brand. It should be a manifestation of the personality of your company and its staff, as well as your values. Talking to a customer as if they’re on your level makes you appear more human and relatable, encouraging positive sentiment.

It’s near impossible to talk about the tone of voice without mentioning smoothie and juice drink brand, Innocent. Their cheeky, informal and humorous way of speaking to their customers both on their packaging and advertising has long been held up as an exemplary case study of the tone of voice.

For example, consider the current headline on their website: “show winter who’s boss”. Both punchy and timely, Innocent uses the simple language we use on an everyday basis instead of robotic jargon to echo a conversation you’d have with your friends. This breeds trust, authenticity and reassurance.

What Makes You Different Makes You Valuable

Innocent’s tone of voice has the dual benefit of eliciting trust and also allowing the brand to stand out from the crowd. Read any piece of copy and you’d be able to instantly tell it’s from them, such is the extent to which they’ve established their brand personality and voice in the marketplace. It’s distinctive, unique and recognisable, which does wonders for brand recognition and saliency.

If you sound just like everyone else, you have no point of differentiation that makes a customer choose you over a competitor. You’re likely to all blend into one, and your customer will use just one factor to decide whether or not to choose you: price.

How Can I Create My Brand’s Tone of Voice?

The best kind of tone of voice evolves naturally from who you are as a company and what you believe in, rather than a sudden whim to be funny one day and authoritarian the next. Obviously, that’s not very specific or practical advice, so here’s a list of questions you might want to ask yourself at this stage:

  • What do I want to say to the world?
  • Why was my company established?
  • What makes you different?

Understanding the answers to these questions will help you to better understand who you are as a company and your positioning within a marketplace. Once you’ve given this some initial thought, you’re ready to dive into the nitty gritty of how you want to talk to your customers.

We’ve Broken This Down Into Three Easy Steps For You:

  1. Firstly, how formal do you want to be? Most of the time, the kind of product or services you’re actually selling has to have a say in this. For example, if you offer security systems, it’s likely that you’ll want your tone of voice to be fairly formal in order to instil that sense of trust and authority; however, if you sell beauty products for teenagers, it’s likely something more fun and frivolous will fit the bill.
  2. Once you know the line you want to go down, it’s time to think about how you can use vocabulary and sentence structure to fit this brief. Short sentences and everyday words get straight to the point and suggest simplicity, honesty and action, whereas more rambling sentences and longer/descriptive words suggest knowledge and creativity. Again, think about your product and what you’re trying to say, and draw up a list of “yes” words and “no” words to help you carve this out more definitively.
  3. Think about how this tone of voice will sit across your communications. While your tone should always be consistent, certain situations will call for you to adapt your usage slightly. For example, when answering complaints in a customer service setting, you wouldn’t want to use the same carefree and flippant tone you employ on social media.

A key thing to remember is that although you might put a lot of time and effort into deciding on your tone of voice, it should never look constructed. Instead, it should be a natural manifestation of your values and people, providing you with a powerful sales and marketing tool in the process.

The Importance of Tone of Voice - Clever Marketing, Hampshire Digital AgencyIf you’re still struggling to get the perfect tone of voice copy out before that fast-approaching deadline, then get in touch and our team copy writing team can help you out.

Call us on 01276 534 680 or email and we’ll be happy to talk shop with you.