Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Have you ever seen a commercial or advertisement that leaves you feeling totally confused? Chances are you didn't buy the product. And what about websites — have you ever closed out a website because there was too much information, it was out of date, or it wasn't what you expected when you clicked on the link?
As a business owner, it is heartbreaking to have people neglect your great ideas for superficial reasons like confusing ad copy or sloppy graphic design.
So here's my advice to avoid those kinds of costly mistakes: prioritize your brand! Figure out what you want customers to see, think, and feel when they visit your website and social media, and use that vision to make a plan, which includes the messaging you use and your visual identity.
So how exactly will prioritizing your brand help you avoid losing customers? Let's dive in.
What is branding?
What is your brand, anyway? Well, the dictionary definition of a brand is "a public image, reputation, or identity conceived of as something to be marketed or promoted."
Simply put, your brand is how your customers perceive you and your business. Your brand is a combination of your business's mission, messaging, core values, image, style, social media presence, website, and products.
Your brand is the heart of your business, and having a well-thought-out brand is essential to thriving!
Breaking it down:
I like to break brands down into three essential categories: message/mission, visual identity (your style and image), and your social media.
Your message and mission should answer what, why, and who. Questions like what is your business? What are you selling? What are your values? Why are you in business? Why should consumers care? Who are you? Who are your ideal clients or customers?
If your brand doesn't let your customer know that you are talking to them, specifically, or leaves them feeling confused about what exactly it is that you do, something needs to change. You have an amazing opportunity to win over customers with strong messaging, and seizing that opportunity is one of the best things you can do to boost your business.
Your visual identity consists of your logo, the colors you use, the fonts you use, what your website looks like, and the way your Instagram looks. It includes your videos, the patterns and textures you use, and what your marketing emails look like.
It also happens to be the first thing customers pick up about you when they visit your webpage, your Instagram, or your store. It only takes customers about a tenth of a second to form an impression about your website so it's essential that your visual identity does a good job at representing who you are. You want to draw customers in with your visual identity, not push them away!
Your social media is a combination of your messaging and your visual identity. Here we see the first two categories working together: your feed needs to represent your business visually and your captions need to get that message across in a clear and catchy way.
Having a strong brand is essential to winning over customers, because it lets your ideal client know that you know who they are, you know what they need, and you're the one who's going to help them.
If you prioritize making your brand as strong as possible, you're less likely to lose customers over superficial mistakes.
Why should you care?
Knowing WHAT your brand is and WHY your brand matters is important to helping you succeed in two ways:
First, by focusing on making your brand strong, you're focusing on putting your best foot forward as a business. Focusing on your brand forces you to dig deep and really think about who you are selling your product or service to and why they need it. It makes you consider what visuals you need to elevate your business, and it makes you re-consider how you're using social media.
Being intentional about making your brand great will save you from making costly and superficial mistakes, and will help you stand out from your competition.
Second, knowing why your brand is so important can give you an extra push on days where you need it. If you're struggling to stay motivated, or feeling overwhelmed working on your brand, you can always remind yourself why this work matters for an extra push.
And remember, I am here to help you along the way!