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Branding
Graphic Design

Secrets to Creating a Visual Brand Identity That Sets You Apart

Secrets to Creating a Visual Brand Identity That Sets You Apart

8 Key Areas You Want to Keep Your Visual Brand Consistent

 

Have you ever wondered what your social media followers think about you?

 

Is it possible for you are sending mixed messages to your prospects?

 

This month we’re talking about the importance of personal branding and how it helps your business. This article ties closely in with that regarding your visual brand – essentially how you come across to others.

 

Over the years I have seen a lot of business owners who haven’t taken time to define their brand. They don’t understand when businesses stray from their brand, it dilutes their brand power and impact. Or worse, they have nothing about them that sets them apart.

 

As a result, they complain they are attracting the wrong customers or hardly getting any leads at all…

 

This “me too” method of marketing that mimics what competitors are doing isn’t effective.

 

That’s why I feel compelled to share more what a visual brand is and how to build a strong one online.

 

Whether you’re creating a new brand or updating your existing one, your brand’s visual identity is the most important factor in your marketing.

 

Your brand is so much more than a website and a logo. It’s a user’s total experience and perception of you.

 

So every touchpoint a prospect has with you should have one consistent look and theme. This includes your logo, website, stationery, social media, videos, brochures, business cards, and of course your personal brand in how you dress and present yourself to the world.

 

A solid visual brand:

 

– It helps people know what to expect from you.

 

– Promotes professionalism and purpose.

 

– Draws prospects who align with your ideas, attitudes, and values.

 

– Enhances confidence, trust, and rapport with your followers.

 

– Builds upon the existing brand experience they have with you in a positive (or a negative) way.

 

Visual branding adds real power to your marketing. It increases engagement and understanding.

 

With all these benefits to personal and professional branding, it’s more important than ever to brand your visual content and images so you stand out from competitors.

 

How Can You Keep Your Brand Consistent?

 

You write blog articles and posts every day. You are working back and forth on projects. How can you be certain that all the marketing you do resonates with your core brand?

 

Creating a style guide makes it easier to keep your marketing pieces consistent.

 

Firstly, ensure your brand is consistent in the following areas:

 

– Headshot – Having a professional headshot goes a long way in developing brand trust.

 

– Logo – your logo is the nucleus of your brand, everything else stems from that. Ensure it’s designed properly which includes the psychology of what it represents.

 

– Colour Palette – Colours that will resonate with your target market and be meaningful to your brand.

 

– Brand Message – This is the essence of your business that includes your slogan or tagline of who you are, what you do, and how you deliver value.

 

– Fonts – Being consistent with the same one or two typefaces throughout all written materials as well as graphics

 

– Design Elements – The use of borders, lines, shadows, and filters should all become familiar with being associated with your visual brand.

 

– Tone – Set the tone of your business presence and stick to it – whether serious, high-tech, sarcastic, or soulful, this is a big part of building a solid brand presence.

 

Create a Style Guide as Your Roadmap

 

A style guide acts like a map that helps your team to stay on track. Sharing your style guide with key members of your team can ensure everyone knows the style guidelines and can follow them.

 

– Your copywriter and social media manager will understand how to write with your brand voice.

– Your graphic designer will stick to the fonts and colours your brand is known for.

– Your web design team can make sure your website and landing pages all have the same look and feel.

 

This is especially important for companies with virtual employees spanning in multiple geographic regions. Make it easy for your team to access your logo, fonts, and templates. Always protect your brand. Double-check when new marketing pieces come in that they conform to brand guidelines.

 

Here are 8 areas you will want to keep your brand consistent in everything you do in your business marketing and social media efforts:

 

1. Website

 

Your website is the biggest brand statement your business has. It serves as a reference to make sure all other brand elements are in alignment.

 

That’s why I am so against people who use cookie-cutter template sites. They may look polished, but they lack the warmth, connection, and personality of a branded website (not to mention how badly they are built.)

 

Make sure the images you use are reflective of your ideal client. Use language that resonates with your target audience. Create an about page that helps your visitors understand your backstory and why you are passionate and good at what you do.

 

The more your website looks and feels like you, the stronger the attraction tool it will be for potential clients.

 

2. Professional Headshot

 

I was very camera shy when I first started my business. So when it came time to get some updated headshots, I dreaded it. But I found that going through the process brought me confidence.

 

My new headshots are used as a personal and business branding tool that helps me to be more recognized online. They are on all my social media profiles and on our website. As a result, people recognize me when I attend local networking events.

 

Investing in new headshots can truly jumpstart your brand and success.

 

3. Sharing Photos

 

Sharing photos makes your marketing more personable and showcases your personal brand. Consumers love seeing the real person behind the business.

 

So be mindful of when you are working or in group situations and see how you can snap pictures to show followers what you are up to.

 

Take a picture holding your new book. Grab a shot with a new friend you met while networking. Show the resort you are staying at for your business mastermind.

 

4. Video

 

Creating videos helps build a strong following online. It’s important to have your videos match your brand too. Dress in a manner that is consistent with your brand.

