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Secrets to Creating a Visual Brand Identity That Sets You Apart

Secrets to Creating a Visual Brand Identity That Sets You Apart

8 Key Areas You Want to Keep Your Visual Brand Consistent

Have you ever wondered what your social media followers think about you?

Is it possible you are sending mixed messages to your prospects?

This month we’re talking about the importance of personal branding and how it helps your business. This article ties closely in with that regarding your visual brand – essentially how you come across to others.

Over the years I have seen a lot of business owners who haven’t taken time to define their brand. They don’t understand when businesses stray from their brand, it dilutes their brand power and impact. Or worse, they have nothing about them that sets them apart.

As a result, they complain they are attracting the wrong customers or hardly getting any leads at all…

This “me too” method of marketing that mimics what competitors are doing isn’t effective. 

The 'me too' method of marketing that mimics competitors is not effective.Click To Tweet

That’s why I feel compelled to share more what a visual brand is and how to build a strong one online.

Whether you’re creating a new brand or updating your existing one, your brand’s visual identity is the most important factor in your marketing.

Your brand is so much more than a website and a logo.  It’s a user’s total experience and perception of you.

So every touchpoint a prospect has with you should have one consistent look and theme.  This includes your logo, website, stationery, social media, videos, brochures, business cards, and of course your personal brand in how you dress and present yourself to the world.

Watch: Here’s how Dana J. Smithers integrates her personal branding with her business brand.

A solid visual brand:

  • Helps people know what to expect from you.
  • Promotes professionalism and purpose.
  • Draws prospects who align with your ideas, attitudes and values.
  • Enhances confidence, trust and rapport with your followers.
  • Builds upon the existing brand experience they have with you in a positive (or a negative) way.

Visual branding adds real power to your marketing.  It increases engagement and understanding.

Visual branding adds real power to your marketing.Click To Tweet

With all these benefits to personal and professional branding, it’s more important than ever to brand your visual content and images so you stand out from competitors.

How Can You Keep Your Brand Consistent?

You write blog articles and posts every day.  You are working back and forth on projects.  How can you be certain that all the marketing you do resonates with your core brand?

Creating a style guide makes it easier to keep your marketing pieces consistent.

Firstly, ensure your brand is consistent in the following areas:

  • Headshot – Having a professional headshot goes a long way in developing brand trust.
  • Logo– your logo is the nucleus of your brand, everything else stems from that. Ensure it’s designed properly that includes the psychology of what it represents.
  • Colour Palette – Colours that will resonate with your target market and be meaningful to your brand.
  • Brand Message – This is the essence of your business that includes your slogan or tagline of who you are, what you do, and how you deliver value.
  • Fonts – Being consistent with the same one or two typefaces throughout all written materials as well as graphics
  • Design Elements – The use of borders, lines, shadows and filters should all become familiar to being associated with your visual brand.
  • Tone – Set the tone of your business presence and stick to it – whether serious, high-tech, sarcastic or soulful, this is a big part of building a solid brand presence.

For example: our eVision Media colours are purple and green.  Our typeface is: Asap.  Our logo is: a mother Emperor Penguin and her baby chick. Our slogan is “creating your brand, showcasing your business, nurturing your dream to reality” as seen here in our website header:

creating your brand, showcasing your business, nurturing your dream to reality

We have also created a template that we use for our marketing eTips and inspirational messages, so people instantly recognize them:

Visual Branding of eVision Media Social Media posts

 Create a Style Guide as Your Road Map

A style guide acts like a map that helps your team to stay on track. Sharing your style guide with key members of your team can ensure everyone knows the style guidelines and can follow them.

This is especially important for companies with virtual employees spanning in multiple geographic regions. Make it easy for your team to access your logo, fonts and templates. Always protect your brand. Double check when new marketing pieces come in that they conform to brand guidelines.

Here is a snapshot of our current style guide:

Visual Brand style guide for eVision Media

With this style guide in mind, here’s 8 areas you will want to keep your brand consistent in everything you do in your business marketing and social media efforts:

  1. Website

    Your website is the biggest brand statement your business has.  It serves as a reference to make sure all other brand elements are in alignment.

