Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What's All This Chatter About Branding?

An online presence for your business is an opportunity to establish a consistent brand through the various services and sites that you use. Branding is a simple concept: determining what distinguishes your business, and then marketing it consistently and persistently. Your brand then becomes your identity.

Is Branding Important?
Branding is essential in the current competitive business climate, and building an identity online might even be more important. Your logo and website should be the #1 tool in the promotion of your business. There is a logical reason that what people do on the Web is called "surfing," not "reading." The Web is all about speed: take a look...click...that's not what I want...let me try this...click...no...click...not that...click...YES!

Think of a website as the ultimate "elevator pitch." An elevator pitch is a 30-second pitch that entices the prospect to want to hear more. You have to provide people with a compelling reason to go to your site and remain there rather than moving on to a competitor's site.

Communicating Your Brand Online
Your brand should be reflected in every facet of your online presence, from your website name to the colors you use. There are several factors to consider for a consistent online brand:
  • Choose a web address that identifies your business and is easy to spell.

  • Create a site layout and writing style that will be reflected in all of your online and offline marketing materials including the tone/voice, colors, logos and even the font you use.

  • Visitors want to know about the products or services you offer and how you differ from your competition.

  • Tell your customers your company history, why you are in your industry and why you are the best!

  • Get on the social media bus by starting a blog, joining social networks and engaging with others via forums or micro-blogging communities.

  • Photos and videos help reflect your company's culture, your staff and your products.

  • Publish general information about your industry and expertise through the use of a blog or FAQ.

  • Nothing can build a brand more effectively than satisfied customer testimonials.

Increase Your Visibility
After you grasp the big picture, you can then start being more creative in your space. Start listening to the conversations happening and get involved. Tracking this is really the hardest part and Blooming Footprint can help you. We can teach you to listen and lead these conversations, create brand awareness and visibility, gain consumer insight while measuring the effectiveness. It is imperative to establish a dialog with your potential customers, know what is being said about your industry and competitors while being transparent to gain information about the personality, preferences and points of view of your potential customers.

The Bottom Line
Remember, you're not coming up with a "whole new identity" for the Web. Instead, your web presence should reflect and reaffirm your company's existing brand. Keep in mind that every element of your site - logos, photos, colors, type style, writing style, and content - can contribute positively to your brand and win customers.

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