 

You could also shoot it in similar places or locations. Whether that’s sitting at your desk, cooking in the kitchen, or standing in front of a green screen with a projected background, that consistent setting helps build familiarity.

 

Be warm, friendly, and connective. If you promise to offer weekly video tips, then get them out on the same day each week so viewers can anticipate them. Create a custom hashtag for your video tips too.

 

5. Branded Images

 

Kick up the interest of your blog articles and social media with images. There are loads of free tools to help you make graphic quotes, infographics, and other visuals to add impact.

 

Make sure all your graphic images are consistent with your brand. Adding your logo makes it easy for people to instantly recognize the content is from you.

 

6. Social Media

 

Social media provides so many opportunities for visual branding. From Facebook cover images to profile pics, to graphics, there are endless opportunities for people to learn more about what you do.

 

The images you use can evoke the feelings and emotions you want your brand to convey. The goal is for someone to look at your social media account and get an impression that helps them understand your unique vibe.

 

7. Free Giveaways

 

When you are offering free reports, tools, and other goodies to visitors, make sure they have the same colours, logos, and visual feel as your other materials.

 

When it looks professional and makes a great impression, it builds credibility. Plus, it’s just one more piece of the brand puzzle that helps them understand what you do.

 

8. Email Signature

 

A graphic email signature can add a visual impact to every message you send. Services like Wisestamp make it easy to add your logo, picture, and social media links to your email signature.

 

Have your virtual team members set up a signature too so you come across as a professional team to your customers.

 

Are you a Wanna Be or a Real Brand?

 

It’s really important to take a look at your brand as a whole to make sure everything is in alignment.

 

Is your visual brand

 

– Clear,

– consistent,

– Authentic,

– Memorable, and

– In alignment with changes in the marketplace, your offerings, or your success?

 

Even if your brand was on target 3 years ago, the nature of your business may have changed where your brand no longer accurately reflects what you do or who you serve.

 

You have become more specialized. You may have new product offerings. Maybe you are now the host of a new podcast.

 

Take a look at your brand with the eyes of an outsider and ask yourself if what you see truly reflect who you are now as a company.

 

 

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Susan_Friesen/260293

 

Social Media Marketing
Marketing Monday

Do You Know the Difference Between Social Networking, Social Media and Social Marketing?

Do You Know the Difference Between Social Networking, Social Media, and Social Marketing?

When I discuss social networking, social media, SEO, SEM, and social marketing with small business owners for the first time, many are overwhelmed and confused about what they really are and how they impact their business. They know that they are all important, but not sure why. They know they need to establish an effective social web presence, but not sure how. If you feel similar frustration, let me share a little light on a couple of these subjects.

 

What is Social Media?

 

In a nutshell, social media is content designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using social tools such as social networks, business networks, forums, bookmarking, video sharing, etc. Social media are web-based technologies that transform traditional broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many). It allows you to not just talk at your customer; it allows you to talk with and interact with your customer in a way that was never possible before.

 

What is Social Marketing?

 

Social Marketing is the actual marketing strategy and implementation of your efforts to effectively market yourself on the internet utilizing social media and social networks as well as related strategies that utilize SEO “Search Engine Optimization” and SEM “Search Engine Marketing/Monetization.”

 

Wikipedia describes social media marketing as:

 

“the act of using social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other collaborative Internet form of media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service. Common social media marketing tools include Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube.”

 

Where I believe that most small business owners run into trouble is that they see the action side of social marketing and not the planning side of social marketing. The action side has two primary components:

 

  1. Create traffic through videos, tweets, or even blog entries that attract attention, link energy and become viral in nature. Traffic and link energy is the element that makes social marketing effective, it replicates a message, not through the purchase of an ad, but thorough user to user contact.
  2. Identify and connect with visitors and capture targeted connections, prospects and customers. Building a base for your brand or company to grow from.

 

Action for the sake of it is ineffective. Many company’s implement social media marketing campaigns because they either are told it is important or their competition is doing it. They jump in doing what they see and hear everyone else doing, accomplish nothing and become frustrated by the time and money that they have wasted.

 

Defining Your Small Business SMS “Social Marketing Strategy”

 

Before you jump into social marketing head first, you need to establish an effective SMS “Social Marketing Strategy” that will identify

 

  • What are your internet presence goals and objectives? (Develop a contact list, website monetization, marketing information, brand development)
  • Who is your target connection and customer that you want to attract, identify and capture?
  • What are the most effective social networks and media tools to reach your target and achieve your goals?

 

You can not be all things to all people. Only after you ask and answer the three questions above can you develop and implement an effective social media marketing campaign that will be successful and achieve your goals. Now you may have multiple plans, using multiple social resources, but the key is to always start with the SMS!

