Understand the top 5 ways to improve your brand.

The Top 5 Ways to Make or Break Your Brand

Before I give you a dose of brand reality, know that however little time you think you have to focus on this topic, you must understand your brand in order to be successful. So, let’s slog through this together quickly so that we can get to the fun stuff…and there will be fun stuff…but read this first!

(I hope you enjoy my use of swimming pool examples…hahaha…I’m obviously a consumer easily influenced by things that make me feel warm, bright and relaxed)

Now, check out the 5 questions that’ll help define your company’s brand:

1. What does your brand offer to customers?

What are you promising to give your customers? A brand promise includes not only physical services and goods but the emotions your customers will feel when thinking about using your products or services. A solid brand design will help pull out right emotions, but we’ll discuss that in a moment.

A customer might feel relaxed and happy when thinking about floating on your raft in the pool on a warm summer days. Yep, those emotions will make them snatch up your raft at the store (maybe even if their $10 bill was going to buy jug of milk and loaf of bread instead).

2. How is your brand perceived by potential customers?

Do they see it the same way you do? Your brand’s perception comes directly from others. Work to ensure that their perceptions accurately reflect how you want to be seen.

If customers see your company as a way to get cheap products that will get them through the summer (but no way will they last until the following summer), then that is how your products will be thought of. If this isn’t how you want others to view your product, then start figuring out how you will change that point of view.

3. Are your customers expectations being met when they purchase your brand?

Remember your promise from above. If you aren’t adequately delivering this promise, customers may think twice about purchasing your product or service. They’ll just find another company to purchase from. Keeping their attention is paramount to success. Consider the following:

Do your customers feel they’re getting a fair price?
Are they getting adequate choices?
When they go to your website, can they find the answers to their questions easily?
Do they get a satisfactory and rapid response when they contact you directly?

If you’ve bought XYZ’s pool floatie 3 times, and each time it pops on the first use, are you going to continue to buy from XYZ?Learn how these brand concepts and good brand design can improve your success.

4. What is your brand’s persona?

Can your customers see who you really are and feel good about buying from you? Your company’s appearance and personality will make or break your sales. Again, this will be hugely reflected in your company’s brand design. Think about which companies and services you have stopped interacting with and why.

If your pool cleaner is scruffy, sweaty and takes a smoke break while cleaning your pool, are you going to be able to rejoice in the cleanliness of your pool after he is done? It just doesn’t feel right does it? Remember that you are being judged at all times.

Don’t forget to use social media as a way to develop your persona. Instagram, for one, is a great tool for letting others see who you are and developing a relationship with you.

5. Last, as touched upon previously, does your brand design neatly wrap together all of the above mentioned necessities?

Promise, Perceptions, Expectations, Persona? Designing your brand is about clearly defining all of the things your brand communicates. Graphic design, which includes a logo, images, and the overall look and feel of your website, is super important because it’s a customer’s first impression of your brand.

Additionally, consider your target audience: Who are you making these promises to and what expectations do they have? Will they jive with your brand’s persona and perceive your site as a place they get excited about and plan on coming back to? Would they want to swim in your pool?

So, the dull part? Yup, you’ve got to do a little research to define your promise, perceptions, expectations and persona in the context of your overall brand. Understanding your audience from the beginning will increase your chances of branding success right out of the starting gate.

Now, here’s the FUN part!

You can get help with designing your brand in a relaxed, fun atmosphere: Join Laughingbird Software’s Free Private Facebook Group of small businesses and entrepreneurs who enjoy doing their own designs for their websites, blogs and social media.

Feel free to introduce yourself and ask your most pressing branding or graphic design questions.

Ask to join the free private group here.

About the Author Lisa Sylvester

Lisa’s focus is on making graphics and logo design easy for anyone, as well as offering affordable graphic design software to small businesses, entrepreneurs and marketers. She knows how time-consuming it can be to run a small business, dividing her own time between developing graphic design software, marketing, finances, website management, etc., all while answering email with one hand and eating a "frozen" burrito in the other.

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