FREE PR: 5 things you need to know about branding
Welcome to the first in a series of articles on how to get the right customers for your business, using familiar and freely available marketing channels.
We’d like to share a few things to consider which will make sure your marketing efforts are maximised. Suggestions which we think might help your business. (They’ve certainly helped ours).
Marketing, especially online, can appear to be a huge headache and time drain but if you bear in mind these points, it will be a much more effective use of your time and bring you more business.
So the key question for today’s ‘Part 1’ is
Are you ‘on brand’? How do people see you?
Does your brand truly reflect your values and business?
We’re going to cover five key areas.
- Your Business Name and ‘lines/products’
- Fonts (typeface and logo)
I would like to start by saying this: Most people are aware that marketing can take up a lot of time – and to be fair there’s nothing wrong with this as it will become potentially a really important source of new business. Some things can be outsourced regarding marketing, but in case you are wondering, your social media is best done by yourself, as it can be more personal and engaging.
However, if you have decided to outsource it, please make sure that you brief whoever is helping you to make sure that you’ve got key words and key messages locked in so everything is consistent and it APPEARS that it’s you doing it! (If you’ve not done reviewed this recently, keep your eyes peeled for a follow up post about your message and vision).
Having spent time and effort getting your business up and running, it would be a shame to miss opportunities attract potential clients.
Many brilliant ideas have gone by the wayside because the branding has not been thought through. And you don’t need a degree in marketing to do this.
You just need to have a think about some elements which will have a massive impact. A bit of time spent on this will reap huge rewards.
Why Branding Matters
‘What’s the scheme/product called?’
‘Where can I read more about it’
‘Can I please have some bright and colourful images to accompany a feature about it?’
These are reasonable questions from anyone who is helping you get the word out about your new business or project. And by helping you I mean perhaps giving you some free PR.
A feature on getting free PR is going to be coming soon, fourth in this little series. It’s something we’ve been very fortunate to have secured for our business over the last few years. And we wanted to share some of the secrets!
The images and the ‘catchy’, memorable and easy on the ear words you use to describe your business are key.
If you want to make the most of any free PR opportunities, or get shared or ‘likes’ on social media I am sure you’ve noticed that sometimes content is secondary to the art, or at least a joint first. If the product reads well and the visuals are lame or uninteresting, it might put you off buying a product/using the service perhaps? If that is the case, then you’ll need no convincing that the logo and imagery around your business is as important as the part of your business people are prepared to pay for.
1. Visuals are vital. Strong visuals which are eye catching and accurately reflect your brand are critical. Without them you are not going to be noticed in the sea that is social media or stand out in a print medium. Have a look at Unsplash or Canva for free images you could use. Or get in touch with an arty friend. Or make your own if you are that way inclined.
Images also need to be of you and the people behind the business. Photos should be a combination of square (which can be a crop from another more regular sized image) and landscape (with the landscape being the preference if you only have one option) as that is the shape most preferred by blogs, social media and press.
- What’s in a name? A strong, easy to remember brand or project name is also essential – if someone is going to mention you or refer your service to someone else they need something snappy, catchy and logical, something easy to remember, straight forward to type with no weird spelling. This is as important for the business as for any additional products/ services/lines you provide under the guise of your main business name.
And these phrases or names need to be used consistently. Across all the places people can find you.
- Can people FIND you? Is the name or phrase unique? It also needs to be searchable/findable as a unique phrase online. This is important as it’s the first thing someone is going to do, on hearing about your new service/product – put it into their search engine of choice. And ideally your business name should be consistent across all platforms.
You can make sure it turns up by creating a digital footprint initially yourself, created by you on your website, perhaps a blog post with the correct brand name in the url, which is then amplified by your PR and marketing across the platforms you embrace.
- Your Fonts. Your logo font and the fonts you use for ‘writing’ are what we’re talking about here. A font (or family of fonts) which represents your business is important. It needs to somehow convey something accurate about your business. What would you assume from a business based solely on their font? You will make assumptions and so will your potential clients about you. This also goes for the style of lettering, is it fussy or plain, casual or formal, whether it’s in caps or lower case (or a mixture of both). Are the letter uniform in size? More about this in the section about colour below.
- Colour. What colours do you use for your logo and typefaces? A shade of grey or perhaps black or maybe a colour? You also need to consider your logo colour carefully. All the above factors apply and you need to consider approachability when you work on this, and also consider its size; ie how big it is in relation to things it used on. Does it dominate? Is it discreet? Does it disappear on social media thumb nails? Can it be read at a glance?
And do your colours for the logo tie in with the key colours you use for your business?
You will need to be able to use your font and your logo on everything, particular social media. And if you create specific art for specific messages or posts, which I would highly recommend, you will need to know what the type face is and exact pantone print colour or code for the project which can be shared for instant recognition across your platforms. Perhaps it’s time for a refresh? Just because it’s always been done one way, doesn’t mean you can’t mix things up a bit.
If you’re at early stages of setting up your business or not happy with the name, or perhaps don’t yet have a ‘slogan’, ‘explanatory phrase’ or ‘elevator pitch’ for your business idea, you may want to have a read of the follow up feature about your message and vision which is coming next.
Choosing a font (search for free fonts to have your mind blown) is a task in itself. A very important one. You will know when you’ve found the right one. Or show a friend or two/someone you trust your top three preferences and see what appeals.
Being good isn’t enough. Your idea or project might be spot on and well organised. It may even have specific measurable outcomes which will reassure people and also some quotes from happy users. But if it’s not got a strong brand which can be shared online and in print, you are making your life more difficult than it needs to be.
You might have been running a business already but perhaps you’ve got a new scheme or service, product or project to offer your potential and current customers. And getting social media shares, LinkedIn shares or press and blog mentions is going to help boost your reputation and exposure.
I urge you to have a good think before you leap into full on promotion. A bit of thought and time spent now will reap dividends.
So please do yourself a favour and please create some images/art/photos, a logo or at the very least a type face for the project name, a colour it can be associated with and a title before you start telling the world about your business idea. It will mean you are able to capitalise on any and every opportunity which come your way.
This is the first in a series. They all link together to create a cohesive whole. So do keep your eyes peeled for most of these over the next week if this is of interest.
This first article was about your image and branding.
The second is about your message and vision.
The third is about using social media, rather than it using you!
The fourth is how to get free PR in print, online publications and on the radio.
If you have any questions about anything contained in this post please email Helen@theaccountancypractice.com or if you’d like to talk to someone about your business and accounts, please either ring David on 01763 257882 or email him at David@theaccountancypractice.com