I am sure that if you’re here reading this blog it’s because you are trying to grow your agency and you heard that social media was a thing you should do. Well, let me tell you- this guy Chris Paradiso can teach you how to do it. The first thing he’ll tell you is that social media is about branding.
At this point in your career you should know that branding your company is important. What you might not know is 1. What that really means. 2. How to do it. 3. Where to begin.
Let’s tackle the first issue of what branding really is because there is some inherent confusion about it. We need to separate the brand from the ‘ing’ to do that.
Brand= the promise you’ve made to your customers.
Branding= consistently reinforcing that message in EVERYTHING your company produces that reach clients & or potential clients.
Let’s stop here. When I say EVERYTHING I mean ABSOLUTELY everything… please refer to this handy list of branded things:
- Social media
- Linked In
- Google +
- Emails (more than just the signature)
- Landing Pages
- Thank You Cards
- PowerPoint Slides
- Landing Pages
- Trade Show Booths
- T Shirts
- Vehicle Wraps
- Wall Decals
- Business Cards
- Sales Sheets
- Bumper Stickers
- Holiday Cards
- Pocket Folders
- PostersPost-it® Notes
- Rack Cards
- Response Cards
I think you get my point… it’s A LOT of things.
I am sure you are dizzy thinking about having to brand all of those items. Let me make it worse before making it better. Multiply that list by two. There are two ways that you have to reinforce your brand across all of those different items:
- The way they look (Hey that’s me)
- The way they sound. (Hey that’s the guy in the slick suit aka. Chris)
Not only do you need to make sure ALL of those items are branded. They also need to BE CONSISTENT. Folks, this is the main reason you need a designer.
Now you may argue, “but Jenny in the office can make most of those things.”
Sure Jenny in the office can make a holiday card on Microsoft Word, and she also knows how to make PowerPoint slides look different, and there’s a template for business cards built into Word. But what Jenny can’t do, she can’t make the look & feel the same across the full suite of branded items.
Cue trumpets because that’s where I come in. The good news is I can do all of those things for you, and so can most designers…. For a price.
The problem buying design for branded collateral is that for most small businesses it’s unrealistic to pay someone to brand all of those items at once, and it takes a significant amount of time to create all of those things. Which is all well and good… but there’s brand sabotage built into that method.
Lets use working with me as an example:
You choose me to design you a full suite of branded items. I say GREAT! LET’S DO IT! AWESOME! A couple of months go by and you now have a sweet logo, website, business card, PowerPoint slide….. Everything is going great, we’re working on a brochure…and then Agenthrive, the startup I’ve been working on suddenly TAKES OFF and now I don’t have time to design any more.
What are you going to do? You now have to go out and hire someone else to finish what I started. Let me tell you a secret… when you hire the next person, they are going to want to reshape the look and feel of your branding to fit their creative style and desires. However, this is terrible for your brand.
This scenario happens all the time. (Not the designer you chose ends up having has wildly successful start-up part) but, maybe they got a job at Google, or you don’t like the way they answer phone calls while chewing so you fire them.
So how do you handle this situation?? Rather than hiring a designer to brand those items specifically, hire a designer to create a Branding Guide and then treat it like a bible.
A branding guide will outline for everyone exactly how to ensure consistency in look and feel. A really good branding guide will also outline how to ensure consistency in voice and tone.
Though branding guides like that are hard to come by unless you’re working with a group of talented professionals trained in your industry with skills in sales training, marketing, creative writing, and design….like the folks at Agenthrive… cough cough.
Phew… sorry about that I think I might be coming down with a case of selfpromotionitis.
Anyway the fact of the matter is you need a designer because there is a lot of moving parts to branding, and your brand needs to be consistent because your customers deserve the best.
By Guest Author, Emily Brochu