Is Inconsistency Killing Your Brand? Tips for Increasing Brand Awareness

If there is one marketing problem that plagues small businesses it’s developing brand awareness on a shoestring budget. The bigger your budget, the easier it is to create brand awareness in a short amount of time. Hitting the airwaves with TV and radio spots, saturating local media with print ads, and dominating the search engines with top-spot pay-per-click ads and web banner advertising can quickly get your brand in front of your target audience. But when trying to build your brand with a small business budget, and a ‘slow and steady wins the race’ approach, you’d better be sure of one thing – consistency.

The Problem

Small business owners trying to save money on marketing often piece out their marketing activities to multiple sources. Some trade out services with friends, or they rely on friends and family members to help out. All fine, if those resources are good at what they do, but all too often, these different activities done by different people result in brand inconsistency. Bob, who does the website, is doing it as a favor, so you kind of let him do what he wants, and you’re afraid to give him much direction – he is doing it for free, sooo… Then there’s the coupon mailer that you were convinced to do by that pesky sales person who offered to handle all of the artwork and creative for you at no charge. And finally there is your client who agreed to do your company brochure as a trade for services. As far as saving money on your stuff, you’re doing great. But here’s what can happen…

Without proper direction on messaging, proper logo usage, standard colors, standard fonts, and a guide to using URLs and phone numbers in your advertising, each of these nice people are likely create your materials in their style and their voice. And none of them will look or sound like the next.

From your customers’ and potential customers’ perspectives, you may actually end up looking like several different companies. And if that happens, you’re missing the boat 品牌策劃 on brand awareness altogether.

The Solution

Invest some time and a little money in having your brand sharply defined, and have a formal Marketing Style Guide created. Settle firmly on a logo and your colors. Your Marketing Style Guide will be the branding bible from which each of your vendors (friends, family members, or whoever is doing marketing for you) will live by. Consider it the roots of your brand from which each of your brand activities will grow! Your Style Guide should be available to your providers in a PDF format with links to art files whenever possible. If that is not feasible, create the PDF of the guide, and include it on a flash drive or CD that includes your approved art files.

Your Marketing Style Guide PDF and files/links should include:

Logo – include vector (EPS), and high-resolution JPEG (RGB) and tiff (CMYK) versions that can easily be used for signage, print, and the web. Include the proper PMS, CMYK and RGB colors in the art files so that when your logo is printed, the colors are the same everywhere. Don’t worry if you don’t understand these acronyms – your Marketing Style Guide creator will. (If not…find someone else to do your Marketing Style Guide!) Include color, black and white, and reversed versions of your logo also.

Tag Line – If your business uses a consistent tag line, be sure to include this in your Marketing Style Guide. This is generally used in conjunction with your logo, and should be used consistently. Limit yourself to just one tagline. Other messages about your brand or business can be used as Key Marketing Messages, which we will get to in a moment.

Approved Fonts – Outside of proper logo and color usage, one of the most important elements in making sure your marketing materials look similar is choosing one or two approved fonts that can be used for ad/website headlines, sub-headlines and body copy. These fonts should go well with your logo.

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