How to improve your business brand value and increase your revenue
Basic strategy, design and consistency
So you're a few years into running your own small business. You're an expert in your field, or maybe you have a passion you're looking to fulfil. Perhaps you stumbled upon an opportunity and stuck with it. It doesn't matter. Well done, it's an achievement worth celebrating!
You're finally in a place where you can breathe and pay attention to the details in your business. However, you've noticed a few things aren't adding up. Having kept your head down to grow it, now it's all looking a bit blurry. How do you ensure that you're building a 'proper' brand that will last the test of time?
With these few simple tips, you will see an instant change. If you feel this is all too much for you and want to work with a professional team on your marketing and brand strategy, we're right here behind you at Pink Pineapple.
Who are you?
Small businesses evolve from an initial idea to better serve their intended audience and solve an existing problem of some sort. Throughout your journey, it's important to constantly revise your brand strategy to define who you are and why your business does what it does. I don't mean "why" in terms of "to make money". I'm talking about the sense of its more important purpose.
For example, suppose you're selling jewellery or coaching successful women, you may want to "encourage women to feel more empowered in their daily life". Also, what do you want to achieve with your business on a strategic level? What is the ultimate goal and problem you want to solve, and how will you do it? Having the answers to these questions (and many more) will help build a strong brand and marketing strategy to keep you on track and ensure your actions are the right ones.
You may think you've communicated the same message one too many times and want to see a change in style or colour. Don't be tempted. It takes, on average, seven times for a message to reach its recipient. That's a considerable amount of time until the reader even knows who you are. If you keep changing your style, you run the risk of not being noticed at all.
To ensure your message gets across, be blunter than you realise. Stick with it. Don't aim to reach too many people - find your key target market and focus solely on them. And ensure your message is crystal clear; otherwise, nobody will stop and listen.
You may believe you have a beautiful or memorable name for your business, but it could be unclear for your customers if you have multiple variations. Ensure your name is used consistently in every aspect of your company. Perhaps your business has evolved. In that case, check that every communication and piece of marketing collateral is up-to-date.
Many small businesses start by creating their own logo. Are you one of them? You're now a few years in, and it's time to pay attention to your brand identity. Is it working as effectively for you as it could? Are you attracting the right audience? Is it as strong as you felt it was when you started?
Once you have your brand strategy in place, your business will be more substantial. Ensure your logo represents your business strategy clearly and correctly. The last thing you want is to confuse your audience.
Don't mix too many different styles and match your choices with your brand's personality. When you produce work, your fonts should reflect the brand identity of your business.
Limit yourself to a font family that represents your business and also works well together. If you read the blog about Brand Guidelines, this goes into more detail about how to develop this. The right font can work in your favour. However, the wrong one, or mixed font choices, can do precisely the opposite.
Many beautiful fonts can do wonders for your brand. A graphic designer will work with you to develop the ones that suit your business if you need help.
Pinterest is an excellent source of inspiration when it comes to mood boards. A mood board gives you an idea of what you want your small business to represent. Are you classic, trendy or organic, for example? There are many ways to build this into your brand through your choice of logo, colours, fonts and imagery.
With that, we come to colours and image styles. Identify colours that are in your brand identity and bring them to life. Try and limit yourself to five colours maximum. Unless there is a particular reason not to, these should complement each other and your brand. The right mix of colours will make your brand look more cohesive and consistent. It is not an easy process, and I often hear clients lament that something is missing, but it's good fun, so I suggest you give it a go.
What type of imagery are you using? Is it all black and white; do they have a dreamy feel to them; is there a focus on a particular item with the rest blurred; are they vintage? Put a selection of images together and decide what it is that they have in common. Then try to always stick to that. Imagery gives off a feeling - and you want your company, brand and marketing to give off the same vibe every time.
Emotions are visual, so your words need to have imagery when you speak. These visuals must match how you want your clients and customers to feel. Portray personality types with the right image and reach your audience effectively. Equally, if it's not correct, it can be confusing with your audience getting mixed messages of what their experience with you will be.
Tone of voice
Are you friendly, corporate, personal...who is your business? Your intended audience will often dictate this. If your customers are industrial engineers, it will require a different tone of voice than stay at home parents looking for entertainment for their children. But whatever your audience, don't say you're friendly and approachable but then use blunt language in your emails. It will simply put people off.
And when you do write - do your best to avoid spelling mistakes. Especially in customer emails and on your website. Do you allow abbreviations and slang, or do you prefer to write things the old classic way? Whatever you choose - ensure it's consistent with your set brand strategy - and spelt correctly!
If you can, put your business style on your designs instead of using existing templates. It will make you more recognisable. Perhaps consider putting a budget aside for seasonal professional design services. Once you have your templates, you can use them as a base for your work. Whatever style you go for, as mentioned before, consistency is vital.
Also, bear in mind that if you do want to try new ideas, it's best to do it in areas where you can remove them easily if you change your mind.
The best way to successfully achieve the above would be to draft a set of brand guidelines based on your brand strategy. With guidelines, you automatically stay consistent, and your brand will look professional in style, tone and voice. To learn more about brand guidelines, keep an eye out for the next update.
For brand strategy services and design - Pink Pineapple work with a selected group of strategists and talented designers to ensure you have what you need to succeed.
Anna Seefeldt, your practical, straight-talking branding, marketing and business consultant, founded the company to assist with all your marketing needs. Anna Seefeldt lives in Singapore with her husband and two children. For any questions or support in building your business and brand, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.