January 3, 2012 | Branding, Design Trends
The end of one year and the beginning of the next is a time when we all tend to look inside and figure out what we can do better. As a business owner, it’s time to look at your brand identity and see what you can do better.
Remember, a stronger and more unified brand identity will lead to better recognition among your prospects, growing trust and a better ability to attract better, higher paying clients.
- Go through your web site, page by page, and identify content that is out of date. Anything that can be easily updated do so immediately.
- Any content that is no longer relevant should be eliminated.
- If you’ve abandoned your blog, take it out of the navigation.
- Write a list of all content that needs more lengthy updating, or needs to be developed. Delegate the task to someone and give it a deadline. Don’t know who’s going to write it? Give us a call and we’ll refer you to a great writer or editor.
- If you’ve been writing a blog that is not housed within your web site or domain name (for example if you’re using a .wordpress URL or blogspot) integrate it into your site. Not sure how to do that? Give us a call.
- If you have a blog or other area that needs new content frequently, ask everyone around you for ideas. Generate a long list of topics based on feedback from your employees, your readers, your clients, your vendors, your partners, etc. Figure out what people want to read about. It will make your content more relevant and help you find topics to write about.
- Update your client list to ensure that it is current.
- Update your employee list to add new hires and eliminate people who no longer work there. In these recessionary times, some organizations have kept staff on their web site to make it look like they are bigger than they are. It’s time to just come clean with who is currently working for you.
- Take a look at all the business cards floating around your office. Do all the employees have up-to-date logos, taglines, colors, paper, contact information and titles on their cards? Figure out what is correct and current.
- Make sure that the correct files are identified on your server, with your designer or with your printer. Whoever orders the cards needs to know what the correct standards are.
- Are there employees who have received promotions who need new cards? Order them now.
- It is often cheaper to print more than one business card at the same time. Figure out who is low on cards and order them now too.
- Consider using thicker, higher quality paper on your business cards. It makes an important first impression about the quality of your brand.
- Do you have an electronic version of your letterhead and standards for how letters, memos or proposals should look? If not, create some template files for everyone to use, watch this video to learn how.
- Check out email signatures. These don’t have to be 100% consistent from one employee to the next, but ensure that everyone who includes a logo is using the right one and no one is using incorrect addresses, taglines, etc.
- Make sure you and your employees are using an email address from your company whenever you contact clients and prospects. Don’t use gmail, hotmail, yahoo, etc. Think it doesn’t matter? Read this white paper report and realize what a bad impression you are creating if you use a non-branded email address.
- Make sure you have an organized logo library available to all your employees. When a small business owner goes from being a solopreneur to having employees often these details don’t get shared very well. Review the files everyone is using, discard any that are incorrect, and post good clean files on a server, dropbox, other other accessible place. Not sure what type of files to use and share? Read about the difference between pixel and vector-based graphicsto make sure you got the right files from your logo designer.
- If you realize that you need variations on the logo, hire a professional do it. For example, there may be times you want to separate the logo’s symbol from the logotype. Or you may need a horizontal or vertical version of the logo. Rather than having employees create these on the fly, have your graphic designer add to your logo library in an organized way to keep your brand consistent. Read this post (scroll to the bottom), to help you figure out if you should you have more than one version of your logo.
- Claim your Twitter handle. You don’t have to use it, but you can put your basic contact info there and more information about the best way to get in touch.
- Properly brand your Twitter landing page with a logo that is sized appropriately.
- If you have a Facebook page, at minimum place a logo that is sized appropriately on the page.
- If you are going to use Social Media, have a plan for who is doing the updates, what are appropriate topics, and how available you’ll be. If you need some more guidance about personal vs corporate branding, read this blog post.
- Double check that any links to social media, from your web site or email signature are accurate.
- If you are unable or not interested in using social media, remove the links/icons from your web site.
- Take a look at all of these places mentioned, as well in any printed materials, presentations such as on Slideshare or created in Powerpoint, and see if things are consistent. If you want some ideas of what to look for, read about 8 Essential Elements to a Comprehensive Brand Identity. Each touchpoint with customers or prospective clients should have a consistent, and recognizable brand identity.
What else did I forget that you are taking time to examine this New Year’s season?