    That’s why I am so against people who use cookie-cutter template sites.  They may look polished, but they lack the warmth, connection and personality of a branded website (not to mention how badly they are built.)

    Make sure the images you use are reflective of your ideal client.  Use language that resonates with your target audience.  Create an about page that helps your visitors understand your backstory and why you are passionate and good at what you do.

    The more your website looks and feels like you, the stronger attraction tool it will be for potential clients.

  2. Professional Headshot

    Professional headshot before and after of Susan Friesen

    I was very camera shy when I first started my business.  So when it came time to get some updated headshots, I dreaded it.  But I found that going through the process brought me confidence.

    My new headshots are used as a personal and business branding tool that help me to be more recognized online.  They are on all my social media profiles and on our website.  As a result, people recognize me when I attend local networking events.

    Investing in new headshots can truly jump start your brand and success.

  3. Sharing Photos

    visual branding with Dana Smithers, Julie Salisbury and Susan FriesenSharing photos makes your marketing more personable and showcases your personal brand.  Consumers love seeing the real person behind the business.

    So be mindful of when you are working or in group situations and see how you can snap pictures to show followers what you are up to.

    Take a picture holding your new book.  Grab a shot with a new friend you met while networking.  Show the resort you are staying at for your business mastermind.

    Here’s Dana Smithers, Julie Salisbury and myself while at a recent WOW (Woman of Worth) event in Harrison Hot Springs.

  4. Video

    Creating videos helps build a strong following online.  It’s important to have your videos match your brand too.  Dress in a manner that is consistent with your brand.

    You could also shoot it in similar places or locations.  Whether that’s sitting at your desk, cooking in the kitchen, or standing in front of a green screen with a projected background, that consistent setting helps build familiarity.

    Be warm, friendly and connective.  If you promise to offer weekly video tips, then get them out on the same day each week so viewers can anticipate them. Create a custom hashtag for your video tips too – we created our eVision video eTips with the hashtag #eTip for consistency.

  5. Branded Images

    Kick up the interest of your blog articles and social media with images.  There are loads of free tools to help you make graphic quotes, infographics, and other visuals to add impact.

    Make sure all your graphic images are consistent with your brand.  Adding your logo makes it easy for people to instantly recognize the content is from you.

    For instance, the other day we re-posted an older article about “6 Steps to Nurturing A Profitable Business“.  We featured an image of an Emperor Penguin family.  It suggested the idea of nurturing but also tied into our brand with the Penguin theme.

  6. Social Media

    Social media provides so many opportunities for visual branding.  From Facebook cover images to profile pics, to graphics, there are endless opportunities for people to learn more about what you do.

    The images you use can evoke the feelings and emotions you want your brand to convey.  The goal is for someone to look at your social media account and get an impression that helps them understand your unique vibe.

  7. Free Giveaways

    When you are offering free reports, tools, and other goodies to visitors, make sure they have the same colours, logos, and visual feel as your other materials.

    eVision Ultimate Guide Report CoverWhen it looks professional and makes a great impression, it builds credibility.  Plus, it’s just one more piece of the brand puzzle that helps them understand what you do.

    For example, our free giveaway is “The Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website’s Profitability“. 

    The cover features a headshot of me for familiarity, (mind you, this is an old photo so fixing up this free report is a priority of mine.) It has our brand colour of purple and includes our logo. 

    So it looks and feels like eVision Media. If someone forwarded a copy of this to a friend, they would get an accurate sense of our brand.

  8. Email Signature

    Susan Friesen eSignatureA graphic email signature can add visual impact to every message you send.  Services like Wisestamp make it easy to add your logo, picture, and social media links to your email signature.

    We have designed many eSignatures for clients that exactly match their brand and it’s an effective way to enhance their brand with every email they send out.

    Have your virtual team members set up a signature too so you come across as a professional team to your customers.

Are You a Wanna Be or a Real Brand?

It’s really important to take a look at your brand as a whole to make sure everything is in alignment.

Is your visual brand:

  • Clear,
  • consistent,
  • authentic,
  • memorable, and
  • in alignment with changes in the marketplace, your offerings, or your success

Even if your brand was on target 3 years ago, the nature of your business may have changed where your brand no longer accurately reflects what you do or who you serve.

