Is your branding (or lack of) holding your business back?
As you may have noticed from browsing around my website or reading my previous blog posts, I'm very passionate about consistent and cohesive branding. For me, it's basically the most important thing about a business.
Yes, I'm probably a little biased because I'm a designer, but you'd be surprised how much importance your customers will place on how consistent your brand is too!
Firstly, what do I mean by consistent branding?
Your brand is essentially the personality of your business; it's what it dresses like and behaves like, and it's what other people would describe your business as.
Have you ever met someone who behaved and looked one way when they spoke to you, but behind your back or to other people they behaved or looked different? That would be an inconsistent personality, and chances are it probably made you feel kinda weird about that person.
The way your business looks, talks and behaves should all fit together and make sense to your customers and audience, no matter where they find your business (see my blog post about touchpoints to find out where that may be).
So other than people feeling 'kinda weird' about your business, what's the worst that could happen?
Below are some examples...
1. A perception of low quality
For my birthday last week, we were deciding on a restaurant to go to in the evening. I remember someone had mentioned to me to try this local seafood restaurant, but after downloading their menu from their website I was instantly put off.
The branding on their website, Facebook page and PDF menu were all so different, I just didn't know what I could expect from the place food-wise. It made me assume that the food would be low quality, because they hadn't put 'quality' into their branding.
Okay, so we did end up going in the end due to more recommendations vouching for the food (which was indeed delicious); word of mouth really saved the day here. But it very nearly turned me off completely!
2. Confusion & loss of trust
When you're trying to persuade customers to purchase from you, or get in touch via your contact form on your website, you want to make it as easy for them to do this as possible. Any mental barriers are a big no-no!
Having a confusing brand with little consistency, or too many sub-brands that all look different, adds a mental barrier for your customers. They'll start to get distracted by questions about what your business actually does or why there are so many different parts.
They may even become suspicious and lose trust in your business completely, because of its overcomplicated-ness.
3. Not be taken seriously
Another thing that happens when people see a confusion and inconsistent brand, is they believe you have failed to invest properly in your business.
If you haven't invested time and money into creating a professional brand, why should the customer invest their time and money in your business?
It makes it seem like you aren't taking your business seriously, or that you aren't intending to be professional or grow.
4. Be forgotten
A cohesive brand sticks in your memory much better than an inconsistent one! The stronger and more clear your business' personality is, the more likely people will remember it - just like people!
And the worst thing you can do in business is be easily forgotten - you need people to remember and think of you when they need what you offer.
5. Get overtaken by the competition
Continuing from the above point, this is especially important when you're in a competitive industry or niche. If your business is forgettable, people will go somewhere else instead.
Some industries actually offer the opportunity to get ahead of the competition by professionally branding yourself, because other businesses haven't quite caught on yet. Don't miss out on that wave, and stay ahead where you can!