In this overly saturated, advertisement-laden world, creating extremely enthusiastic brand advocates can transform your business from good to great. Why? Because a loyal customer can become an authentic marketing campaign, which can help your brand grow stronger.
A commonality among most small business owners whom I meet with is that they think having a great brand – i.e. a brand that people can get excited about – takes millions of dollars and an entire army to create. They think of companies like Apple, Coca-Cola and Amazon. The bottom line is this is not true. You can create a cool, relevant, and engaging brand even as a local business owner.
The thing is your brand is so much more than just your logo. Branding is every single piece of collateral that your customers and potential customers see. This includes your website, business cards, letterhead, envelopes, Facebook page, Twitter page, brochures, sell sheets, and anything that you may pass out for your business.
Only One Opportunity
When it comes to building a solid brand, consistency is the key. Everything needs to gel together and have a cohesive look and feel to make people “get” what you’re trying to convey. Many businesses try and take shortcuts when it comes to branding their business. They’ll build a $10,000 amazing new website, but use a business card template and order the cheapest, flimsiest cards that money can buy.
I often tell my clients a fun analogy to help them understand why branding is so important. Imagine you have a very important date this Friday night. You would make sure to have a nice new dress shirt, polished shoes, pressed pants, and matching socks. You would polish up your favorite watch, shave, shower, and get your hair just right. Why would you go through all of this trouble? TO MAKE A GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION, that’s why.
In contrast, imagine if you slapped on your wrinkled jeans that have been rolled in a ball in the corner for a week, put on a shirt with a ketchup stain on it, and wore mismatched socks, but then put a brand new Rolex on your wrist. The Rolex is enough to make a great impression, right? That Rolex is $10,000; surely they’ll see past my disheveled appearance and know I’m awesome just by my watch, right?
Wrong. Just like the tale of two daters above, your business only has one opportunity to make a great first impression. Make sure that all of your collateral is up to par, have consistent quality, look, feel and style. The bottom line is this: if your customer doesn’t find what they are looking for immediately from your brand, they are moving on to the next company, and you will more than likely lose them forever.
Case in Point
We have a client who does tuxedo rentals, and they came to us for a complete branding and digital overhaul. Soon after their new website went live, they told us about this bride-to-be that was searching for tuxedo rental stores in the area for her wedding. Upon landing on this company’s 5-year-old, outdated, homemade website, she quickly left and went on to the next company.
The following week, we launched their newly branded and fresh new website and that same bride stumbled upon the website once again, except this time she found exactly what she was looking for: modern, fresh fashions for grooms that she could imagine her knight in shining armor wearing on their wedding day. That day, she picked up the phone and booked their wedding party to get their tuxedos from them. When the bride came in, she told them about how they had written off their store because of how dated and home-town it looked. She then added she couldn’t believe it when the new website showed up; she looked through all the galleries, got some great ideas from their blog, and ultimately decided to go with them.
The bottom line is this: it doesn’t take a fortune to build a really cool, consistent brand. It just takes a bit of planning, some creativity, and starting with the end in mind. I promise you, if you dig deep into your brand and learn how to put your best foot forward with every piece of collateral that you push out to the world, you will reap the benefits long-term, and be on your way to your most successful year ever.
Scott Brazdo is the CEO and co-founder of Black Tie Digital Marketing, www.blacktiedigital.com