Your company has spent a lot of time defining and creating your brand and identity. You may have paid a design company to create a logo or a new name and a custom color scheme and paid a Web designer to create a website that matched your logo. With those elements completed, you may think your branding is complete. Unfortunately, a great logo does not a great company make. Your identity really does reach far beyond your logo.
Your designer does not define your brand identity. Your true brand identity is the view your customers have of your company. While your website and your logo are a large part of this, your customers will come from other avenues as well. When working on your branding, consider the following elements of your brand and identity.
1) Business Cards - This seems like an obvious place to start, but some clients and customers will first meet your employees inside or outside the office. Your business cards must not only include your logo and colors, but reflect the quality of your product and your business. Flimsy paper cards, while effective at distributing information, will reflect poorly on your brand.
2) Emails - You should create and use a uniform email signature for all of the employees. This creates immediate credibility for every employee who may have contact with a client with whom they have not previously interacted, and it helps your emails stand out in inboxes.
3) Workplace - Regardless of your industry, you will probably have clients and customers in your workspace. Your location and your logo on the wall are not the only thing that have an impact on clients. The sounds, smells, and cleanliness of your workplace can also affect their view of your company.
4) Customer Service - Everyone knows the importance of great customer service. If a company has bad customer service, it can often result in bad reviews and negative referrals. But sometimes it’s small components of your customer service that people remember most.
For instance, Gates, a popular BBQ restaurant here in Kansas City, has their employees ask, “Hi, may I help you?” to every one of their customers. While this seems standard, their cashiers are so consistent about doing this that it has become a part of their brand. Now their logo proudly features the phrase “Hi, may I help you?” Their business became so well known for something so simple that it became a major part of their brand.
5) Forms - A lot of businesses use forms to gather information on their clients and customers. While it may be easy to simply throw something together in order to gather the information needed, it is worth it to spend some time designing the forms so they fit with your logo and branding. This goes for Web forms, too. Using tools like WuFoo can help create beautiful and effective forms that you can send via links.
Branding is something about which you should always be aware. These are just a few examples of what goes into branding. Take some time to think about how your customers first interact with your company and whether or not you are doing a good enough job branding it. You may be surprised by the results.