Branding 101 for New and Seasoned Businesses

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We’ve been talking a lot about the value of building a brand and best practices to help you get started. This week, we decided to take this further. Instead of talking about branding from a Twitter, or even a social media perspective, we wanted to paint a much bigger picture. We invited entrepreneur and designer, Joe Human, to talk to us about the basics of branding for both new and established businesses. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Joe Human
Topic: Branding 101 for new and seasoned businesses
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What are the essential elements for a brand?

Authenticity, emotional connection with your audience, and a unique identity that showcases who you are and why you do what you do are the three most important elements a brand should have, according to our guest. Each will bring your brand immense value, especially having a personal relationship with your audience that helps them relate to you strongly.

Tristan added a few more things, including your logo, branded fonts and color themes, a consistent and unique tone of voice, and credibility.

Q2: Why is branding strategy important?

Having a strategy is having a plan. It helps you identify your short and long-term goals, and measure your progress along the way. Without a strategy, you won’t know what’s working and what’s not, which makes it harder to replicate and maintain success consistently.

As Madalyn explained, having a clear strategy is also a way to help yourself figure out what to post and when. Consider strategy as a bird’s eye view of your brand reputation. When you have the complete picture in front of you, you’ll know what sort of content you need to share more of, giving your content a strong purpose.

Christine added another important point to Madalyn’s. A brand strategy ties up all your efforts so that there aren’t any loose ends. And so, every brand exposure will become intentional and in line with your overall brand. This consistency is essential for developing your know, like, and trust factors.

Q3: How much should a brand invest in logo design?

Money questions are always tricky. Not all brands are the same, and not everyone can afford to carve out a lump sum to design a logo. Instead of obsessing about the exact price, consider a broader budget and identify ways to find the best logo for your business. As our guest pointed out, your logo should be distinct and memorable and have an extra visual element that your audience can easily relate to and recollect. Make sure your logo reflects your overall brand strategy and your business’ values.

All that said, remember that you get what you pay for, as Jim pointed out. A good quality logo speaks volumes, but a bad one does too. Don’t settle for a mediocre logo, because that’ll reflect badly on you and your business. While you don’t have to spend a fortune on it, don’t skimp on it either.

Q4: What are some things to consider when choosing a name for your brand?

Decide what type of name you want. For example, it could be descriptive, an acronym, or a completely experiential name. Each type has its merits and disadvantages, so weigh your options first. Once you have a name (or a few up for discussion), decide what value/emotion/meaning you want your audience to associate with it. For example, as our guest explained, Nike radiates community and big impact whereas Apple says simple and sophisticated. Once you’ve got a name, make sure someone hasn’t already taken that name.

In addition to those, also consider the important points Dustin mentioned. Your brand name should be easy to say and spell, not only for people in your region but also for people across the world. Some dialects are hard for people outside of those areas to pronounce. If you end up choosing a name that a large group of people mispronounces or misinterpret, you’ll potentially lose a lot of brand recognition.

Q5: Should a brand offer freebies to build loyalty?

We had a mixed bag of emotions from our community for this question. Our guest agreed, saying freebies are a great way to engage with people, but they can quickly get expensive. Make sure giving away freebies isn’t affecting your pocket and that the freebies are instrumental in converting people into loyal customers.

Elena gave us some context from the B2B market perspective. According to her, audiences usually want free content to assess you before they trust you with their contact details. It’s like sampling chocolate before you buy it.

Rachel had another interesting perspective. She agreed freebies are great, but she also suggested it should be a limited approach where you reward loyal customers with freebies as a thanks for their business.

Q6: Share some tips for brands to build rapport with their clients.

Joe’s top tips include regular follow-ups, actively seeking feedback on your services, supporting social causes and community efforts, empathizing with your audience in tough times, and engaging with them as friends and family. Building strong relationships is all about showing care and respect for each other.

Masooma shared a couple more great tips such as showcasing testimonials to assure potential customers and gain their trust and consistently offering valuable information so they see you as a reliable source of information rather than a brand that’s trying to sell something to them.

Q7: How can a new and upcoming brand differentiate themselves from the competition?

Research is key, said our guest. The more you know about what your customers are doing, the better your chances are of replicating their success and avoiding their mistakes. That’s not to say you should copy your competitors, but rather, be aware of their activities so you know which tactics work and which don’t.

Our friends from GiveWP gave us a bunch of options, and a fun way to think about differentiation. As a branding exercise, choose a bunch of adjectives that you’d associate with your brand and then act on those adjectives. For example, if you said your brand is mature and sophisticated, ensure your branding activities reflect that—whether it’s a custom GIF on Twitter or your website’s design.

Q8: How involved should employees be in a brand’s positioning?

Employees should be your biggest advocates. When they genuinely love the company they work for, it’ll reflect in the way they speak about the brand both online and off. Happy employees are also more productive and more friendly towards customers, helping your business grow on all levels.

To help employees get involved more easily, give them the resources they need, as Joana suggested. This includes branding and social media guidelines, encouraging them to engage with your content socially, and sincerely asking for their suggestions and feedback on how you can elevate your brand reputation.

Well, folks, that’s all from me. Thanks a lot for reading and for more great insights from our chat with Joe, check out this Twitter Moment that Joana put together. And if you’ve got some time to spare on Thursday afternoons, grab a drink and join us for our next #TwitterSmarter chat. We’ll be chatting away from 1pm ET. See you then!

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About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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