Your brand message is present everywhere. In fact, it’s all around you—in reality and virtually. That’s not meant to scare you though; this isn’t the Matrix—I promise. But, if you want to ensure your business message is working for your company, you need to know where it is and what it looks like to others. If you neglect your brand message appearance in certain areas, you may be losing a huge audience. Imagine all of the prospective clients you can attract if your brand message is accurate and strong in every area where it’s present.
Where does your brand message appear?
A business card: Many times a business card is what reminds prospects to call you. If you don’t have a professional-looking business card that projects an accurate brand message, your card might as well go in the garbage.
Blog appearance: An organized sidebar, constantly updated content, and contact information that is easy to find are crucial if you want prospects returning to your blog—or for that matter, even reading it. A sloppy-looking blog that isn’t updated shows to prospects that your business must be the same way. Don’t let them think this.
Comments you leave on other blogs: Offer constructive comments that add to the conversation. A nasty response isn’t going to attract anyone.
Digg: Increase your friend base and add valuable information to the conversation. Digg other people’s articles and blogs—not just your own.
Email signature and content: Be professional, and be sure to include your name, website, and contact information in your email signature. Avoid using a long-drawn-out signature that has lots of colored fonts. This is overkill.
Facebook: This is a viral social media platform, so whatever you say can go a long way. Be sure you are projecting your brand image appropriately and accurately.
Graphic design (on both print collateral and online): Bad graphic design elements could be projecting an inaccurate brand image for your company. Make sure you use graphics that drive the prospect to take action, that are in line with your brand image, and that don’t look cheap.
Homepage: Your website homepage should invite the prospect to search deeper into your website and learn more about your company and the products / services you offer. And it only has 3 – 5 seconds to do this, so make it count. Industry discussion forums: Provide valuable information to the discussion. No one likes a Debbie Downer so avoid unconstructive criticism.
Industry discussion forums: Provide valuable information to the discussion. No one likes a Debbie Downer so avoid nonconstructive criticism.
Jpeg: Whether you’re using Facebook, your blog, Twitter, or Flickr to post your photos, they should be clear and crisp, appropriate, and of interest to your followers.
Knol: Chronicle morsels of interesting industry information on Google Knol. A Knol is “a unit of knowledge.” Knol online platform allows you to share your expertise and increase exposure.
Logo design: This is the physical image behind your company. Make sure it illustrates your brand image correctly.
Media outlets (both on- and offline): Bad PR can give you a bad reputation. Search through the web, or sign up for Google Alerts for your company and see what others are saying about it.
Networking events (both on- and offline): Listen to what everyone has to say. Don’t talk about yourself every moment. Learning about what others have to say is more important in building relationships than talking about yourself. And since the whole point of networking events is to build relationships, listening is key.
Online marketing campaigns: Everywhere you place your name both on- and offline, has a direct correlation to your company. Your message needs to reflect your brand image.
Physical appearance: Always look professional and well put-together. Even when you’re taking out your trash, you should look tidy—neighbors and people who drive or walk by could be potential customers or prospective business partners.
Q & A participation on LinkedIn: Q & A is one of LinkedIn’s greatest features. It allows you to ask questions to others in your industry and answer questions others have asked.
Reddit: This social bookmarking site allows people to rate blogs, links, and articles. Check Reddit frequently to see what others are saying.
Stumbleupon: Increase your friend base and add valuable information to the conversation. Bookmark other people’s articles and blogs—not just your own.
Teleseminars (thought I was going to say Twitter, didn’t you?): Interact with prospects, and share your expertise on teleseminars. They provide the perfect opportunity for positioning yourself as an expert. Just make sure you have a well-written and valuable script that projects an accurate brand message.
User-friendly website: When viewers can’t properly navigate through your website, they become frustrated and move on to a website that they can navigate through. Don’t lose customers to a difficult-to-use website.
Video content on YouTube: Your video should reinforce your brand, not hinder it. A poorly made video—whether it be bad quality, muffled sound, or flat-out pointless—reflects your brand image.
Website copy: Bad web copy not only impedes your ability to rank high in search engine results pages, but it also projects a bad image of your company. This is not what you want.
X stands for the unknown: You aren’t ever going to be able to know every last place your business message is present. Remember that online marketing is viral—it can be difficult to find all the thousands of connections between your website and others. This is where Google Alerts comes in handy. Signing up for Google Alerts for your company is an excellent way to track connections that fall through the cracks. It sends you updates on where your company name has been found across the Internet.
Yahoo! Bookmarking: People are bookmarking you, so watch what you say.
Z . . . I’ve got nothing. Any suggestions?