When people think of branding, they often associate it with having a great logo or a memorable name. But branding goes far beyond the visual aspects of your business. So what exactly is a brand?
The short answer is: everything.
Your brand includes things such as the look and feel of your website, your customer service and how you engage on social media. It represents every single aspect of your business. Your company’s branding will influence what people think about your business and whether they perceive your brand as being reliable, fun, modern, attractive, cutting edge etc.
Beyond just having a memorable logo, good branding increases the value of your company. For larger organisations it provides employees with a purpose and direction. When done correctly it can make getting new customers easier. When all of these parts of the business are working well, the overall brand tends to be in a good position.
After formalising a company, anyone serious about their new business will set themselves the tasks of:
Now whilst these are all essential and worthwhile jobs has thought gone into how the branding of the company fits in? Is it being done in the right way?
Let’s take a look at how the brand impacts your business:
It’s not surprising that the first thing people associate with branding is the logo; as it’s the first component that people tend to see. Logo design is critical because that simple graphic or icon will be on everything that you do. A professional logo design should be created so that it is simple enough to be remembered - but it must also convey the desired impression of your company.
A professional appearance builds credibility and trust. People are more likely to purchase from a business that appears professional and polished, rather than something that looks ‘cobbled together’ or done on a very tight budget. Getting this step wrong could seriously impact the success of your business. Once you have established a (bad) reputation, it’s hard to change it.
Positive recognition is essential because it develops a good relationship between your business and your customers.
Trust and Confidence
People are more likely to buy again from a company when their first experience was good, or when someone has recommended them. Through their own experience they too build confidence and trust with you and your products or services. Once you start to be recognised, you begin to distinguish yourself from your competitors. Strong brands can feel like an extension of you. Just think of the products you buy that you just wouldn’t buy from any other brand.
A strong brand, with a professional structure behind it, will begin to build loyalty. Once all the aforementioned factors are working in harmony, you are likely to have a customer base that will keep coming back for more.
Advertising is another component of your brand strategy. It is essential for your business to bring customers to you and communicate to the world what your business offers. If it resonates with your would-be customer, then your brand will draw them to your business.
It is important to have thought through what you want to advertise, how you want to advertise and where and when you want to advertise. Not thinking through your message and tactics properly may not achieve the desired effect that you want. If done badly, it could lose you money and damage your brand.
Branding enables your company to get referral business from those that are now loyal to you. This is where all companies want to be, as it is the most profitable advertising source. Word-of-mouth referrals are only possible where you have built a solid reputation on delivering a great product or service.
Let customers engage with your brand
Being on social media will allow customers the opportunity to engage directly with your brand. You can do this by simply creating a hashtag for your business, which should feature in every post you publish. This will help people remember the brand if they see this in every post.
Branding motivates employees
Many people choose the companies they want to work for because they are aligned with their ethos and practices. People often aren’t simply looking for work, but looking for their ideal employer. When employees understand your mission and reason for being, they are more likely to feel that same pride and passion and will align their attitude with the company’s.
Take the time to invest in your brand
Unfortunately, many businesses don’t prioritise branding and this is a huge mistake. Poor branding impacts your business in many negative ways and can threaten the survival of your company. Your brand is the face of your business. How do you want people to feel about your brand?
Invest the time, energy and resources to develop a brand that you’re proud of. This is not a quick win – good branding takes time and planning. But remember that it’s worth the investment and it will help boost your profits.
If you need advice on branding for your business or are looking for a website design in Essex, then look no further. Call Perfect Layout Digital Marketing on 01708 578 015, email us at email@example.com or complete the contact form below.
There are good websites and there are bad websites. If you have had a website for a while, but you find that you are not getting much from it, in terms of traffic, leads, calls etc, it could be that people are finding your website tricky to navigate or difficult to find the right information. I know it’s hard, but every six months or so, it is worth doing an audit of your website with, 'a fresh pair of eyes’, to check that everything is relevant and it all still makes sense.
Is it mobile-optimised?
The first thing to check is whether or not your website is on a mobile optimised platform? If not, the search engines will penalise your organic rankings. You will also find that customers, who have to pinch and expand the page to read the text, will more often bounce off to find another website that has a better user experience.
- Check: Is your website built on a mobile optimised platform?
Is your site easy to navigate with clear navigation buttons?
Most websites follow a similar structure which includes, a home page, an about page, pages on the services that you offer and a contact page. It may also be useful to have pages about the areas you serve, a portfolio of what you offer (whether it’s services or products) and even a testimonial page.
- Check: Are your navigation headers clear for a brand new visitor to understand?
Do you explain what you do?
It is all well and good you knowing what you do, but is this clear to your potential customers? If your business is selling products, do they have relevant descriptions that will help minimise the chance of those products being returned? If you offer a service, do you explain, in everyday language, what it is that you offer? When you work in a particular sector, it can become second nature to speak the jargon of that industry. But would everybody be able understand such specific terminology? Also make sure that you have clear headings throughout each page to make it easy to skim read. Often people are time-poor, so make your website a breeze to read through.
