If Covid-accelerated digital transformation has taught us anything, it’s the power of a brand.
The worldwide pandemic has made consumers more brand loyal than ever. People were found to go above and beyond to help favorite and local brands through the scrambling economy.
With that said, if you are planning a digital transformation for your business, building a brand should definitely be the biggest part of that plan.
There’s a lot to creating a powerful brand, and it definitely takes a lot of time but we need to start somewhere.
So here’s how to create a consistent brand image to lay a foundation for your on-going brand building efforts.
1. Find a Meaningful Brand Name that Sticks
Finding a cool brand name has never been easy: It has always been too intimidating a task for me. After all, I know the name I choose will haunt me for years.
There’s also too much to think about…
Will it be easy to remember and type into the search box / address bar? Will it cause too many misspellings? Will it create the right associations with what I do?
It’s a huge decision.
Namify has been a huge help for me lately. The tool works as a brand name generator that suggests brand name ideas based on your keywords and niche. Unlike any other domain generator, this one:
- Comes up with meaningful names that sound cool and are easy to brand
- Checks social media profile name availability for your chosen domains
- Suggests logo designs that match your chosen name (and those look surprisingly well, too).
Overall, I love playing with the tool!
The tool also comes with some ready-made business name ideas in various niches, so you can browse and feel inspired.
For local businesses, the growing domain market also brings a lot of new opportunities. For example, in Australia you can register .melbourne or .sydney domains, and in the United States local businesses can grab .nyc, .miami, or .vegas domains.
2. Create Your Brand Identity Kit
Visual branding is an important element of setting up a solid foundation for your digital marketing strategy. Colors and images stick in our minds and create important associations.
Using colors and branding consistently across all the channels will help your followers remember you and your message and recognize your site in search results (which are getting increasingly visual as well).
Visme offers a nice feature called “Branding Kit” that stores all the elements of your visual branding (color scheme, logos, fonts) and allows you to effortlessly apply those to any visual you or your (remote) team is working on:
This will allow your team to create recognizable visual assets to use across all available channels (your own site and social media channels). Here’s also a very detailed guide on how to trademark and copyright your blog’s name and logo.
3. Write up Business Communication Policy for Your Whole Team to Use
Your brand is going to communicate with the outside world on multiple occasions:
- You are going to send representatives to conferences and industry events.
- Your social media team is going to interact with your social media followers on a daily basis.
- Your customer support team is going to talk to your current and future customers every day.
- Your sales team will be performing cold calls and outreach.
Throughout all of that, there will be many individuals – both new and established employees and often freelancers – talking to your brand on your brand’s behalf.
How many of those individuals are going to be well-trained? How many will be having a bad day? How many of them are going to speak in public?
Remember what’s posted online may very well remain there forever ruining your chances to create a positive online image.
Start creating a clear, yet detailed business communication policy for your employees to know what they can and cannot do or say when representing your brand and speaking on your behalf. Marvell has a great example and here is a solid sample by WordForce, but make yours based on your niche and brand image.
Your communication guidelines should also include communicating with and employing your brand’s ambassadors, affiliates and guest contributors.
4. Set up an Ever-Growing Knowledge Base
As your brand starts growing, there will be more and more context added online around all kinds of experiences your customers are going to have with your product and employees. Not all of that context is going to be positive.
No matter how good the product or the website, there will always be users who will find your web assets hard to navigate, customers who will misunderstand your product or people who will dislike talking to your customer support team.
All of that context should be constantly monitored and addressed. That’s the only way to ensure that possible reputation crises are avoided and your customers remain loyal.
In order to keep your brand’s social media sentiment under control, set up three important monitoring routines to:
- Keep an eye on your branded search results (i.e. what people see when they search for something that includes your brand name)
- Listen to, analyze and participate in social media updates that mention your brand name
- Listen to and analyze social media updates that mention your competitors, especially those updates that come from unhappy customers.
You can monitor the latter by using sentiment search on Twitter:
While monitoring your growing online sentiment:
- Identify emerging branded search terms people seem to use when researching your brand online
- Catch questions your customers are asking involving your brand or your product
- Identify what your customers seem to be usually unhappy with when discussing your brand and your competitor on social networks.
All of that should be addressed in your on-site knowledge base.
The purpose of a detailed knowledge base is twofold:
- You want to rank your own site #1 for all branded search queries sofor your customers end up going back to your site instead of bouncing to a third-party review or your competitor
- You want to create a single database for your old and new employees that contains to know where to find all the information to help your struggling customers.
Creating a knowledge base is easy: You can put one together using a WordPress theme or a plugin.
If you are just launching your brand, start your knowledge base by covering questions people ask about your closest competitor. Text Optimizer is a good source of those:
5. Create Your Branding Dashboard
Your branding dashboard should bring all of the above elements together making it easy to access any of the important resources quickly and get organized. I suggest using Cyfe to create a branding dashboard which will include the following widgets:
- Twitter search widget to monitor your brand mentions as well as those updates that mention your competitor
- Google Alerts widget to monitor your brand
- A text widget to include your most important links (to your visual branding kit, business communication guidelines, your primary social media accounts, your editorial calendar)
- Embed your master spreadsheet with new questions and mentions to cover in your knowledge graph
- Pull your most essential web analytics numbers, like your traffic and conversions. If you are building an ecommerce brand, pulling some ecommerce revenue metrics is a good idea.
- Your customer support trends (through Zendesk widget) and/or your recent mail
- Recent activity on your Trello cards (to ensure there’s some action occurringgoing in terms ofwhen it comes to creating brand assets and knowledge base articles)
Creating a powerful brand is no easy task but it is well worth the effort. Strong brands survive any Google’s update, enjoy higher conversions and are less dependent on any single source of traffic and conversions. Building a brand is an on-going effort but if you lay a solid foundation, the task will be more doable. Good luck!