You have become more specialized.  You may have new product offerings.  Maybe you are now the host of a new podcast.

Take a look at your brand with the eyes of an outsider and ask yourself if what you see truly reflect who you are now as a company.

How Does Your Business Score from a Visual Branding Perspective?

At eVision Media, we are experts at building, managing and marketing Brands online. If you need help developing your visual brand or just need some direction, contact us today. Our team of creative marketing professionals can help keep your brand on the path to success.

To your ongoing success,
Susan Friesen

P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

Secrets to Creating a Visual Brand Identity That Sets You ApartClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

6 Highly Effective Ways to Position Your Business Brand Like a Super Hero

6 Highly Effective Ways to Position Your Business Brand Like a Super Hero

How Christine Awram Successfully Created a Powerful Brand for Women

I recently attended The Tammy Moyer Woman of Worth Awards Gala event created by the Woman of Worth founder, Christine Awram.

I was honoured to have been nominated in the Business & Prosperity category by Dana Smithers of Empowered Women in Business. In addition, I was doubly honoured to find out I was one of the 5 finalists in that category!

Woman of Worth award finalists 2017

Even though my name wasn’t called as the winner, I still felt and feel like a winner.

And the reason for that?

The entire experience Christine creates during and in between events such as this.

Her mantra is “all women are leaders and every woman is a Woman of Worth [WOW]” andit’s the platform on which she’s built a very successful brand.

To quote Christine:

Christine Awram WOW awards 2017“Twelve years ago it was just an idea, and now we’re impacting the global empowerment of women. WOW takes us a step closer to a world where ALL women collaborate and are powerful, prosperous, peaceful and on purpose. I began this adventure with a burning desire to make a difference.

There were many times I wavered and despaired, and if there was a mistake to be made I made it, but I kept the vision and kept moving forward. I’m humbled by what we’ve created together as a community. WOW is incredible.

My invitation to every woman: Celebrate your magnificence, turn up the volume, step up your leadership game, and GET WOWED.”

Over the years, Christine has created several one-day events and workshops specifically for women, and WOW, these events are incredibly empowering! (Pun intended.)

How does she do it?

It’s all in how she has positioned her business brand.

Business brand positioning is how a business owner comes across to others and are perceived by their target market.  Christine has found the perfect brand formula that has positioned herself as a champion for women.

Brand positioning is how you come across to others & are perceived by your target marketClick To Tweet

Wonder how she did it? Here are six tips to replicate her crazy success:

  1. Be clear on who you are and what you’re about

    When it comes to building a strong business brand, it’s imperative you understand how your personality makes up that brand.

    Be clear on how you want to be positioned in front of your ideal target market. Then be consistent on how you come across to others in everything you do.

    Christine does this beautifully with every encounter someone has with her. Whether it’s a social media post or approaching her in the foyer at an event, she’s consistently clear with her branding message, even when she is sick with pneumonia as was the case this weekend!

  2. Be clear on who makes up your ideal target market

    Before you can build a successful business brand, you need to be crystal clear on who you want to serve.

    Without this insight, you are throwing spaghetti at a wall hoping something sticks enough to get a sale. Understanding what their needs and challenges are and how you can best serve them is fundamental in building a business brand.

    Christine is well aware her target market is dynamic women who wish to be a part of a community for personal and professional growth. She provides and facilitates opportunities for collaborating, showcasing, networking, building community and having fun, all of which her target audience is looking for.

  3. Be passionate about your business

    Have you ever attended a trade show where the person in his or her booth is just sitting behind a table, looking at their phone, completely disengaged from the passers-by?

    When someone is not passionate about what they’re doing, they really shouldn’t be doing it. If you are feeling lackluster in your business, either find ways to get your joy back or see if perhaps there’s something else that will help you feel more on purpose.

    Christine is extremely passionate about empowering women. Everything she does is with the intention of supporting women to help them achieve their goals and aspirations..

  4. Use social media to build a community

    Social media is a powerful way to build a community full of raving fans. This is one area that Christine has mastered. No matter how busy she is, she will take the time to respond to every single comment and post that she’s been tagged in.

    Every. Single. Time.

    THIS is the way to build a strong community on social media. Make people feel special with positive reinforcement, recognition, and support… your brand will reap the many rewards as a result.

