Articles in The 'branding' Tag

October 25 2013

Defining Your Brand Identity – 3 Steps to Avoiding an Identity Crisis

by Kristin Lesko

Your brand is your company’s identity – differentiating you from your competitors and revealing to the world who you are and what you’ve set out to do. But while many people think their logo is their “brand,” it’s just one component – albeit an important one – in a much bigger picture. Your branding is also comprised of your company’s messaging and brand voice, which, ideally, work collectively to help people identify with you. Here are a few ways to create a brand that resonates with the right people.

Get to Know Your Audience

Before defining who you are as a company, think about who you’re trying to reach first. Pick one person from your primary and secondary audiences (i.e. stay-at-home moms, CEOs, animal owners, etc.) and create a profile in your mind of who this person is and what they look like. While people are as unique as their fingerprints, there are some commonalities based on the “roles” they play in life.

Ask yourself:

  • Is this person male or female?
  • What’s the first thing they think about when they wake up in the morning?
  • Where do they spend their free time?
  • What motivates them?
  • What do they want from your brand?

Go on a Speed Date As Your Brand

Imagine you’re on a “speed date” … as your brand. This means “you” will only have a few minutes to make a good first impression. In the real world, your target audience might not be so generous with their time.

Consider these questions:

  • How do you want the other person to perceive you?
  • What words would they use to describe you to someone else?
  • If they were to compare you to another brand (outside of your industry), which one would it be?
  • If they had to choose between you and another brand (who also happens to be good-looking and a snappy dresser), why would they choose you?

Introduce Your Brand to Others

Now that you’ve role-played to get to know your audience and brand better, it’s time to get feedback from the real deal: Actual people. Organize two different test groups, one comprised of members of your primary audience and the other for members of your secondary audience.

Show them:

  • Your logo.
  • A few pieces of marketing collateral (brochure, website, blog).
  • A demo of your products/services.

Afterward, have them take a survey about your brand, but also include open-ended questions, such as: “What emotion, if any, did you experience while reading our website copy?” Questions like that can help to ensure that your goals align with actuality.

If you’re still in the development stage of your branding, consider bringing two to three options for your logo design and brand messaging to these test groups. This can help you identify which version resonates with the test group before making your final decision.

What’s your biggest struggle as a brand? Share your feedback with us on our Facebook page.

July 18 2012

Developing Your Brand’s Voice

by Lauren Owens

Professional copywriters have to wear many hats. They have to shift on a daily – and sometimes hourly – basis to suit the purpose, brand and audience they’re writing for. As a result, “voice” is something copywriters think about all the time.

Voice is central to a brand’s identity. And, now that so much of business is conducted online, voice is more important than ever. So, if you haven’t taken the time to truly evaluate what your brand should sound like, there’s no time like the present.

Some things to consider when developing your brand’s voice:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What kind of language does your audience use?
  • Which brands do a good job marketing to your audience? (What do they sound like?)
  • What is the mood or idea you want your brand to emulate?
  • If your brand was a person, who would it be? (And what does that person sound like?)

As you begin to develop your brand’s voice, you will find that what you do is tied very closely to what you should sound like. If you’re in the business of selling meditation downloads, for example, your brand’s voice might sound very positive and easy going. If you’re in the business of selling stock advice, your brand’s voice might sound informed, mature and confident.

If you’re able to create a voice that resonates with your target audience, they’re more likely to want to hear what you have to say. And that – in the world of social media marketing – is golden.

July 11 2012

Six Ways to Establish Credibility with Your Audience

by Lauren Owens

Businesses seeking to establish themselves as industry experts or thought leaders should first take a look at whether their web content is helping or hurting their case. Follow these simple guidelines to start producing stellar content that not only increases conversions, but establishes your business as a credible voice.

1. Write with Authority

It’s important that you use an authoritative, yet approachable, voice in your blog, web and social media content. To write with authority, present thoughts easily, clearly and with confidence. And, write in an active (rather than passive) voice, putting the subject before the verb, i.e. “I ate five hamburgers” verses “Five hamburgers were eaten by me.”

Communicating clearly and effectively will go a long way in establishing your authority, but so will making sure you have something new to say. It’s important when you’re blogging to add to the collective conversation rather than simply putting your own spin on the same old information.

2. Know the Facts

Provide your reader with detailed information and back that information up by using sources. In other words — don’t be vague. Simply stating, for example, that ‘many’ people died last year due to lightening strikes lacks the gravity (and authority) that a real number can convey.

But passing along erroneous information will undercut your credibility more than anything else you do. If you’re citing a scientific study, government data or other industry expert, make sure you get it right.

3. Be Honest

It’s crucial that your audience be able to trust you. That’s why you should always convey honesty and sincerity — even if it’s bad for your brand in the short term.

4. Respect Their Intelligence

Your blog readers are just like you. They’re looking for solid information about something they’re interested in. If you talk down to your readers, give false information or attempt to “dumb down” your content, you’ll lose readers — and credibility – fast.

5. Maintain Consistency

Something as simple as using an en dash (—) in one place and an em dash (–) in another can make your website look as though it were rushed or cobbled together. It’s a good idea to follow style guidelines such as those defined by the Associated Press or the Chicago Manual of Style so that everyone who provides content to your website can do so correctly and with confidence.

Alternatively, companies can create their own style manuals that serve as quick and easy guidelines for anyone writing for your website, or about your products and services.

6. Do it Right

You can have the most brilliant ideas in the world, but if they’re not being communicated correctly and effectively, you’re undercutting your credibility. If you know that you’re not a good or effective writer, hand the task of maintaining your company blog, website and social media posts to someone who is. Because grammatical errors and clunky sentences can quickly repel readers — just as soon as they found your blog, they’ll back out and go someplace else.

If you need help in that regard, MoreVisibility has a team of seasoned copy writers ready, willing and able to help you with your blogging, web content and/or social media communication.

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