Keep Loving your Brand
Maintain strong relationships with clients, customers and potential followers.
Have you ever thought really deeply why you love your favourite brand?
Have you ever noticed your gut reaction?
If you think back to a retail brand that you love, maybe a handbag, a nice shirt or trainer brand. Is it just the product, quirky stitching, the fabric or colour selection, or is there something in the story that is woven around the product, what it stands for, how it makes you feel? Is it the feeling that you identify with, as it helps you represent yourself as being a particular type of person, savvy, streetwise, urban, smart, quirky.
Do you know the reasons you react like you do, have you ever analysed it?
Creating your brand message
The same can apply to your brand; what are the key values you set out to portray?
Professional, caring, fun loving, environmentally aware, contemporary, approachable. You would have defined these values to build your brand when you started your business or launched your product. But do you keep checking in that you are still using them? Have your communications still got the strength of those first exciting days of getting your message out there. Hopefully if you have got to know deeper what you want to say, your message has got stronger.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF YOUR BRAND
are made very quickly, in under TEN seconds.
Like any good relationship it takes effort to maintain that first excitement and not become complacent. A good first impression can easily turn from delight to disappointment, if initial wow factors become diluted.
Customer feedback (Your Quality Control Department)
If you are not sure how you are coming across, ask your best customers, if they are your best customers, do you want more of the same? If you have a good relationship, they will be happy to share. Ask for the bad bits too, although maybe you already know what isn’t working, as no one is responding to them. Think about your social media campaigns, which bits do your customers respond to the most?
(a strong reality check is good for the soul!)
Does your brand still make sense is it still coherent, are you still using the same language, does it make sense to your audience?
Keep doing it (consistency is vital)
There are some core elements within a brand to help maintain consistency. Hopefully your branding designer has given you some guidelines or references to help keep you doing it the same.
Colours: Do you have CMYK colours for print? (if it is a single colour in print you may even need a Pantone colour)
RGB colours for digital – social media, blogs and website
Typefaces: Make sure you use consistent typefaces and styles. Try to use the typefaces suggested by the designer for headings and main text. Sometimes this might not be possible, for example if you need to choose a webfont for your website.
Inconsistent type jars and can dilute the brand.
Typography is a subtle art, from size of type, spacing and alignment, if you are getting stuck, it might be time to call the specialists back in.
Imagery – Photography: If you started out with professional photography to get you going, maintain that high standard, poor images can look like you are not taking your business seriously. Many photographers have a clear style, lighting, shadows, focal point. Try to maintain the same style throughout then your customers know it is still your visual story before they read the words. Do think about the right type of image for where it is being used. You can be more informal with Facebook than Instagram, which needs more visual care.
Illustrations: These can be great to set a really distinctive tone, but if using clip art or stock imagery remember how many other people also have access to these images, you will not be so unique if others are using the same image. Using different illustration styles can also be confusing, as if more than one voice is being used.
Do throw in a curved ball
OK, so everything so far has been about consistency, but it doesn’t hurt to throw in the odd curved ball (beachball in our case), just to wake everybody up and again. But this could be sharing something personal when your company usually just shows a corporate face. Do you have a sporting challenge coming up, raising money for a charity, achieved a lifelong ambition, have a quirky hobby (not too much of this though and keep it clean)?
The bits you need to keep loving
A checklist of the bits you need to keep consistent on, is in our first impressions blog:
Do you need a specialist team?
To carry out brand communications consistently takes time. Are you better spending time on the bits that you do best, where you earn your money? If you feel comfortable with all your marketing materials it makes sales and sharing what you do sooo much easier. Do you really need to do everything in your business? Will it take the stress out of your communications to work with others that can give you a clearer visual understanding?
Do you need advice to make your brand consistent, keep loving your brand and keep those great clients and customers coming back for more?