Branding is such a commonly used word in marketing that its real meaning can almost become overlooked in the sea of marketing terminology!
What exactly is a ‘brand image’?
Whether you sell a product or a service, your brand is the thing that identifies your business and makes it stand out from your competition. It’s not just physical features that create a brand, but the emotions that people associate with it, too – positive and negative!
Physical features include your business name, logo, visual identity and the messages you communicate through your marketing materials.
The emotions that people connect to your brand are much more nuanced and harder for you to control. Part of this relates to how they feel about your overall brand message; for example, they may share your values of not testing on animals or reducing waste. Another part relates to the experiences they’ve had when interacting with your business, from how your website works to your customer service.
The combination of all these factors impacts how people perceive your business, influencing how they talk about it to others and if they choose to buy from you!
Why brand image is important
People want to buy from brands they feel connected to.
Having a really good brand image will:
- Help people identify you amongst the competition
- Give them a reason to choose YOUR products and services
- Attract new customers and return loyal ones
- Add vitality to your business
- Add value to all your other marketing efforts!
Ultimately, people want to buy from brands they feel connected to and who make them feel good!
Here are 8 ways to improve your business branding:
1. Be visually consistent
Branding isn’t just about your logo … but your logo is still important!
Whenever people encounter your business, they make a snap decision about what they think of you. Good, bad or indifferent! Your visuals should immediately communicate what you’re about and say something about your brand’s personality. Some of the ways this can be achieved is through carefully selected colour palettes, fonts and using a certain style of photography.
From your packaging to your website, your newsletter graphics to the filters you use on social media, the overall aesthetics of your brand should be instantly recognisable. Make sure you apply the same visual style across all aspects of your business to boost your brand image.
2. Use a consistent tone of voice
Having a clear tone of voice across all your communications adds personality to your brand and should be consistent across all your marketing platforms and business materials.
When done well, it makes it easier to influence readers and make them feel a certain way – creating a memorable impression of your brand that people can connect to positively.
Customers like to know what to expect when they interact with a business, and consistency is key to this, building trust and familiarity. This in turn means they’ll be more likely to recommend you to their friends and family.
3. Know what you stand for
Have a clear understanding of the values your company stands for.
Make sure you communicate your brand values to every employee in your company. They should be your brand advocates and represent your values in every interaction they have with existing and potential customers.
When every touchpoint of your business reflects what you’re about, over time you will build a strong and authentic brand.
4. Live your values
If you’re committed to protecting the environment, then make sure that everyone who works for you plays their part in reducing their carbon footprint and reducing plastic use. Use incentives to get people to cycle to work or adopt a healthier lifestyle. If you use packaging, make sure it’s carefully selected to be as responsible as possible.
By making sure that every part of your business is aligned in this way, you can control the experiences that people have when they interact with you.
5. Be purposeful about social media
Social media is an amazing tool for interacting with your target audience, allowing you to actively engage with people and create a real personality around your brand. Use social media as a way to start conversations, add value to what you offer and be helpful.
Even if you’re not using it very much, you can be sure that potential customers are looking at your online profiles to find out more about you!
6. Unlock the power of digital marketing
If your target audience doesn’t know about your brand, you’re not going to increase your sales!
Most people will research online before making a purchase, so incorporating digital into your marketing strategy can help build a positive brand image for your company.
For example, using SEO to move up the search rankings in Google will mean that your website is seen by an audience who are searching for what you offer. Likewise, investing in pay-per-click advertising will get your brand name seen by your target audience.
Even if you aren’t ranking number 1 on Google, through paid or organic means, just having your brand name on the first page will help build trust with your audience.
7. Get your website right
It might be number 7 on the list, but that doesn’t mean it’s less important. Your website is one of the most important representations of your brand. It needs to seamlessly tie together everything listed in points 1 to 6 above!
Your website needs to be easy to use and create a positive user experience that makes people want to keep coming back.
8. Ask for feedback
Finally, one of the most obvious ways to improve your brand image is to ask people what they think. Send quick and easy feedback forms to customers who have ordered from your website asking them about how happy they were with their purchase and the shopping experience. If you sell a service, follow with people and find out how they felt it about it All this will help you identify any common areas of weakness and help you make a plan to improve.
Improving your brand image takes time and the impact isn’t always easy to measure, but the long term impact is huge and makes it one of the most important things you can do for your business.
Get in touch if you want some help fine tuning and improving your business’s brand!
Or alternatively, take a look at some of our recent work!