"If people like you, they'll listen to you, but if they trust you, they'll do business with you"
- Zig Ziglar
It's important to understand that Branding is an umbrella term composed of 2 parts. First part is the companies image. A companies brand is tied directly to their image first and foremost. Business card, logo, mission statement, product packaging, website, funnels, social media posts; all of these things are tied together to create a companies image. This is what makes the first impression to a new customer. There needs to be a cohesive strategy that ties everything together. Color scheme and font type should be consistent across all platforms, the overall style of the graphics should be consistent. If a customer comes to a website and they see 10 different fonts, random colors across the site, it puts your company in a very grey area. A customer would be more hesitant to buy a product from you if your company doesn't look like its well put together. A cohesive image gives a customer a subconscious feeling that the company is more professional. The customer trusts the company because the image is complete and appears trusting to the customer. That translates to them spending their hard earned dollars with you and not your competitor.
This all starts with your mission and vision statements. Now, you might think mission and vision are the same thing but they are actually very different. A companies mission statement is the reason they are in business, what does your company stand for? The vision statement is where a company sees themselves in the future; 5 year and 10 year goals. You'll find a lot of these things all tie together when building a business. Once you realize what your why is, you build things around that.
Next we look at your logo. Logos need to convey your mission statement. the font and colors you use all have underlying messages. Walmart uses reds and orange around prices so its easier for the customer to find. They put their associates in blue so they blend in. Blue is calming, peaceful, oranges evoke decision making, purples demand respect. The colors demand certain emotions and when tied with specific fonts can make people feel a certain type of way. This can tie into the mission and vision statements. If your goal is to help customers more money and be successful maybe you throw a splash of green in your logo as green signifies success. Now when you have a base color we can reference the color wheel to see what colors compliment each other properly. Color science is extremely important to providing a professional image.
From there out social media posts, websites, articles, blogs, they all need to have the same color scheme and style to them. You want a customer to glance at a page and instantly know it's your company. When you look at that signature Walmart blue and yellow spark, the signature McDonald's yellow arches, the Target logo. no words or letter, but just based on the color, you instantly know who it belongs to. This is what you want to achieve for your company. This falls under branding.
The second half of branding is reputation. What do people think when they see or hear anything relating to your company. Take Walmart's tagline for example, "save money, live better", when people see the Walmart spark, they think of that, they think cheaper prices, rollbacks, clearance, finding anything you need quickly. Your logo, tagline, mission and vision statements all tie in to creating a reputation. Customer service is another big thing. Is your company known for having amazing customer service and putting the customer first. Is it known for having a great product? This is the other half of branding, the long lasting impression. Let's take any multi level marketing company like Primavera or Motorclub of America; These companies have franchise style business models where affiliates get paid to sell product and bring in other "franchisees". The good thing about this is anyone has the potential to make a significant amount of money with the right tools. The negative side is that not everyone has the same moral values so some tend to do "less than ethical" business moves and this reflects on the rest of the company. Now there's a negative stigma on multi level companies due to these types of factors.
Now, when we look at all these factors as a whole we can use them together to achieve a specific goal. This is the Branding strategy. This can be applied to the company as a whole, a new product line, remodels and rebrands and more. What do we want the client to think/feel/do when they see anything related to the project/product/company.
One thing that many new companies forget when creating a new brand is the target audience. Choosing what avenue to market through, what font and color to use is not only about what you want your image to say about your company, but who your target actually is. You wouldn't want to use sharp fonts and bold colors if your advertising to kids. You have to put yourself in the mind of your ideal customer and figure out what they would like to see or expect to see from you.
Now after talking about things to try to do right during branding. let's look at 7 common mistakes companies made during branding.
1. Branding the wrong products
Some companies are desperate to get their names out there and get into as much as they can that they partner with companies that don't make sense when it comes to their image. As a company with a specific type of reputation, partnering with a company that has the opposite type of reputation can hurt your image. This is true of specific products as well. You have to be mindful of every partnership and collaboration.
2. Focusing on only visuals
Some companies think that the logo and graphics are all branding is. As stated above by Jeff Bezos and in this article. Reputation is just as important.
3. Not considering SEO in todays world
In a world where there are 5.4 billion searches daily, it would be a disservice to not include search engines optimization (SEO) into the mix. Your google presence can be responsible for just as many if not more leads than any other avenue. It's important to go diversify your marketing and branding strategy across multiple avenues.
4. trust your marketing plan
Some companies formulate a plan and as soon as they see their efforts falling short, they are quick to change the plan or stop what they're doing. Marketing and branding are both things that take time to build up. SEO, for example, takes roughly 6 months of effort before it even begins to start working. Marketing also compounds on itself. You start off with 1 campaign look at the successes and go off that to build. Some people forget to have the patience, they think it's not working and try to switch or adjust too early and it only results in more time and money wasted.
5. Not Niching down
This one has a lot of controversy, Some companies want to offer every product they can think of thinking it'll make customers want to do all their business with them, but a jack of all trades is a master of none. It is more important and usually more successful when you niche down and get really good at 1 specific thing than trying to do a bunch of different things at once. Master your domain before trying to offer other things. Does it make sense for a videographer to try to offer marketing if their videos aren't already at the top of their game? even in videography there are weddings, marketing, product/ecommerce, real estate, music videos. many different types of videos. Videographers can niche down even more and pick a specific type of video. It's vital to master your craft before taking on more. Amazon started off as a book store before beginning to sell other things.
6. Failing to differentiate
In today's age with social media and tech the way they are, people are getting bombarded with ads and messages nonstop. We consume content at such an insane rate and it's growing exponentially each year. Your companies ads need to stand out from the competition. Take what makes your company special and accentuate it to the maximum. Make your company stand out in the sea of social media.
7. Ignoring Brand Aging
Brand aging is exactly what it sounds like. Some companies have been around for decades some even centuries. rebranding is important to stay up to date with the times and keep a fresh face. Graphic Design, like fashion and pretty much everything else in life, goes through phases. If a company fails to update their look from time to time, it could come off as that company being stuck in their ways and a customer/client being turned off to working with them because of that. Strategic rebranding is sometimes necessary.
Branding is crucial to the success of a company. A professional image and good reputation is one thing that every major company has in common. Keep this article in mind when working on your next endeavor.