- Check: Is your website easy to understand? Ask a friend or family member to read through to see if it is clear to them. Do they have any questions about elements that remain unclear?
Can you add more visual elements to your website?
As they saying goes: ‘A photo tells a thousand words.’ Remember to include high resolution photos (that are saved for web) that convey clearly your products and services. If you offer a service then show before and after photos of projects that you have worked on. Be proud of the transformation that you can achieve.
- Check: What are the photos like on your site? Do you have relevant images that are crystal clear? Blurry photos will convey a slap-dash image of your company.
Do you have ways that customers can reach you?
The majority of users will be viewing your website on a mobile device. No longer is it OK to have your phone number only on the Contact Us page. Think about adding your contact details in your footer, so that it is easy to find you. If you are on a mobile optimised platform your web designer will be able to enable phone number hyperlinks, so that visitors can click on your number and call you straight away. Also think about other Call to Action buttons that you could include on each page.
- Check: How you can optimise better user engagement on every page, so that visitors can contact you immediately. Does your footer have contact details?
What are your customers saying about you?
If you are getting positive feedback from clients, then add this to your website. Why not create a testimonial page to enable new visitors to see what your customers think of you. Lots of lovely reviews will more likely result in a new visitor engaging with you.
- Check: When did you last upload a testimonial? Visitors will look for recent reviews, so keep adding them to your site.
Is your logo on your website?
Add your logo to the top left of your pages. The readers’ eyes will read from left to right and top to bottom. So by adding your logo to the top left will ensure that it is the first thing the reader sees. This implants your branding into their memory; making it easier to remember you when they re-visit your site.
- Check: Is your logo positioned in the top left hand corner?
For more user-friendly tips for your website visit Hubspot’s article.
Is your website in need of redesigning in order to make it a more user-friendly? Or perhaps you want to take this opportunity to start afresh? Either way, give Perfect Layout Digital Marketing a call on 01708 578 015.
Whatever you think about the royal family you’ve got to admire how they’ve moved with the times. Gone are the days when the head of the monarchy influenced the love choices of her children. The old days that saw decisions being made that were more about ensuring ‘best fit’ as opposed to encouraging ‘freedom of choice’.
When the money and privileges are stripped away, the royal family really is like any other family...they have their ups and downs; some family members don’t get on; and some are just plain embarrassing!
The point is, the royal family, as a brand, continues to successfully strengthen national unity and stability. I have always felt that, overall, the British public loves the Queen and her successes, disasters and numerous emotional rollercoasters that have made up part of her 65 year reign. The royal family is a global brand and is recognised in countries across the world.
On 19 May, all eyes worldwide, will be back on them as the marriage between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle takes place at St George's Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
Perfect Layout wish them all the best on their big day and we encourage you - our readers - to think about the branding of your business. Does it have what it takes to carry your products and services forward and produce a great income for the long term?
Get in touch if you require another perspective on how your website can help create for you a solid brand that will last the test of time.
Take a look at your website. Does it convey the culture of your business and your personality?
All too often websites are faceless. The tone of the content is formal and photos have been uploaded from stock libraries that don’t truly reflect the nature of the services and/or products.
If you offer a service, where you start and finish a project, nothing will truly convey who you are and what you do better than visual files - whether that be photos or videos. We live in a world where social media is a dominating part of our lives, where reading one post can lead to 30 minutes of unplanned surfing…So why not turn this time and energy observing from the outside, to becoming somebody that is observed? By putting your real presence into your website, your personality will shine through in a positive way that will get you noticed and potentially earn you income creating leads.
Even if what you offer is a generic service, your website can incorporate a portfolio of the work you have undertaken. Excellent ways of capturing this are by having before and after shots or images that detail the progress more in-depth. If you’re not good at taking photos, why not hire a photographer that is willing to follow you around for a day or two, taking photos while you work. These don’t need to be staged, they can be documentary-style photos capturing you in a natural way.
We live in a competitive age, where businesses that do the same as you are peering over your digital shoulder. It’s important that you take the time and think of ways you can stand above the opposition and entice people to choose you over them.
There are other ways to make your website reflect your personality and below is our sum up of some definite, 'must do's'.
5 tips to making your website look unique:
Tip 1 Use great photos - make them personal and relevant to your services and products. Your personality will come across if customers can see you at work; see your work in progress; or have the opportunity to view your end results.
Tip 2 Videos that show your services/products are an excellent way of showing what you do in a different way. If you're confident in front of the camera, allow your personality to shine in front of your customers.
Tip 3 The content on your website can also convey the person behind the business. Whilst you want to avoid grammatical mistakes and spelling errors at all costs, your voice should also come through to relay what your business does in a way that attracts the right customers.
Tip 4 Pay attention to the layout of your imagery and content. Each page should be thoughtfully considered to ensure that your user has the best visitor experience possible.
