Branding is a massive part of of who we are. How you dress, the things you like, the way you present yourself, these all make up our own personal brand. As a business it becomes your logo, corporate colours, your website. In a digital age these are the things we use to tell the world about who we are. More and more relationships survive based upon our digital personas more so than our real life identities, so what is your brand saying about you?
You might love cool, crisp corporate design. The professional formality of a serif font, the icy blue tones we have all come to associate with high-end banking establishments, lawyers and accountants. Unfortunately, you have decided to run an artisan bakery... doh! The image you give off must be relevant to you market. Of course you want to stand out but you also have to make your customer feel comfortable, let them know that not only do you understand the market you are selling in but also that you understand their needs.
While it may say all the right things this cold corporate logo really doesn't hit the mark for the Knead It! audience. Cold, and corporate just doesn't fit this companies profile.
So you have agonised over your brand, you've tried every font the internet has to offer and every colour from puce to chartreuse. You now have a brand guidelines that is the size of a small encyclopedia (double sided)... but you don't bother to use it. If your audience never meets you in person, your brand is your handshake, your face, your signature, the one thing that makes you identifiable from the rest of the digital universe. Brand is king, and that great big world out there are your subjects.
Stand out from the crowd. Don't look at million other businesses/bloggers/products that exist in the same market as you and follow them. Take what is great and good about them and add some of yourself to that. Create a brand you are proud of and that will get you noticed. Talk to people and get their opinions on your ideas, might be that they see something different in there that you don't, or maybe just can add that little something that will really make it shine. But always be careful, things can sometimes be memorable for all the wrong reasons.
The Dirty Bird logo was memorable for all the wrong reasons - Kind of image to be associated with an eating establishment?
A-style logo - definitely showing some kind of style there. Intentional or in error? Discuss.
So you have this amazing new brand which everyone is gonna love. You're on to a winner. So you get your business cards printed, you build a website and you make some social channels, and the world comes running.... errr, nope! Get out there. Shout about your brand, interact, get your face noticed. You need to find people as much as they need to find you. Like, comment, share. Make yourself an integral part of the little corner of the digital universe that you want to master. Soon you will be recognised not just by what you do but also by who you are. If someone loves your blog post they will seek you out, they may spot your trusty logo in a forum, or your brand colours all over that facebook post. The more your brand is used to more confidence you instill in your following, and confidence builds trust.
So what if that one instagram post goes out without your logo carefully nestled in the corner, no one is gonna notice, right? I once worked for a company that created a viral game, it went crazy. Being shared all over facebook with thousands of people playing and sharing their scores, it was a massive success. The only problem was it had gone out into the world without any branding. Instead of receiving all this great free advertising and collecting up the wealth of likers and followers that the game attracted, they just had to sit back and watch it take flight. Watermarking, branding and placement are all tools in your arsenal to make sure that you get the full credit for that amazing stroke of internet wonderment.
So whether you are just starting out or your brand is centuries old, it is never to late to inject that fresh enthusiasm into the way you project yourself to the world. Start small and build up, Rome wasn't built in a day, but every step should aim to be a positive one.