  5. Get help

    It’s nearly impossible to create a successful business brand by yourself. It really does take a village! Much as I have a team of skilled people on my team who are experts in their own fields, Christine has also invited people into her circle.

    Sometimes getting help is not in the form of paying an employee; Christine invites volunteers to help her out in exchange for free admission to her events. She also incorporates sponsorship initiatives to offset costs. Plus her network of collaborators help her find excellent guest speakers she would otherwise never have known about.

  6. Have fun

    If you’re not having fun and enjoying yourself on a daily basis, then it’s time to re-evaluate what you’re doing.

    Christine infuses her deep love of wine and chocolate into all of her events and social media posts to showcase her fun-loving personality. Consequently, she’s building the brand perception that if you attend one of her events, you can be guaranteed there will be a lot of fun involved.

Everything you do as a business shapes your brand’s positioning. If you want to be branded a “thought-leader” in a specific area of expertise, use some of Christine’s successful tactics in your business marketing efforts.

Everything you do as a business shapes your brand's positioning.Click To Tweet

And if you need help with your brand positioning, that’s something we specialize in. Give us a call to see how we can better position your business brand for success.

To your success,

P.S. If you liked what you read here, you will want to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get notified every Tuesday of that day’s blog post. Click here to also receive our free website guide: www.UltimateWebsiteGuide.ca

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

6 Highly Effective Ways to Position Your Business Brand Like a Super HeroClick To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".

Why Your New Program Launch Could Fail (And How to Prevent it)

Why Your New Program Launch Could Fail (And How to Prevent it) The importance of Personal Branding for Entrepreneurs

The importance of Personal Branding for Entrepreneurs

Thinking about doing a product or program launch to get some fast sales? Read this first!

Over the years I’ve worked with many entrepreneurs who are excited about getting going in their business. They’ve listened to many webinars and courses promising them riches with their next program launch and want to dive in to make money fast.

They are even being told they don’t need a website; all they need is a landing page and auto-responder sequence and watch the money flow in!

If only.

The problem these “gurus” are not sharing during these hyped-up presentations is that just because it worked for them, doesn’t mean it will work for everyone.

Why?

One of the reasons is personal branding.

The lack of personal branding is a big reason why program launches fail for entrepreneursClick To Tweet

Those that have successful program launches have already established themselves in the marketplace and have built trust and credibility with their followers.

And this is all done through their prior efforts in personal branding. Brand new entrepreneurs haven’t had a chance to do that yet and this is where the disconnect lies.

A personal (or professional as the case may be) brand is very important for entrepreneurs to establish before diving into big-launch mode. This can be done in several ways but before I share that, here’s 6 reasons why developing a personal brand is so important:

  1. It establishes your identity in your industry. A brand will help you get noticed and remembered in a crowded space. In order for people to pay attention to what you have to say and purchase from you, you need to be considered established in your industry.
  2. It helps you stand out from the crowd. Through your personal branding efforts, your “Unique Selling Proposition” is showcased. By doing this, you are giving your ideal clients a reason to purchase from you as opposed to your competitor.
  3. It helps your business grow. Every time your brand is “presented” in front of your ideal target market, you become more and more memorable. People will start to think of you when they, or someone they know, are in need of your offerings.
  4. It builds your credibility. Whether factual or perceived, a personal brand will help establish your credibility as someone who knows what they’re talking about in your industry. When you get yourself in front of your ideal target market and showcase your knowledge, you will start to develop a “Know, Like and Trust” factor with that audience. People need to trust that you know your stuff in order to give you their money.
  5. It saves you time. When running a business, time is money. So by establishing a good brand presence from the start, you will shorten the amount of time needed to be profitable. It will lessen your credibility-building time – all without you having to explain what you do and how you do it to everyone you meet!
  6. It attracts your ideal clients. A good brand presence will eliminate you wading through all the people who are not your ideal client. An ideal client is someone who would be immediately attracted to you and your offerings because the branding has positioned you in a way that speaks to their needs and challenges and provides them with the confidence that you are the perfect solution they are seeking.

Let’s talk about your failed program launch

Why did you get so few people signing up for your program or purchase your product? Because you hadn’t established enough credibility yet with your followers.

