By Helene Kelly
How do you know when it’s time to refresh your brand?
Since your company’s brand has become synonymous with the very identity of your business or organization, it is critical to review and examine all the elements of your branding program at least every 12 to 18 months. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to change anything, but certainly, you may want to make a few tweaks.
Understand that customers who visit your website, YouTube channel, corporate Facebook page and any other social media platforms you’re using to promote your business are judging your company on how well you maintain those “touch points” and are, in turn, making decisions about whether or not they want to do business with you.
Where To Start
I would recommend taking a bird’s eye view of your website starting with the basic format. Today’s websites are typically structured in a horizontal format with big, bold graphics. If your company is still using the old vertical, run-on pages with loads of copy and very few graphics or photos, you are considered ‘old school’ and that image will negatively impact your brand. Customers want to do business with organizations that have a fresh, up-to-date, clean, exciting look and feel to your brand; not something old and stuffy.
Content is king. Make sure that the content on your website is well-written by someone who knows how to write. Content development for social media may allow for more flexibility and less structure, but your corporate website should read well; have good grammar and sentence structure with key points that the reader can grasp quickly. If you cannot get your point across on your website, it demonstrates that as a business owner or marketing director, you’ve haven’t taken the time to communicate with your audience in a way they can understand.
Visuals and other imagery should connect with your brand. There are highly skilled graphic designers who can create award-winning graphics, but if they are more art than function, you’re doing your website and other marketing materials a disservice because you’re not using them for the very purpose they’re meant which is to connect to your customer; to promote your brand; and to sell your product or service.
Your company’s Facebook page allows you access to the social media site’s 2.27 billion active users. A well-designed, well managed Facebook page can yield your business more than any other promotional activity in your marketing plan while costing you a fraction of your marketing budget. For this reason, you want to be thoughtful with each and every one of your posts. If your goal is to portray a professional, conscientious brand, make sure your posts mirror that sentiment. I counsel my clients to “pre-craft” their posts before they hit the “post” button so they read them first. Posts done in haste can easily backfire and end up costing your company rather than generating goodwill and new connections.
You Tube Channel
If you’re a retail company selling low-cost products, videos recorded from a smartphone are completely acceptable but if your company’s revenues are more than $1 million, I recommend investing in a professional videographer to shoot proper footage of your products, services, company location, staff members, “how to” videos and any other video content you want to post. Also, review your channel art. Does it reflect your branding in terms of logo, PMS colors, and corporate typeface? These and other key elements of your official branding should remain consistent throughout all your marketing materials both online and in printed form.
Company Graphics, Photos
If your landing page on your website or your corporate brochure still features a photo of an old building or fleet, it’s time for a refresh. If you don’t have the budget to hire a professional photographer, consider using a stock photo that exemplifies the message you’re striving to communicate to your audience. Know that you don’t necessarily need to show a photo of your building particularly if it’s not attractive. There are so many options to showcase the best features of your company and its products or services without having to use images that don’t tell the real story about your organization.
Seek The Outsider
If you want a truthful perspective on what your brand is conveying to your customers, ask someone not connected with you personally or your company. This is the best way to gain some real, honest advice and feedback about the areas in which your brand could stand a face lift. A sincere, constructive review of your brand can result in catapulting your sales to a whole new level.