“Don’t judge a book by its cover!” they say.

Well, I’ve got a reality pill for you. Books with ill thought through covers don’t sell nearly as many as those that have got a great design on their sleeve.

And that’s because we do make judgements. Like it or not, life is fast paced – and don’t think for a second that there are many people with time to waste digging deep into your marketing material or web page trying to figure out if you can provide what they want.

They won’t, they’ll be clicking ‘back’ and finding a company with a well thought through message.

If you want to make sure you don’t lose a single customer – follow these tips to make sure your brand speaks volumes about what you do.

1. Who are you looking to appeal to?

Your business has a target audience.

Maybe you know which locations or demographics make up that audience – maybe you don’t. But no matter how broad an appeal you think you’ve got, there’s no one-size that will fit all people.

If you’ve got an audience nailed down – your next job is working out what appeals to that group of people. This is where researching the buying or browsing habits of a specific demographic is important.

If you think your product has a wide-ranging appeal – your work load has just quadrupled, because the piece of marketing that hooks a 40-year-old man isn’t likely to appeal as much to an 18-year-old woman.

Understand who’ll use your service and what will win their business.

2. Consistency

Sometimes, creating your brand needs to come before anyone with any design skill has even opened Photoshop.

That’s because the best branding applies over every platform and every medium.

Take a look at the bank you use:

Every single interaction or piece of communication you get from them carries their design and company feel. You’ll get the same layouts, types of picture, tone of writing – and if you don’t – it’s because they’re working on a quirky marketing campaign that probably isn’t going to be as successful as they hoped.

Therefore, building your marketing material, website, uniforms and offices is going to need a script to work from.

Most people start this by understanding what it is you’re trying to provide. You might be glib and say, “Well it’s this product” –  which is fine if you’re bringing something unique to market – but If you’re not, you’re going to need to think about the message behind what you’re doing.

For example:

  • Does your app boost productivity?
  • Does your driving school cater for older learners as well as young?
  • Does your coffee shop have booths for people who want to work in private?

These are just some off-the-cuff examples – but understanding what makes you unique and how that delivers value to your customer is the key to finding a great message – than applying it in your content, copy and design.

3. Awesome content

By now, you’ve established that your ‘brand’ is far more than just your logo and web design. It’s the message you’re putting out about what your company brings to the world. That’s why we would always recommend you work with someone that can support you in the execution of your digital strategy.

So, to do this, you’re going to need some red-hot content.

It’s vitally important that you do two things here.

The first is establishing your ‘voice’ – it’s not good enough to hope that people extract the info they need from the words, videos or images you’re putting out – you need to be certain that you’re delivering your info in a way that appeals to your specific audience(s).

The second is providing real value. People have a strong nose for what’s legitimately unique and valuable content. Gone are the days of rehashing someone else’s hard work and passing it off as your own – Google’s algorithms saw off the plagiarists a long time ago.

Hopefully you’re building your business and brand around something you’re passionate about – if this is the case, let your passion shine through and put your ideas into the branding. Content truly communicates what your business is all about – even if someone else is helping you put it together, it should have your drive and energy at its heart.

4. Build some hype

We’ve just talked about the passion you’ve got for your product – but sharing that passion doesn’t have to end there. If you’re excited about your brand launch let the world know!

And if you’re tired after all the hard work you’ve been putting in to get the company off the floor – knock back a double espresso, take a deep breath and let the world know!

Think about the next big Marvel film that’s coming out. It might not be for another 18 months – but they let the world know about it two years before because they want people talking, checking it out online, speculating.

You want this too – and the good news is, you’re not going to have to put videos of you fighting in Lyrca on YouTube to let the world know.

Instead, let people have an insight into your product. Let people know why you’re going to be different. Put together an email campaign that draws the interest out of your audience. Offer people incentives to sign-up for sneak peeks.

This is where social media becomes your friend. If you’ve done Tip 1 properly, you know which platforms your customers will be likely to use. If not, go back and read Tip 1 – and focus on the universally used Twitter and Facebook in the meantime…

5. Create a strategy

Creating a brand is a lot of work.

You might think that it’s a case of deciding on your message then getting it out there – but what is that message? What does ‘getting it out there’ look like on a daily basis?

If you’re going to do a good job of taking you, your company and your product or service to market then you’re going to need more than a rough end goal and luck on your side.

A lot of people use timelines and Gantt charts to do this. Sure, there are going to be some tasks that are never ending – but making sure you get to your brand launch date with everything on time isn’t a single task – it’s co-ordinating about 50 different tasks.

It’s only if you can bring all these things together that you’re going to reach that end goal with the success you deserve.