Online branding is a key business activity for sales, customer/client acquisition, hiring, and partnerships. It is the foundation on which you build your marketing and business communication strategies. Be strategic and intentional in defining your brand.
What is a business brand?
Your brand is the image people attach to your business. It is a sum of many elements, which collectively define your brand identity.
Your business brand evokes certain perceptions and feelings about your business. Perceptions relate more to those who haven't yet purchased your services such as visitors to your website or social media pages. On the other hand, feelings about your business are formed in the minds of customers that have already experienced your service.
Why is online branding important?
People interact with your business at multiple touch points online. At each touchpoint, you have the opportunity to communicate or reinforce your brand identity. Here are some reasons why branding matters:
- Building trust: People want to know who they are working with. By conveying what you're all about through your online brand, you can sow the initial seeds of trust that grow into sales and loyalty.
- Encouraging interactions: People feel motivated to engage with businesses they feel confident about. By expressing who you are, your online brand gives people the confidence to get in touch with you.
- Recognizing you over others: Current and future customers will bump into you on various online channels. A consistent brand identity places you in customers' minds, giving you an advantage over other freelancers.
- Generating brand loyalty: You don't want to be known as just another consulting business. Building a strong brand identity early on does its bit to convince happy customers to keep coming back to you.
- Cutting marketing costs: Once your customers become familiar with your business brand, you don't have to put extra effort in convincing them that you can be trusted, which will reduce your marketing costs.
How do you brand your business online?
Branding involves creating the look and feel of your business on your website, social media pages, and other online channels you're on. There's the visual aspect of your visual brand, comprising all the elements that represent your brand. Messaging and tone of voice are other key aspects of your brand identity. They are concerned with what you say and how you come across to your audience.
Your visual brand consists of your logo, color, typography, and photography.
- The best logos are unique, memorable, and have meaning built into them. They communicate key brand messages and values.
- The color scheme of your website can create certain perceptions about you. Reading up on color psychology - how colors influence perceptions - is helpful in determining a suitable color palette for your brand.
- Typography and fonts can also evoke certain emotions but the relationship between the two is complex. Your time is better utilized in picking readable and user-friendly typography that renders legibly on all browsers and devices.
- Photographs and even the video(s) on your Home Page, YouTube or other social media channels are connected to your visual brand. High-quality photos and videos strengthen your visual brand identity.
Pictures speak louder than words. Visuals are an effective way to capture people's attention. The time or monetary investment you make in creating compelling brand visuals have both short- and long-term business benefits.
Messaging and tone
Brand messaging is how you elucidate your value proposition and the language you use. Tone or tone of voice is how you speak to your audience. In the online context, it refers to the tone you use in your website copy, social media posts, and YouTube videos. Messaging and tone of voice are a part of your overall business communications - how you appear on your website is how people expect you to be when they interact with you in person or via a video call.
- Messaging is most effective when it is conversational and friendly, and simple, and to the point.
- An optimistic and positive tone of voice makes you appear kind and approachable.
- Genuine messages and authentic interactions help forge stronger connections with customers.
- Criticizing competitors in your website copy or on social media reflects poorly on your brand.
Branding is an ongoing exercise
The attributes that define your brand may become minimum requirements in the future. Your brand messaging should reflect a shift in customer needs and market evolution. Also, consider reviewing your online brand identity when you expand your offerings or hire people and work towards accelerating business growth. In all instances, make sure that the changes fit your new brand and appear cohesively across all your online channels.
We understand the importance of branding and appreciate how time-consuming and expensive building a truly distinctive brand can be. That's the reason we partnered with Branding expert, strategist, and designer, Amanda Guerassio to host the NOMAWO Branding Track, an 8-week program. For service entrepreneurs to learn and build their brand with an expert alongside a small group of peers in a short duration of time and at a fraction of cost.