Is your Lack of Branding Leading to Financial Loss?
By Sarah Hillegas
Branding is the development of your business’s look in combination with your business’s purpose. The visual aspects of your brand include your logo, color selection, fonts, and patterns. This usually seems to be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your brand, but there is more to it than that. The less obvious, but extremely important part of branding, includes a strong mission statement and slogan.
The establishment of this mission and tagline will assist in combining your visual appeal with your business’s purpose. Your company objective, also known as your “why,” will be a deciding factor when a potential customer is trying to determine if you are a good fit for them. How you present your look with your overall purpose defines your business as a whole entity. This also defines how your audience (or ideal customer-base) views and defines you.
Branding Your Business
If you are just starting out and haven’t established key aspects of your brand now is the time to establish it. The following are a few key factors to consider:
Have a brainstorm session to start making your branding ideas a reality. If you’re not sure where to get started, begin with a rough draft of your mission statement. Once you have a draft, find images that you connect with using your company purpose as inspiration. Use those images to sketch a logo and to select colors and coordinating fonts. If you aren’t the creative type recruit a friend or freelancer to help you.
Now with ideas in place, you can recruit your family and friends to poll which visuals they connect most with your mission statement. When your visual image connects closely with your external perception, your brand will be viewed as authentic. This means that your company identity is meeting the expectations of others. Being perceived as genuine will assist in building trust with prospective customers. In fact, in a recent article by Fortune magazine, trust was coined the most powerful currency in business, so it is extremely valuable to build and maintain a brand that conveys trust. Having a brand that isn’t sincere may lead to a lack of this form of currency, which could be financially devastating.
Perhaps you already have all of the above created, but your brand is inconsistently represented. Unfortunately, this could cause you to lose potential customers while concurrently diminishing the trust you do have with your current customer base. If you are struggling with consistency in online or print advertising your business would benefit from creating a mood board or style guide. These commodities can be used for both internal and external marketing purposes to provide a quick visual overview of your brand. A mood board is typically a one-page document that includes your logo, fonts, and colors. This material can be shared with anyone who is doing marketing projects for your business, whether internally or externally, to improve brand communication and consistency. Having this prepared in advance will help prevent major branding errors. Some businesses like to take their branding a step further by creating a full style-guide.
A style guide is a more detailed version of a mood board and can span from three to 20 pages. Style guides specify the precise ways a brand should be represented. In addition to the visual aspects of the brand, style guides provide language about how each specific item can be used. Style guides also provide information about the tone needed for written content or copy. If you would like to see examples of some awesome style-guides check out this article on Canva’s blog.
Ensuring It Works
What if you are working for a company that doesn’t have a mood board or style guide and you notice that their lack of brand consistency is impacting their revenue?
First, establish specific examples of how this issue has resulted in a loss of revenue. Examples may be a high bounce rate on their website, plenty of customer interest without follow-through, negative customer reviews, or direct feedback from customers. Find a way to present this information that is respectful of whoever is in charge of marketing for your business. At the same time, have a potential solution for this issue already prepared. If you have the skills to develop a mood board or style guide on your own this could be an opportunity for you to provide more value in your current position. If this isn’t a skill you personally possess make sure you have a list of local companies or freelancers that could provide this service for the business you work for. You don’t want to expose a problem without a solution.
Do you need help developing a mood board or style guide? Schedule a free 20-minute phone call today to get started.