Do you know Coca-Cola, FedEx, and McDonald’s? You certainly do. We all do. And you know why you’re so familiar with them? The answer to this question is intuitive, expected and one-worded: branding. Branding is the secret behind a business identity. The way we see a business, what personality we associate with it, why we recognize it right away when we see its colors and logo are all consequences of branding. That is why Coca-Cola, FedEx and McDonald’s are not just businesses. They are brands. Every business strives to become a brand in time. As this is not just something that happens overnight, the brand is built slowly, constantly and through various ways. Elements like written materials, online communication channels, and promotional objects can contribute to building your brand. So here’s a list of elements you can brand, in order for people to recognize your brand easier: #1. Your website One of the first contact points between your customers and your business, your website has to talk about you. From logo display, to using your business colors; sharing your story – visitors have to picture your brand from the instant they got to your site. It should literally shout out “Yes, it’s me, the brand”. Of course, the shouting should be done in an elegant manner. Don’t overcrowd your website with branding elements. You don’t want to scare visitors, after all. What you could include on the website are:- your logo, a custom color theme, your business’ font, an About Us section, your mission and services, your team, images of your business’ physical space and products, and any other visual elements that contribute to the business identity. Image courtesy of Moo.com #2. Your social media channels These broadcast your brand image and message across the web. Thus, it’s important what you post to them. Choose a representative profile picture (most probably your business logo), a compelling and relevant cover photo, a succinct business description and the content that best engages your followers. Be careful to respect the sizes for social media images, so that they don’t appear distorted. Image courtesy of McDonald’s #3. Your business’ architecture Believe it or not, but the architecture can say a lot about your brand, no matter if it’s the shape of the building, the look of the lobby or the way office spaces are arranged. Let’s take Google, for example. What comes to your mind when you see their offices? Image courtesy of mydoma design My guess is that Google’s interior design will inspire your innovation, multi-culturality, dedication and creativity. In a similar way, you can choose to brand your office space so that it best shows who you are and how people should perceive you. Use the right colors, furniture items, space segmentation and design elements to define your brand. #4. Your web forms From the popular contact form on your website, to your lead generation form and the customer feedback survey you plan on running, your web forms have to sustain your business’ identity. Small tweaks like adding your logo, choosing a custom colour and images for the form background, personalizing your calls to action and messages you display to customers, can contribute to strengthening your brand. This way, people will match the forms with the brand, no matter if they see them in a section of your site, in a lightbox, on social media or in their email inboxes. Image courtesy of 123ContactForm #5. Your business presentations Another asset that needs to wear your business trademark. Whether you’re using PowerPoint presentations, Prezis, PDFs, video brochures, white papers or any other presentation channels, you should know how important it is that they wear your business’ visuals. When sending a PDF presentation of your company to a prestigious partner, they need to recognize what business they’re looking at. And this needs to happen from the instant they open the PDF, until its last page, without people having to look for the email sender, in order to spot the company name. Same rules apply here: presentation materials need to show your business logo, they should respect your color theme and the official company font. #6. Your promotion materials Besides on-screen company presentations, your company will probably also use offline promotion materials like brochures, flyers, business cards, coupons, catalogues. Just like online presentations need to carry identification marks from your business, offline ones do too. And they basically include the same elements like online materials. One thing to keep in mind though is that online and offline design have to follow the same pattern and style. Otherwise you risk confusing people, as they won’t know if it’s the same company they saw on the business card, compared to the one whose website they’re looking at. Image courtesy of Ikea In an extended way, company cars can serve as promotion channels too, when they wear your business’ identification elements. #7. Your team members’ t-shirts Getting personalized t-shirts for your team members is a good branding opportunity. For one, they confer your team unity. Second, t-shirts can be worn in a large variety of circumstances, be they work related or non work related. When an employee wears their t-shirt with the business logo, for example while volunteering for a good cause, your company will benefit of great exposure. Moreover, logo t-shirts are useful when taking company pictures to use across the web. Plus, employees can wear them for any occasion like teambuildings, office events, CSR actions and others. #8. Your freebies For a business, offering freebies to its customers can be of great value, as freebies have the power of engaging people. Furthermore, a freebie can come in useful to customers, if they have a practical purpose. For example, you could offer your clients a customized pen wearing your business logo. When they’ll use it for signing papers, taking notes or exchanging contact information, other people can see your logo too. Thus, your exposure will grow once again. When talking about freebies, there’s really such a large gallery to pick from, that only your goals and budget can give your freebie choice a better orientation. First of all, you can select either online freebies or physical items. Of course, you can go for both, if it suits your needs. Online freebies can take the shape of ebooks, white papers, postcards, images, and many more. Physical items can range from office items, to anything like cup holders, coffee mugs, pillows, t-shirts, stickers, badges, bags, caps and so on. There’s a huge selection available. With freebies, branding guidelines go pretty much the same as with presentation or promotion materials. Your business logo, colors and name will work for you in growing your audience. Contact details or a short idea on the services and products you offer can also create notoriety for your business. If it’s appropriate, you can even use custom or fun messages to display using the freebie. Basically, the more interesting the freebie design and use case, the more success and engagement it can bring you. Freebies from HootSuite These are the to-be-branded elements on my list. How about you? What do you brand in your business, so that people can recognize it at every step? 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