Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Your Brand, Your Way
An online presence for you 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.
Blooming Footprint has been working on the BLVD brand for a few years now. From their main website, to their blog, Faceboook page and store, we are consistent in using logos, fonts, colors and style anywhere on the internet and in marketing collateral. This presents a clear and consistent identity while providing the information fans need in places where they can easily find it.
Is Branding Important?
Branding is essential in the current competitive business climate, and building an identity online might even be more important. 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 reflects your other marketing materials including 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 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. Through the use of New Media you can shape your image and tell your brand's story, while building meaningful relationships that foster loyalty and promote advocacy. Create exclusive experiences for fans and loyal customers and reinforce those emotional attachment. A brand is now defined as the sum of all conversations taking place around it and these conversations are happening with or without you. You need to start paying attention and participate.
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.