One of the constant struggles as a small business owner is the fact that you have to wear so many hats in your business. One minute you’re doing the accounts, the next you’re the designer, social media manager or CEO. That list barely scratches the surface of the jobs a small business owner has to do every day, week and month.
If the average person makes 35000 decisions a day – think how many of those are to do with our businesses. One of the amazing things about having really clear branding is that it can dramatically decrease the number of decisions you are making. Ever seen the memes of Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg wearing the same outfit all the time,? Reducing the amount of decisions they have to make. Well you could think of your branding as your business uniform.
One of the really important aspects of branding is keeping it consistent. You want to clearly communicate what your business is about as quickly as possible and as humans who respond incredibly quickly to visuals (especially colour) it’s important to build up the recognisability of your business through branding. This is so that for any aspect of your brand that someone interacts with they know (within split seconds) it’s coming from you.
This is built up over time by people being exposed to consistent visuals, so that when they see a particular colour, certain font, certain style of design – they will immediately know that what they’re looking at comes from your business.
Good and consistent branding builds trust, grows reputation and increases recognisability – all very important when trying to get your message out into the world.
So now that we have established how important it is – I want to share with you five tips for making your branding consistent.
1. Create brand guidelines
Brand guidelines are basically a rule book for your visual branding. In its simplest form it’s a document showing all the assets of the branding (logos, colour palette, font, illustrations, design elements etc) Having one means that you can keep all of the information about your branding at hand for when you’re designing – but also if you ever outsource design jobs for your business you can provide this document so that other people can also make sure anything they produce is consistent and on brand.
2. Keep it simple
If you’re not a professional designer but are creating all the branding and design materials for your business then don’t make things complicated for yourself. Simple design that maybe isn’t going to wow anyone is much better than BAD design that is going to put people off your business or slow people down when it comes to understanding what you do. An example of bad design is anything where the text isn’t legible. Maybe it’s too small, or in a colour that doesn’t contrast enough with the background, maybe the font is too frilly or the spacing between the letters too tight or far apart. These are perfect examples why keeping it simple is best. If your audience or customers can’t read what you’re trying to say – they will give up and move on. Not what you want when you’re trying to make sales or find new clients.
3. Have a strategy
When you have a goal of where you want to get with your business you can start to put in place a plan to make it happen. When you’re considering your wider business strategy you should also think about your brand strategy. How is the look and feel of your business (your visual branding) going to help you reach those goals? Knowing where you’re trying to get to and what you want to achieve will help you to make better and more consistent decisions about implementing your branding.
4. Know your audience
One of the key parts of brand strategy is knowing who your target audience is. This information will help you to communicate to them as effectively as possible. If you know who it is that you’re talking to, and who you’re trying to attract to your business then it will help you to make sure your branding and designs are relevant and appealing to them. If you’re trying to talk to and attract too many different demographics of people your messaging will get confusing and won’t be clear enough.
5. Be authentic
One of the hardest things about being a brand online is that you’re exposed to hundreds of other brands and what they’re doing every single day. It can be so easy to get distracted by what other people are doing and what seems to be working for them instead of focusing on what is right for you and your business and what represents your brand authentically. Take time to work out what your brand values are and make sure those are communicated well through everything that you do. Being authentic as a business will again help you to be consistent in everything that you put out into the world.
I really hope that these tips have been helpful as you consider the impact your brand is having and how effectively it’s working for you.