What Exactly is Branding?

Guest Post by Julie Young, Young Design

People can get confused about the term “branding”. A brand is just another term for identity in the marketplace. For companies, it’s corporate branding – the things that convey your company’s personality and that set it apart from the competition.

Designers and marketers create the basics of a company’s brand through the development of logos, tag lines, colors, fonts, images, the tone of any written content, and through interactivity on the Web. These elements trigger emotional reactions that govern how the market interacts with a product or service. This great article from Smashing discusses cool examples of “emotional design.”

Four Ways to Define and Maintain Your Company’s Unique Brand

  1. Be clear. Don’t muddy the waters with confused messages. How do you want to be seen? Be as clear as you can about who your market is, what you do, how you do it, your particular strengths and your voice. Get comfortable with how your company will communicate with your market.You may change your strategy or your product, but the brand should stand firm. Some companies find themselves wanting to change their name to reflect changes in their product or service – instead, they should ask themselves, “Is this a whole other company?” Maybe it can be an offshoot of the parent company.
  2. Don’t sell your brand short. Spend your dollars on high-quality web, digital and print collateral. Your brand should reflect the value of your company – why go cheap on branding when you offer a superlative service and product? How can the market recognize your quality, if not mostly due to branding? Having sub-par branding reflects badly on your company and your message.
  3. Consistently apply your brand across all mediums. Style guides and templates are the tools typically used to keep the brand on track, with strict guidelines for logo size, color palettes, fonts, and how to treat any variations. These approved guidelines for web, email blasts, and print collateral act as barriers to any rogue efforts that might dilute or cheapen the brand.It’s also wise to have corporate brand guidelines for social media, particularly tone. Getting your market to interact with you is part of building your brand – if they have a positive experience, they’ll spread the word to others. Your corporate “voice” should be consistent with the company’s style, whether formal or conversational. It can be jarring to read jokey or questionable tweets and posts from a company whose brand is conservative and well-respected.
  4. Consider corporate vs. individual brand. If you’re a blogger, commenter, or have a profile on any social media app, you’re a marketer of your own personal brand. In today’s world of immediate access, anyone can (conceivably) build an audience.The same points above apply to the individual: Be aware of how you want to be perceived, control that perception, and be consistent. Maintaining brand integrity keeps your market comfortable with you – and loyal.

About the Author

Julie Young is a print and web designer at Young Design. For over 20 years, she has been creating quality branding, websites, print collateral and email marketing to help companies communicate with their customers in order to raise profiles and profits.

Boost Your Business With Brand Images

Guest Post By Melissa Henry, CEO of Melissa Demple Photography, LLC

“Having good images allows you to claim higher prices.”
Melina Palmer, Behavioral Economics Expert and Host of “The Brainy Business Podcast”

Exactly when WAS the last time you had photos taken for your business?

I know, I know…getting your photos taken is about as much fun as going to the dentist. No offense to the dentists out there but if you are one, I bet you don’t like having your photo taken either!

When you started your business, you needed a headshot for your LinkedIn profile and website. So, you found a photographer and ended up with a decent professional photo of yourself on a boring gray background that shows people what you look like, right?

And hey, that’s all you really need. I mean you aren’t trying to become an Instagram influencer, you just want to have a successful business, right?

Well, let me ask you…

  • Do you dream of creating a wildly successful online business?
  • Are you a speaker who wants to land big stages and get paid to speak?
  • Do you dream of becoming known as the expert in your industry?
  • Do you want to be a best-selling author?
  • Do you want to easily pivot in your business and bring your audience with you?

If you said yes to any of these, then stay with me.

Brand_Photo_Melissa Demple Photography

What are personal brand photos?

Personal brand photos are images that result from intentionally creating a visual interpretation of the concepts you want to communicate to your target audience and transformations your product or service provides to your ideal clients.

Yes, that’s my “technical definition” but since that’s pretty boring, I’ll also put it this way:

Personal brand images help you:

  • Stand out online
  • Build the know, LOVE, and trust factor
  • Show your audience why they must choose YOU
  • Sell out your offers
  • Sell more books!
  • Show event organizers why YOU should speak at their event

Besides all of those pretty amazing things, here’s something really interesting. Did you know that social media posts that include images produce 650% higher engagement than text only posts?

Yes, that saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is totally true!

Brand_Photo_Melissa Demple Photography

What images should I have?

