Building, maintaining, and protecting a brand can be your most important investment. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest do’s and don’ts of branding, aimed at getting your brand on the right track and saving you from making some costly mistakes.
DO: Identify your potential customers
Building a picture of your target audience is key to branding success. Understanding exactly what makes them tick, from where they shop to which magazines they read can help to develop a strong brand and shape future marketing campaigns.
DON’T: Leave your employees in the dark
It can be easy to take a path of personal preference when it comes to branding, but your workforce lives and breathes your brand every day. Keeping them in the loop when it comes to brand strategy means that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet and their involvement is essential to the successful portrayal of your brand. Stakeholder workshops can be a great way of consolidating opinion with the help of an outside intermediary and allow everyone the chance to be involved and express their branding views in a controlled environment.
DO: Develop a brand voice
The most enduring companies have a defined personality and clear sense of purpose. Tone of voice has a huge impact on how much customers trust and care about your brand. But in reality, this can and should be refined. By establishing and documenting the foundation of your organisational voice, you have a point of reference and example messaging for any future communication or branding.
DON’T: Get too hung up on the competition
Keeping a firm eye on the competition is only natural but be careful that it doesn’t end up overly influencing your own branding choices. Building your brand in response to your direct competition means that you won’t stay true to your own values, and as a result, you will end up with a brand that lacks authenticity. Find a balance between paying attention and staying true to yourself.
DO: Maintain consistency
An inconsistent brand not only looks unprofessional but can also lead to confused customers. In order to instil confidence and maintain expectations for your target audience, brand consistency is key.
DON’T: Underestimate the value of good design
The sight of a logo is often the first branding experience for many, and if met with an outdated or badly designed one, it can quickly paint the wrong picture. A considered and appropriate logo never fails to exude knowledge and commitment and gives a lasting first impression. Investing in professional design is always money well spent.
DO: Focus on your core values
Your core values are effectively your corporate glue. They are the principles that guide your long-term goals and strategy and they should also form the core of your brand. If your customers believe they share the same values as your brand, they will ultimately reward you with their loyalty. Authenticity is key to this. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos famously said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”. Your brand will only flourish if it is built to be an authentic representation of who you are as a business as it will take on a life of its’ own when released into the wild, so it needs to stand up to scrutiny.
DON’T: Make false promises
Your brand needs to be a true representation of your organisation. If it’s not, it will quickly fall on its face. Don’t waste time trying to be something you’re not as it will only damage your credibility and leave you with very confused, and potentially unhappy customers.
DO: Write quality content
Publishing engaging content is an effective way of reaching new audiences, and it goes without saying that every website should have an outlet for thought leadership or interactive content. Well-researched, quality content can elevate your position in search engines, and it is the perfect platform to showcase your knowledge and expertise. As with any form of online content, once you launch a blog you need to be committed to keeping it up to date.
DON’T: Expect instant results
A strong brand isn’t something that can be built overnight. Set realistic expectations for success and keep track of progress. DO: Think about hiring a professional If you are daunted by the prospect of branding or rebranding, then don’t be afraid to draft in the professionals. Being close to your organisation can make it difficult to get a brand out of your head and on to paper. A brand strategist can work with you and your employees to develop a brand you are proud of, and that is best suited to your marketplace. DON’T: Set yourself an end goal There will be times when your brand will need more attention than others. Keeping your brand alive is part of the brand journey, and you will need to refresh brand elements as your business evolves. Establishing a defined brand strategy will ensure your brand thrives and never gets put to the bottom of the list.
Integral to any business, your brand is what you do and how you do it. It’s your opportunity to impress and align expectations. It’s a fundamental differentiator from your competitors and it’s ultimately who you are. Whether you’ve established a brand, are launching a new brand, considering a rebrand, embarking on a brand strategy or a significant brand-centric project... such as a website(!) it's important you've taken into consideration these important do's and don'ts before you begin.
If you'd like to speak to one of the Spindogs branding experts about your next project, please get in touch below, we'd love to hear from you!