This story is all about some typical brand “Boo-Boos” that nearly all SMEs make at some point in their existence; and how to avoid them!
- Believing you don’t have a brand; or don’t need one
A lot of SMEs just don’t understand branding, and therefore dismiss it as a concept completely. The truth is that every company no matter how big or small, has a brand whether they realise it or not, or accept it or not! Simply replace the word “brand” with “reputation”. Everyone wants to cultivate a great reputation, and if you have a reputation that people trust, then they presto – you have a great brand. If you have a reputation that people don’t relate to or distrust, then you have problems. And therefore, you need to look at turning it around. As designers, we can help with this.
- Believing that designers are expensive and and unnecessary cost
If you are struggling with your brand and reputation as demonstrated in point 1 above, then a designer is actually a sound investment; not a cost. Having a professional designer work on your identity to cultivate a new look that paints your company in a professional, credible light will bring fresh air of legitimacy in the eyes of clients, customers and prospects. An investment in your brand is an investment in the future of your business to arm yourself with new tools to take yourself to market with a renewed sense of vision and purpose.
- Your company name is doing you no favours
Your company name should be short, snappy, easy to spell and should above all describe what you do. In the digital age in which we now exist, the shorter the name the better. Short names are easy to type into web browsers and they take up less characters on Twitter! Having a name like Robertson and Woodhouse Creative Consultants will do you no favours when people fail to land on your website because they’ve spelt your domain name wrong. Also, who the hell has heard of “Creative Consultants” before? Why not just say “Designers”? Don’t try to be too clever with your name, although Nike, Audi or Adidas have names that say nothing about what they do, they also have millions of pounds in their marketing budgets – and you (probably) don’t. So don’t make your prospects work too hard to understand what you do or offer.
- You’re being inconsistent
Something we preach as our mantra… consistency, consistency, consistency. If you are being inconsistent then you are being ineffective with your branding and marketing. Clear, precise and coherent messages that are consistently executed across all of your marketing channels and platforms will always, always, always work better. Nowadays, we have so many platforms on which we can get our brand out there. But it is essential that your message carries through consistently on every level. For example, if you use Twitter for business make sure that your handle represents your business name rather than your own name; see how a short company name helps here as well now?
- You don’t have an end goal
The clients that we do most work with and achieve more success than others are extremely consistent, but they also have a very clear vision in four key areas:- Who they are
– What they do
– Why they do it
– Where their customers are
Knowing this information allows you to keep a tight grip on your identity, control quality of your work, keep focused on what your trying to achieve and how to locate and sell to the right type of customer. Once they’ve got all of this mapped out, they stick to it and refuse to deviate. This sort of focus breeds efficiency, processes and ultimately delivers success faster. This approach also develops a solid foundation for a brand that is grounded on efficiency, service and delivery; three things that customers will love. If you can arm yourself with this information, you will take hold of your brand and enhance your reputation as you become more and more successful in your own work.