As a marketing consultant, I’ve seen just about every branding faux-pas imaginable. From solopreneurs on a scrappy budget to multi-million dollar companies, I see the same branding mishaps over and over again.
Here’s why: most businesses simply overlook the importance of establishing a brand identity.
Logos, images and colors play an important role, but it’s the deliberate use of these elements that make for a recognizable brand.
I call this “persuasive design” – when all elements come together to form a visual identity that builds trust with your customer.
And one of the greatest components to building trust is demonstrating consistency.
Consistency leads to recognition, and recognition leads to trust.
I’ve spent years teaching others how to restore their brand and clarify their message to attract loyal clients. While these are mostly just scratching the surface, here are 5 quick-fixes you can implement today to strengthen your brand identity.
1) Get a professional headshot.
The best advice I ever received when it came to taking quality photos was to “express yourself the way your friends would see you having a good time”. A friendly smile is all it takes to invite your audience in.
When paired with a neutral background (think black or white), you’ve got everything you need to represent yourself professionally.
For those with an online business, your headshot will act as a first impression for your clients. So, get this one right. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to get done.
For more on how to prep for your photoshoot, check this out.
2) Use the same headshot across all social media.
It’s been proven that it takes people 7-10 times of seeing the same image before they recognize it on their own accord. So why not maximize all the touch-points your audience has with you and your brand?
Once you’ve invested in a proper headshot, use it everywhere. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, your website, and email should all use the exact same headshot.
You’ll be surprised at how well this works when connecting with clients online.
3) Insert your logo… everywhere.
Your logo is just as important as your headshot as an identifier of your brand.
How easily can your recall Nike’s logo? How about McDonald’s?
These logos are instantly recognizable because they are put everywhere… shamelessly.
When it comes to my own personal brand, I make an effort to slap my logo on all marketing materials. Everything from webinar slides to the individual pages of my website includes my logo.
This is the single best way for you to build subliminal brand awareness. The more people are familiar with your logo, the more they will trust your content when they come across it.
Remember, consistency leads to recognition… and recognition leads to trust.
4) Keep your website up to date
I mean this literally.
One of my biggest pet peeves is not seeing the current year at the bottom of someone’s website. It immediately gives me the impression that that person hasn’t updated their site in a long time.
It doesn’t matter if they have brand new content or slick design. An outdated year on your website can come off negligent.
It seems nit-picky, but I can assure you most people think this way.
When you look at the bottom of someone’s site and it reads 2012, your mind will automatically notice a disconnect and doubt the relevancy of the content you’re being sold.
5) Keep your brand colors consistent.
When it comes to branding, a little goes a long way.
Consistent colour palettes are one of those seemingly little things that make a big impact.
Just think of your favorite sports team. Chances are you can recall their team colors instantly. The NY Giants main color is blue … and fans literally call them “Big Blue”.
Not a sports fan? Try identifying the colors of the McDonalds logo.
I bet you didn’t even have to think about that one.
Creating a clear visual presence is just another necessary factor when it comes to brand recognition. And keeping your brand top of mind is of utmost importance when it comes to growing your business.
Just think of your brand as a virtual storefront. You want everything to appear clean, consistent, on-brand and inviting so guests want to drop by, stay awhile and return.
The above steps sound simple, and they are. But like most simple things they’re hard to follow through on because they require time and discipline.
To give you a big picture view, I’ve put together a simple framework I call The Brand You Blueprint: 7 Steps To Building A Profitable Personal Brand. If this resonates with you, just click the picture and enter your email.