The possibilities for your brand images are practically endless. Since the whole point of branding is to highlight your uniqueness and why your ideal client should choose you, no one list of specific images will work for all people. However, I’ve put together some general ideas for images you can, and should have for your business:

A high-quality horizontal image that can be used as the “hero” image on your website. For most service-based business, you can make this an image of you, you working with a “client” OR a client after they have experienced “transformation” as a result.

Create images that show your most important personality traits or aspects about your life that connect you with your ideal client. The key is to be intentional about truly connecting with your audience.

Create images that show emotion! If you want your clients to feel empowered and confident, an image of a client standing in a power pose looking towards the “future” with a smile really drives home the point!

Create some “behind the scenes” images too. It’s a fact that people will feel closer to you if you show them that little peek behind the curtain in your business.

Brand_Photo_Melissa Demple Photography

Using your brand photos

You may be thinking, “Hey Melissa, thanks for the info but where the heck would I even use photos like these anyway?” I’m here to tell you that you can use your images to connect with your audience in tons of ways.

Here’s how my speakers, authors and entrepreneurs have used their images to grow their business and their impact:

  • Website
  • Profiles and banners for social media
  • Speaker bios and one-sheets
  • Blog posts
  • Media kits
  • Podcast art and video podcast intros
  • Social media posts
  • Newsletters
  • Lead magnets
  • Webinars
  • Book covers
  • Magazine articles, and much more!

Get the tools you need

If you’ve read this far, I am guessing that at least one of these statements are true for you:

  • You are sick and tired of attracting price-shopping clients
  • You are frustrated that you get little engagement on your social media
  • You want to attract the RIGHT clients without being pushy or having to “market” AT them all the time

Imagine if your website and social media platforms enticed your ideal clients to comment on your posts, grab your new freebie, and schedule calls with you, without having to keep proving that you are the expert.

Wouldn’t that feel amazing?

If this sounds like you, grab my FREE “Boost Your Brand Toolkit”

This toolkit will help you identify actionable steps to take to:

  • Attract more of the kinds of clients who are ready to buy
  • Land more speaking opportunities to grow your audience and get more leads
  • Have an irresistible brand that helps you call in the RIGHT clients with ease
  • Up-level your look and scale your business
  • Show up as an expert and thought leader in your industry

I cannot wait to see you SHINE online!

About the Author

Melissa HenryMelissa Henry, CEO of Melissa Demple Photography, helps speakers, authors and entrepreneurs become KNOWN. Walk away feeling like a rock star with powerful clarity on your personal brand, including unique images that wow your target audience and help you sell out your programs, books and win those coveted keynote spots!

Quoted in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and featured in Thrive Global as well as on podcasts such as The Rita Made Me Do It Show, No Fat Cats, and Two Girls Talking, Melissa understands the challenges of standing out in the crowded marketplace and will make sure you and your business do too!

5 Easy Ways to Gain Social Media Followers

Brands use social media platforms to connect with their audience. So, you want to gain social media followers for your brand.

You want to connect with people who will actively engage with your content, share it with their networks, and be customers. Here are 5 tactics to consider to grow your social media following.

Post Content Your Audience Cares About

Give both prospective and current fans a reason to follow you on multiple platforms. Don’t just share links, share your perspective. Create content that people won’t see elsewhere. Provide value and entice followers to stay tuned in.

Tailor your content for each channel’s users. Use Twitter to share latest news and real-time alerts and Facebook to tell longer stories about the people who are part of your brand. Use Instagram to share awesome images that illustrate who you are.

Respond to Your Community

When a follower takes time to comment or send you a question, respond. Quickly. Let them know they matter.

When you make your online community feel heard and acknowledged, they’re more likely to become engaged and serve as your most loyal social media ambassadors.

Include a Visual with Every Post

Include an eye-catching, colorful image or graphic with each post. The data shows that content with relevant images gets more views than content without images.

Video gets the most engagement on all social platforms, so use video if you can. Be sure to upload your video directly to your platform of choice, rather than posting a link to an outside website (like YouTube). This way, your video will autoplay as people land on it while scrolling through their feeds, grabbing more attention. There is also evidence that most platforms give higher visibility to videos that are not external links.

Change Your Page Photos

Keep your presence fresh and new by updating your profile photo and banner. Use them to showcase your latest developments and demonstrate that you are active.

Be Personable

The most successful brands on social media establish a personality. They create content that makes people smile and even laugh. (We all need to laugh!) Find a way to connect with your followers that injects some fun into the experience.