Six tips to help you build the right brand image for your business

Is your image letting down your business? Find out why branding is so important, and read six tips to help you get yours right.

We all know the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.’ But what about that other well known expression: ‘first impressions count’?

When a potential customer comes across your business for the first time, whether it’s looking at your website or your Facebook page or even chatting about it at the school gates, it’s definitely the latter that rings true.

Trethowans

Setting up your own business can be an exciting but daunting task, and more often than, not startups run on limited resources.

And one obvious way to save money is to implement your own social media campaigns and promotions – one of the most accessible ways to build your brand. After all, how hard can it be? We all browse Facebook, we are addicted to the beautiful photographs on Instagram and know that tweeting can help you become president of the USA!

Too many brands aren’t consistent

Seriously though, all too often there is no consistency within our social media feeds. Running your own social media campaign takes time, research and knowledge but above all consistency. Consistency is about linking together your style and content across all platforms, making sure your business message is clear to your potential customers.

Your image is what people will first see when they view your business and will form an opinion about you and your services, which will in turn effect your sales.

Even the big corporates can get brand consistency wrong. Remember when Royal Mail tried to change its name to Consignia? Or when British Airways famously removed the Union Jack from its aeroplane tail fin in an attempt to make it less ‘British’ (only to reinstate the flag on its tail fins just two years later).

How not having a professional brand cost Anna money…

To give you a more relatable example, let’s take Anna. After having children she wanted a change of career, one that was less corporate and more flexible to fit in around her family and allow her to help others. So she re-trained as a specialist sports therapist, obtained relevant qualifications, invested in a suitable treatment space and bought the necessary equipment.

Unfortunately, this meant that most of her budget had been consumed – so she didn’t have money to spend on marketing and branding.

Instead, Anna relied on word of mouth to find customers, using her large network of friends. She also dabbled on a personal level in social media. Initially business was slow and the treatment room sat empty for longer than Anna cared to admit.

… and how she eventually built one

Over time Anna realised she had no consistent image; her social media was haphazard and as a result she had no real brand identity. So she sought professional help to devise a simple marketing strategy working out what her key messages were, what image she was trying to portray, and designed a logo which reflected both her personality and her business.

Anna then set up business social media accounts and used her logo, colour schemes and content style to tie everything together whilst making sure her business image and message was clear for all to see. Anna was now on her way to creating a recognisable brand which clearly demonstrated her beliefs.

Anna also had to make sure she was her brand ambassador,and that wherever she went she was representing her business. From how she looked when she was meeting potential clients, to how she talked about her business, to what she posted on social media – even the fun posts. Yes, this was one vast commitment but setting up a successful business takes commitment on every level.

Six tips to help you build the right brand image

If you’re contemplating either setting up a new business, or are currently running one, ask yourself if the image your customers see is the one you would like them to perceive. Is your business communication clear and consistent?

Here are six useful tips for helping you to build the right brand image for your business.

1) Make sure everything reflects your key message

Everything you say or do, from your logo and your website, to your social media posts and your newsletters, needs to reflect your key message. This is your image and how you will be perceived by your customers, and could determine future business.

2) Check your key messages are right

Work out at least three key messages that reflect your core values. Do some research, ask around, and check what your competitors are saying or doing. What makes you unique and stand out from the crowd? It’s possible that you will have different messages for your customers to those for your investors or suppliers.

3) Get to know your ideal customer

Who exactly is your ideal customer? Put yourself in their shoes and develop a persona for them. What makes them tick? What are their interests and hobbies. Give them a name if it helps to make them more real. Most businesses have several types of ideal customers, so try to understand their way of thinking.

4) Speak clearly

Once you know your ideal customer, talk to them in their language, write clearly and keep it simple. This is especially true with social media – dont use industry jargon or fancy words. Get to the point and keep the content uncomplicated and concise. Build communication with your customers, be personable and engage with them.

5) Ensure everyone’s on message

Make sure that anyone who works for you is clear on the messages you are trying to get across. Have some simple guidelines for them to defer to, their image and communications will reflect on your business.

6) Be consistent

Consistency is vital to getting your message across, promoting your business and increasing brand awareness. Keep consistency at the forefront of your business, and you will create a recognisable business image, build a greater business reputation and generate an enduring successful business.

Piggy Goes to Market provide brand audits, media communications including press releases and event promotions. They also specialise in copywriting, getting inside the minds of your customers to provide powerful content and words for your brand.

Love a free brand audit? The first five businesses to email Piggy Goes to Market will receive a free audit (worth £150) that analyses their brand’s strengths and weaknesses, plus a brand overview covering perception, image and reputation of the brand within the market.

Photo by huyen