Figuring out how to brand your business so it’s easily recognizable to consumers is challenging. Not only do you need consistency across both online and offline locations, but within the messaging itself.
You compete against millions of businesses. With more than 30 million businesses represented on Facebook, for example, you need a plan to stand out from all the noise the typical consumer is inundated with, or you’ll likely be overlooked.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can integrate both online and offline marketing to create a voice for your brand and reach your target audience.
Don’t just churn out generic content or retweet other people’s content. If your goal is to drive people to your website, then you have to give them a reason to go there. Content is still king when it comes to offering something custom to your customers. Seventy-eight percent of people are more likely to trust a company offering custom content versus generic.
There are some brands whose logos are so recognizable you instantly know what company is tied to the ad or image. Think about some of the popular brands out there, such as McDonald’s or Walmart. You instantly thought of their logo, didn’t you? Your goal is to make your logo just as memorable. This is accomplished with color, specific typography and exposing the consumer to the logo over and over again.
Guitar Studio’s logo is memorable in that it incorporates what they do by adding musical instruments into the logo itself. The text is bold and simple, but the colors are black and red, which catches the eye over a white background.
Out-of-home advertising, such as wraps on vehicles, has a six to one return on investment (ROI). The overall look should match your brand identity. A professional can help you match colors and typography so your vehicle is as recognizable as your website or storefront.
What do you value as a brand and as an individual? This should clearly tie into your company’s overall purpose. If you aren’t passionate about something, consumers will see that. However, you also have to communicate your purpose so they know what you’re striving toward.
Life Is Good has a basic philosophy of spreading good vibes. You see this in everything they do, from the clothes they make to the message on their website to sharing photos of their customers and how they treat their employees. It’s an overreaching message for their brand that you’ll see over and over again. They also donate money toward helping improve the lives of children.
Sponsoring local events is a great way to get out in your community and start building relationships on a local level. As with other advertising opportunities, remain true to your brand image with the same logo, colors and message. Local events can include fundraising, little league and school events.
Consumers care that a brand means what it says and is open and honest. If a brand offers total transparency, around 94 percent of people say they will likely remain loyal to that brand. Make transparency part of your overall branding efforts both online and offline.
McDonald's deals with all sorts of rumors about their mega-brand, so they came up with a transparency campaign in Canada to answer any questions consumers might have and tagged it "Our food. Your questions."
One of the worst things you can do is let other people represent your brand in a way that is unflattering to you. If you don’t stop these imposters, then you risk the general public thinking you endorsed whatever they said or did. Disney is notorious for protecting their name and trademark, and rightfully so. You should be as well.
People feel an emotional connection to brands they think care about them. Sixty-five percent of consumers say if a brand cares about them they are more likely to form a long-term relationship with that brand.
Harley Davidson is well known for their amazing customer service that goes on long after that initial purchase of a new motorcycle. Once you buy a motorcycle from them, you're considered part of their "Harley family." There is a Harley Owners Group (HOG) that you can join. This allows you to connect with other Harley owners and share tips and maintenance ideas.
If you want people to become familiar with your brand name and logo, you need to put it everywhere. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, put your logo on the bags you place purchased items in, at the top of the sales receipt and all over your store. For online, add your logo to social media, your website, and any email you send out.
Find brand ambassadors to help you spread the word about your brand and what you do. This means passing out things such as hats and T-shirts with your brand logo and message on it, but also developing an insider pool of people who will help you spread the word.
Want to drive loyal customers to buy more often? Develop a rewards system for everything from referring new customers to purchases they make. Brands such as Starbucks do a good job of blending online and offline marketing by offering an app that rewards loyal customers. They also have a “frappy hour” they send out push notifications about.
Facebook allows you to schedule events, create private groups and host a party online. Optionally, you could also install chat software on your site and host an online event on your own server. The key to throwing an online event is to get people in the door. You can do this with free prize drawings, a special guest speaker and mentioning the upcoming event on social media and to your private mailing list.
In real life, you can host a party for local media to get the buzz going about your brand. Invite any influencers in your area as well. For example, if Mary has always been your number one fan and regularly sends people into your store to try what you have to offer, invite Mary to your VIP party.
Print out some door hangers or flyers about what you have to offer and invite the neighborhood to come see you at your place of business. Even if you’re on an extremely tight budget, printing these items doesn’t cost much. All it will take is a little of your time.
Be a guest speaker both online and offline. This allows you to reach new people one or a few at a time and tell them about what you do. First, you must find a topic that people want to know about and that ties into your niche. Then, you develop some talks that teach others but also promote what you do and your business.
Seek out like-minded business owners who run businesses that are similar to yours but not direct competition. For example, a bakery might team up with a wedding planner. You then trade advertising in one another’s newsletters and refer people to one another.
These are just a few branding ideas applicable to both online and offline branding efforts. Keep your eyes and ears open for additional opportunities to get your brand message out there. The more people hear about you, the more likely they are to consider doing business with you.
Lexie is a graphic designer and typography enthusiast. She spends most of her time A/B testing websites and creating style guides. Check out her blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.