Six tips to strengthen your brand image

We all know the saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ but what about ‘first impressions count’?  Six tips to help you get the most from your brand.

When a potential customer views your new business for the first time, whether it is looking at your website or your Facebook page or even chatting about your business at on a night out, it is definitely the latter that rings true.

Eye catching pictures strengthen a brand

Setting up your own business can be an exciting but daunting task.  You have had the lightbulb moment, the business vision and the balls to put yourself out there.  More often than not start up businesses run on limited resources and one way to save money is to implement your own Social Media campaigns and promotions.  After all, how hard can it be?  We all browse Facebook, we are addicted to the beautiful photographs on Instagram and know that tweeting can help you become president of the USA!! 

Too many brands aren't consistent

Seriously though, all too often there is no consistency within our social media feeds.  Running your own social media campaign takes time, research and knowledge but above all consistency. Consistency is about linking together your style and content across all platforms, making sure your business message is clear to your potential customers.  Your image is what people will first see when they view your business and will form an opinion about you and your services, which will in turn effect your sales.

Even the corporates can get it wrong.  Remember when Royal Mail tried to change its name to Consignia?  Or British Airways famously removed the Union Jack from its aeroplane tail fin in an attempt to make it less ‘British’ only to reinstate the flag on its tail fins just 2 years later.

Get the brand image right from the start..

Take Anna, after having children she wanted a change of career, one that was less corporate and more flexible to fit in around her family and allow her to help others. She re-trained as a specialist sports therapist, obtained relevant qualifications, invested in a suitable treatment space and  bought the necessary equipment. This meant that most of her budget had been consumed.  Through her large network of friends, Anna was relying on word of mouth to find customers.  She also dabbled on a personal level in social media.  Initially business was slow and the treatment room sat empty for longer than Anna cared to admit.  

Anna realised she had no consistent image, her social media was haphazard and as a result she had no real brand identity.  With help she devised a simple marketing strategy working out what her key messages were, what image she was trying to portray and designed a logo which reflected both her personality and her business.  She then set up business social media accounts and used her logo, colour schemes and content style to tie everything together whilst making sure her business image and message was clear for all to see.  Anna was now on her way to creating a recognisable brand which clearly demonstrated her beliefs. 

Running your own business means you need to be the brand

Anna had to make sure she was the brand ambassador.  Wherever she went she was representing her business.  From how she looked when she was meeting potential clients, to how she talked about her business, to what she posted on social media - even the fun posts.  Yes, this was one vast commitment but setting up a successful business takes commitment on every level.

If you are contemplating either setting up a new business or maybe you are currently running one, ask yourself if the image your customers see is the one you would like them to perceive.  Is your business communication clear and consistent?  Below are some useful tips for helping you on your way to achieving the right brand image.

Six tips to help you build the right brand image 

1. Everything you say or do from your logo to your website to your newsletters needs to reflect your key message.  This is your image and how you will be perceived by your customers and could determine future business.

2. Work out at least 3 key messages that reflect your core values.  Do some research, ask around, what are your competitors saying or doing?  What makes you unique and stand out from the crowd?  It is possible that you will have different messages for your customers to those for your investors or suppliers.  

3. Who exactly is your ideal customer?  Put yourself in their shoes and develop a persona for them.  What makes them tick?  What are their interests and hobbies. Give them a name if it helps to make them more real.  Most businesses have several types of ideal customers, try to understand their way of thinking.

4. Talk to them in their language, write clearly and keep it simple.  This is especially true with social media, do not use industry jargon or fancy words.  Get to the point and keep the content uncomplicated and concise. Build communication with your customers, be personable, engage with them.

5. Make sure those that work for you are clear on the messages you are trying to get across. Have some simple guidelines for them to defer to, their image and communications will reflect on your business. 

6. Consistency is vital to getting your message across, promoting your business and increasing brand awareness.  Keep consistency at the forefront of your business and you will create a recognisable business image, build a greater business reputation and generate an enduring successful business.

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