branding.jpgIf you’re running a small to midsized business, you know there is a lot of competition out there. So, what can you do to make sure that your business stands out from your competitors and thereby attracts as many potential customers as possible? Simple: you can make sure you are building an effective “brand.” Today, we offer up a few tips for creating marketing materials that will help to create and consistently build upon a solid brand identity for your business while leaving a lasting impression on consumers.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Before you begin your own branding efforts, it would behoove you to know what your competitors are doing from a branding perspective. Take the time to do a little web research so you can see how other businesses in your sector are positioning themselves to the buying public. Then, start to think about how you would do things differently in order to distinguish yourself.

STAND OUT

Now, that you’ve seen how your competitors are branding their businesses, it’s time to focus on yours. Think about what it is that makes your business unique. Then, commit to communicating that uniqueness throughout all of your marketing materials – not just some of the time, all of the time. That way your potential customers will start to gain an understanding of what your company stands for and why they should want to do business with you.

BE BOLD

Your brand can be playful … it can be authoritative … it can be quirky … it can be mysterious … basically, it can be whatever you want it to be. However, the last thing you want your brand to be is boring. Again, the goal when building your brand is to effectively distinguish yourself from your competitors. So, don’t be afraid to take chances. Instead, embrace the challenge to create a compelling and memorable brand that you think will resonate with potential customers. You have a unique personality, your brand should too.

BE CONSISTENT

Consumers tend to trust brands that they recognize and view as dependable. That’s why one of the most important aspects of brand building is crafting a clear and consistent message (and delivering it in a consistent look and feel) to your customers. From your font and color choices to your logo and web design, make sure that every communication you create feels of a piece with each other. The last thing you want to do is to create a schizophrenic brand as this will only lead to customer confusion.

DEVELOP YOUR VOICE

Just as you should be consistent with your use of fonts, colors and logos in all of your branded communications, it’s also important that you develop a consistent brand voice. A brand voice is defined as, “the purposeful, consistent expression of a brand through words and prose styles that engage and motivate.” Whatever type of voice best suits your brand, you should commit to carrying that voice throughout all relevant marketing mediums. Think about whether you want a voice that’s say, conversational, friendly or authoritative. Then, make sure every sentence you craft on behalf of your business is written in that same tone or voice. Again, it’s all about being consistent and building up equity in your brand over time.

SOCIALIZE

The importance of social media cannot be overstated when it comes to building your brand. Social sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram offer businesses the unique opportunity to “humanize” their brands while also providing them with a forum wherein they can develop and hone their brand’s personality. As an added bonus, social sites offer endless opportunities for your followers to interact with that brand – giving you invaluable insights into your customer base that can help drive your future sales.