PR From The Saddle: How to build a brand in an online world
Want to build up your brand but don’t know how? Tara Punter – of Tara Punter PR – is here to help!
There are multiple revenue-boosting benefits to building a brand around your business, no matter how small you are. But, unless you happen to have a background in marketing, branding might sound a bit too big or important to have a go at yourself. In this blog I take a look at why you should consider spending some time working on your brand, why branding isn’t just a logo and how to get started.
But stop – isn’t branding just a logo?
And you already have one of those, right? But just having a logo isn’t the same as having branding. A logo is a recognisable design element whereas branding is reputation; the public perception of your entire business. Take Google as an example – if you were asked what the Google brand means to you wouldn’t just say the colourful ‘G’, would you? A brand will encompass how a customer perceives your brand at every touchpoint (that’s literally every place they see or interact with you), so it includes words, taglines, images as well as your logo.
Why is a brand important?
Let’s look at this from the perspective of a potential customer who is looking for a business just like yours. The internet has enabled customers to go out and research the product or service that is the best fit for them, but it throws up a new problem. When the only option was to visit a shop or call someone on the telephone, it was easier for consumers to judge if they could trust someone. But how can you help people trust you if you exist online?
Having a recognisable brand will help build brand trust and lend your business credibility. Plus, even the world’s largest brands have to work hard to make sure their customers are happy and engaging with them online. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once said: “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.”
Over one in three internet users say that they check out a business on social media before making a purchasing decision, and having customer feedback, information about the background of the business, images and contact information will all help motivate the customer to take the next step in the buyer journey.
Firming up what your brand is and what you want it to mean to your customers can actually be incredibly useful for your business in a wider sense. It gives you a voice that can help when you create social media messages, write your website copy and if you ever create physical marketing collateral (a poster, brochure or leaflet). If you ever need to hand over your marketing to a new member of staff or an external agency, then having a document or pack that gives them guidance on what your brand looks and sounds like will be an amazing help.
How to figure out what your business brand means
A good place to run through these bullet points:
- Where do you want to be in five years and what are you best known for?
- How would you describe what you do to someone who has never heard of you before?
- How are you going about achieving your long term aims? For example, offering the longest warranty on the market, the most innovative technology or the best customer training.
- What do you sound like? That might feel a bit strange, but you can look to existing large companies for inspiration. Karcher (the steam cleaning company) are helpful, educational and innovative, whereas Innocent (the smoothie makers) are fun, quirky and health-focused.
- How to you want to appear to people? This will include your logo, brand colours and any imagery. This is where you want to capture how you might want your logo to be used if it’s overlaid on an image, or if there are any images you don’t want to include in your marketing.
You can then use this information to write some simple ‘brand guidelines’ When you do this, remember this is your business and you can shape your brand into whatever you like! This might all sound a little bit overwhelming if your own area of expertise lies well away from marketing, but I promise you it doesn’t have to take too long or be a horrible job. It can be nice to reflect on your business successes and challenges and give yourself a pat on the back as well!
Tara Punter PR is an equestrian and rural PR, journalism and social media company based in the Cotswolds. Tara has been helping businesses with their social media for five years – a business transformed into an internationally-loved brand that’s become synonymous with the success of small, medium and large businesses in the rural sectors. Tara is a horse lover herself, having been riding and largely involved with the equine industry for nearly 30 years. She helps business owners grow businesses through PR, social media, blogging and journalism and offers affordable and high value packages to her client base across the UK and beyond.