Establishing brand credibility with your prospects is paramount to a program launch successClick To Tweet

You might be an incredible expert in your field, but if you didn’t do the preliminary personal branding steps required first to establish yourself as an expert in their minds, then it’s very hard to convince people you are worth investing in.

For brand new entrepreneurs, this is a challenge. It’s often the chicken and egg conundrum. In order to create a brand, they need money. In order to make money, they need to launch their product, program or services. In order to launch those offerings, they need to establish a brand.

I get it.

And my advice is: before you do your next program launch, be prepared to invest in your business and personal branding first in order to expect any kind of significant results.

Be prepared to invest in your business and personal brand before expecting significant resultsClick To Tweet

So before you go into launch mode after getting excited about hearing “how easy it is” to make money, here’s a checklist of what you need to have in place first to establish your brand positioning.  Here’s also some tips on what you can do to ensure a more successful program launch the next time:

  • Have a professionally designed logo

    A logo establishes the foundation of your overall brand. It’s what your target market will grow to recognize over time and will become the symbol of your business. One that they can trust.
     
    Ensure you establish brand continuity and consistency by using this logo in everything you do from your social media accounts to your business card and all your promotional materials in between.

  • Have a professionally designed and developed website

    If your website is amateurish looking and/or doesn’t convey the right message to the right people, then it is not ideally positioned for your target market. You want to draw in your potential customers, not turn them away thinking you’re not the best solution for them. Worse yet is not having a website at all.
     
    A website is a place for prospects to go and check you out before making a purchase decision. They need to determine your credibility, expertise and even your personality, especially if you provide a service. A landing page alone will have a hard time doing this.

  • Get active on social media by getting in front of your ideal target market

    Participate in discussions where you can provide something of value to help you get better positioned as an expert.
     
    Also use social media to build excitement about your upcoming launch. Build anticipation before providing any details on the program itself.

  • Establish a blog on your website

    A blog facilitates your opportunity to write articles that showcase your expertise. Article writing also helps with content marketing strategies that will expand your brand reach to those who would not know of you otherwise.

  • Make connections with industry leaders

    Industry leaders who share the same target market as you (who aren’t competitors) can be a valuable resource if they are willing to become a JV partner. If you’re fortunate enough to know of someone who can do you this favour, jump at it!
     
    By having others who have established brand credibility endorse you and your offering goes a long way in boosting your own credibility and authority in your industry.

  •  
    Remember there has to be something in it for them with this approach – either they get a commission off of any sales they bring or they have an opportunity for list building included in the campaign.

  • Get yourself booked for speaking engagements

    Go into your community and seek out opportunities for free talks in front of your target audience. Or find Podcast shows, webinars, and other interviews opportunities where you can share your message with your target audience.

  • Hold a free webinar or teleseminar

    Offering something for free before you start selling provides an opportunity to showcase your expertise. Consider it a “try before you buy” concept.
     
    If your webinar presentation is exciting and enticing enough, you could win over people to buy even if they didn’t know who you were previous.
     
    And if a webinar is too much, you could do a free video series or even create a powerful, value-driven free giveaway. By the way, all of these possibilities can also be a list-building tool long after your initial launch.

Of course, aside from lacking personal branding, there are multiple other reasons why a product or program launch can fail but I’ll save that for another article.

If you are one of those that has established your personal brand and are ready for to do a program launch but need help with strategy and implementation, let us know – we can certainly help in all areas needed.

To your success,

P.S. If you liked what you read here, you will want to sign up for my newsletter where you’ll get notified every Tuesday of that day’s blog post. Click here to also receive our free website guide: www.UltimateWebsiteGuide.ca

P.P.S. If you found this article helpful, please share it with your Twitter followers:

New entrepreneurs: Here’s why your new program launch could fail (and how to prevent it)Click To Tweet

About the Author, Susan Friesen

Susan Friesen offering 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum ResultsSusan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence.

As a result of working with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can focus on building their business with peace of mind at having a perfect support system in place to guide them every step of the way.

Visit www.ultimatewebsiteguide.ca and download your FREE "Ultimate Guide to Improving Your Website's Profitability - 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask to Get Maximum Results".