What Does Your Branding Say?
Branding is the visual representation of your business. Your branding or any graphic design work you have, is reflected in the colors you use, your logo, the fonts you choose, the appearance of your social media sites, clothing attire of employees, flyers or any other marketing collateral you might use for your business.
Branding is often the first impression someone might have of your business. They see a sign out in front of your brick and mortar. They see your logo on a flyer or Facebook page. These images are imprinted in our brains and are used to recall your business at a later date.
One of the biggest mistakes I see from small businesses is lack of brand consistency.
What Message Does Inconsistency Send?
Inconsistent branding presents its own message. It clouds the waters of your branding message with a message of instability and unprofessionalism. It shows lack of attention to detail and lack of focus. When you interact with a business, you want to know that the business is capable to handle whatever task they advertise. An inconsistent message makes for a shaky foundation of trust.
Imagine going to an interview in ripped or stained clothing. You wouldn’t do that. You would take care to present the right message through your appearance. The same must be done for your business.
What does Brand Consistency Look Like?
Here’s some common mistakes.
1. Mismatched colors.
Perhaps the colors or fonts don’t match on flyers or the website. You might use different shades of the same color, or even different color sets depending on who made what flyer. Often times I see business owners changing the colors and fonts to match the personal styles of the designer. While it might make the designer happy, this is inconsistent branding. (More later about why your branding is not for you.
2. Social Media Imagery.
The images on social media sites do not reflect any of the branding or improperly uploaded. I’ve even seen companies that have separate branding for separate mediums! It can be difficult to get proper photos for all your social media sites. Each one has different sizes and shapes. These graphics look best when they are properly cropped or positioned to the specific dimensions of that medium.
3. Outdated Logos.
It’s not uncommon for a logo to be modernized or freshened up. That will likely happen on a regular basis. When rebranding, the utmost care should be taken to make sure the brand message is retained.
Secondly, have all instances of the old logo been removed?
4. Inconsistent Listings on Web Directory Sites.
This one can actually have a negative effect on your SEO. Make sure your Google My Business listings, Yelp, website any other web directory has accurate and consistently formatted information. Make sure the hours, the address, the photos and all information on each and every directory is accurate and up to date.
5. Outdated information
While this isn’t exactly in the category of branding, I think it is worth mentioning. Outdated information on a website is a glaring eyesore.
Recently, I had an unfortunate experience with a local business. After checking its hours online, I visited the business, only to find they were not open when advertised. This instantly makes me think that the business is in trouble – likely having staffing issues, not making enough money to stay open or something of the like. Not only is it unprofessional, it’s frustrating for the client!
If you have events or specials that expired weeks ago, if you’ve changed your hours and haven’t updated this website – all these are things will frustrate a user. Their experience is doomed from the start with misrepresented and mismanaged expectations. It is better to have less info on your website, than to have inaccurate information. Here at KL Creative, we know and understand how time consuming managing your online presence can be. Nonetheless, it is absolutely crucial to stay on top of it.
More often than not, the website or social media page will be the first impression someone will get of your business. What does that first impression say?