Tip 5 Does your business have a unique name and image? Branding your business will help establish your foothold in your market. Deciding on a logo, colours and font all help to differentiate you from competitors and attract online visitors.
If your website could do with a makeover, give Perfect Layout Digital Marketing a call. We can help you decide in which direction to redesign your website as well as recommending logo and branding designers, and documentary photographers to make your website shine!
Whilst having a well-constructed, informative website has the obvious benefits of helping promote your business, you can’t underestimate the need to engage with your customers in other ways and on other online platforms.
Engaging on at least one social media platform like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest Google+ and Facebook is a must to get your brand known and the services in your business used by new and repeat customers. These platforms allow you to distribute your business ideas and talk about your services and/or products in a way that entertains and informs the customer.
Facebook, is a platform that you may already be engaged in socially. Sharing your personal information, photos of your latest holiday or passing on clips of a silly video is easy to master. On the other hand, if you have or are thinking about creating a business page to promote your wares – you will have to think deeper about how to encourage people to view, like and share what you’ve posted.
I wanted to keep this blog simple and basically offer some ideas of what you can talk about week in week out to promote your business page on Facebook. This list is also good enough to use on other social media sites, so pick your theme appropriate to the platform you're using and get writing.
You have no excuse but to get into the habit of spreading your news.
The following ideas have been taken from another source that proved to be an excellent read….Enjoy creating!
How a trip to Berlin confirmed my ideas about customer service and branding: how's your business doing?
For October half term I was lucky enough to get away for a few days on a city break. This was a trip much needed (without the kids!) so my excitement levels were pretty high. The thought of having the freedom to eat, sleep and wander around of my own accord pushed me into the realms of surreal joy....as I said, this was a break that was long overdue!
Berlin was our chosen destination. It had always been on our list of places to visit and was a quick plane journey by City Airport so the decision was made. So, what’s my trip to Berlin have to do with telling you about websites?
Well, throughout my trip I was struck by two things that made me reflect on what we offer at Perfect Layout.
From the start to the end of our trip I was taken with the high level of customer service. At least 98% of our interactions with employees at our hotel, in restaurants and in supermarkets etc., had excellent customer service skills. We were greeted with warm smiles, direct eye contact and the ability (by everyone it seemed!) to flit to English as I stumbled over the most basic of German words.
How did this make me feel? Super relaxed, welcomed and embraced by a nation that has a past that will never be forgotten.
By speaking my language and having a basic understanding of where I was from, they were able to fulfill my needs. They took away my nerves and lack of German vocabulary and supplemented my requirements so that my effort and output was minimal with the same end result. I got what I wanted!
As you know Perfect Layout is still in its infancy. We are a company born from a belief that we can fill a gap in the market that provides good quality websites for local businesses that’s affordable. It’s experiences like this, that remind me that we are on the right track.
Speaking your language is something we do with our eyes closed. We may not be fluent German speakers but we are fortunate enough to understand the needs of our local business community in Essex, London and across the UK.
We absorb your language by listening to your website requirements as well as the details of how your business works. The service/s you offer and product/s you have on sale. The more we understand your business, the more we understand you which allows us to create a bespoke website that shows your business off at its best.
To sum up, principles of good customer service are:
Berlin, the Capital of Germany, comes across as a cosmopolitan, chic city area. It boasts great restaurants, museums and a Palace. It is home to many ethnicities and welcomes tourists from all over the world.
Given this current environment, it feels very surreal that part of its tourist attractions contains museums and exhibitions about Nazi activity during World War II and the more recent historical event of the Berlin Wall.
Whilst I found both events horrific on scaling levels, it’s the latter that I found more perplexing. A country that was once whole, split itself into two overnight causing mayhem and disruption to the everyday living of thousands of people. Attempts to cross from either side was met with imprisonment or death.
The Berlin Wall came down on 9 November 1989. This month will be its 29th anniversary.
This Capital city is now an area that (to me) feels united in its past and is unashamed to show others mistakes made. Part of its branding as a modern city is how it’s taken accountability of past actions. It’s current success as a city break destination is how it tells its story. What happened in its past has given it the character and personality it emits today that makes it stand out and attract new and returning visitors.
When Perfect Layout was established, we thought long and hard about how we branded ourselves; how we came across in the web design market and how we could attract and retain loyal customers. To be honest, this has not been a straightforward process. It’s a job that continues to evolve as we improve our systems to reflect the needs of our customers and market our unique selling point (USP).
We want our customers to know that part of our USP is our; expertise, professionalism, down to earth/friendly attitudes, honest compassion and the willingness to go that extra mile to understand you and your business. We really are on the other end of the phone ready to help and answer queries.
Our aim is to serve local companies across Essex, London and the UK with competitively priced websites that will improve the performance of their business. I’m pleased to report that our branding has started to work as our name and service is being recommended to others and new clients keep on coming. Small, steady steps forward - we’re happy with that!
How’s your levels of customer service and company branding working out for you?
Could the marketing on your website be more targeted?
Let us know your views and opinions by leaving a comment below.