 

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Bill_Sifflard/417539

 

Social Marketing, Elula, Social Media, Marketing Monday
Marketing Monday

A Brief Guide to Social Marketing Management and the Importance of Getting It Right

Absolutely. No one needs to tell you how popular sites like Twitter and Facebook are in this day and age. But do you realise the potential value to your business? Chances are your company has a Facebook page, upon which you idly post from time to time. Or maybe you ‘tweet’ the odd comment. In which case you probably haven’t noticed the benefit to your business. Put a little more time and energy (and yes, money probably) into social media and social marketing management however and you could build a valuable platform for yourself and your customers.

 

Why is social marketing management important?

 

A social marketing management team is there to enhance a brand and promote the business. The end goal is the same as a traditional marketing team. It is simply the channels through which that goal is achieved that are different.

 

Social media is the new way of connecting with customers. A social marketing management team will use information gleaned from social media to learn about their customers – who they are, what they are thinking, what appeals to them.

 

Social media can also be used to create a brand identity, by encouraging customers to talk about the brand in the right way. Discussions can be started and led and conversations steered. Social media is a valuable tool when it comes to creating a buzz about a product or brand. The social marketing management team are there to ensure the right buzz is created and a positive image is generated by social media.

 

It is difficult to measure the effect of social media on businesses, as often there is no clear link between the level of activity on social media sites and the resulting return on that level of activity. However, a recent study from the School of Management at the Buffalo State University of New York showed that if customers are engaged in the business via a social media platform, they are more likely to visit the website than customers who are not engaged in this way. This then translates to income for the business.

 

Ram Bezawada, assistant professor of marketing at the University, stated: “Our results show that when customers engage with a business through social media they contribute about 5.6% more to the firm’s bottom line than customers who do not.”

 

So how does social media encourage customers to visit the company’s website or take a closer look at the business? For one, social media strengthens the relationship between the customer and the business. It creates a bond between the two and the customer feels more engaged and involved in the company, which translates into the customer feeling listened to and understood.

 

This leads on to the next point: social media can provide a valuable platform for customers to voice their comments, concerns and complaints. It might not seem like a good idea to offer a medium upon which customers can air their complaints for all the world to see, however it can provide an invaluable opportunity to turn things around – a complaint that is promptly and sensitively handled will impress customers and win loyalty. Of course, social media might also be the platform upon which a customer will heap their praise, too, letting all the other potential customers know about their positive experience. There is no better form of endorsement.

 

As Bezawada from the State University of New York states, “When building communities, businesses should craft personalized messages, encourage member contribution, integrate knowledge about customers from both online and offline interactions, and create specialized sub-communities for customers looking for premium and unique products.”

 

However, creating personalised messages and encouraging contributions from customers takes time. Taking it one step further and using customer interactions to glean knowledge takes even more time and requires a good degree of analysis. Which is where the social marketing management team come in. Good analysis of the data from social media can drive corporate strategy.

 

What does social marketing management involve?

 

Social marketing management involves managing the company’s social channels. This sounds obvious, but a social marketing team does not simply monitor and respond to customer comments and prepare content such as blogs, posts and newsletters. Social marketing management also involves assessing the best methods and technology to boost web traffic to the business, looking at areas such as search engine optimisation, user experience and content.

 

The next step on the social marketing management list is reporting. Numbers are important: click-throughs, fans, followers, tweets, comments, posts; and so is the less concrete information that can be gleaned – customer feedback, good and bad, reflects brand perception and how customers feel generally about the brand.

 

This type of customer feedback can then be used by management to figure out how to deliver improved performance to their customers and improve their user experience. It engages the management team with the customer on a personal level in a way in which they haven’t been able to do before.

 

Where might a business expect to spend money on social marketing management?

 

Well, that depends on the level of complexity of your business and social media campaigns. There are customer relationship management tools and software platforms that can perform analytics and automated email campaigns, for which you might pay $1,000 to $4,000 a month.

 

For a fee of perhaps $5,000 to $16,000 a business can employ a specialist company to provide inbound marketing support. Typically, a good social marketing management strategy might involve: keyword analysis and strategy, content creation such as blogs, SEO content and PR Social media support (setup, training and guidance), email campaigns, customer relationship management, competitor monitoring and analysis and performance reports, to name but a few elements.

 

Another cost consideration is content creation. The larger your campaign, the more online content you’ll need to create, and unless you have the internal resources to create this content, you’ll need to outsource it to writers.

 

This all sounds fairly pricey and the costs do add up. However, as with any marketing spend, it will pay you back. Or it should, provided you do it right.

 

In a nutshell?

 

It can’t really be described in a single ‘nutshell’. This is because social marketing management is not only about increasing web traffic and driving up revenue, it is also about creating an identity for the company, developing a personality for the business or creating a buzz around a new product. It’s about generating conversations between the customers and the business and creating an online community for the customers to get involved with. It’s much more than just lurking on the company Facebook page and popping up to write the odd witty post or deal with a customer complaint. It is promotion, branding, market research and customer care all wrapped up into one.

 

Which is why social marketing management is so important in this new digital era businesses find themselves in. And why it’s worth investing in. Get it right and it could transform an ailing company. Get it wrong and it can alienate and disillusion a customer base. Ignore it all together and valuable market share will be lost in droves.

 

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Tsveta_Zikolova/1208566