Welcome to the final instalment of our ‘Building a brand’ Matchbox series. If you’ve made it this far and followed this series we thank you!
If you haven’t caught up on parts one and two though, where have you been? Just kidding. Here’s the lowdown. Part one was all about the importance of defining your brand and what to consider to set yourself up for a bright future. Think purpose, vision, mission statement, values, personality. After establishing what you want your brand to say, part two focused on how you want your brand to look by building your brand identity. We looked at brand colours, logos, fonts and more and how these all fit together to form your brand guidelines.
If you’ve completed parts one and two, congratulations! You’ve got yourself a brand. Now comes the fun part: using it. Enter brand marketing. The glue that holds it all together.
Part three: pulling it all together with some epic brand marketing
The final stage of building your brand is presenting it. Brand marketing isn’t just about building your brand’s reputation. It’s about nurturing your relationship with your target audience, making sure that they know who you are and, most importantly, that they know what you stand for and like and trust who you are.
The work you’ve put into defining your brand and building its identity is the blueprint for your marketing success. By constantly referring to your brand strategy and brand guidelines, you can ensure that you remain consistent and build your brand from strength to strength. Think of these assets as a recipe to follow for all of your marketing activity, or a tick list that is always at the forefront of your mind.
Think of brands like McDonald’s. From those iconic ‘golden arches’ to the instantly-recognisable red and yellow, most people recognise their branding from a mile off. They know what they are getting (it's the same branding and product across every restaurant).
Look at this advert, for example. Through consistent branding, McDonald’s have built a brand so strong that they don’t even have to show their full logo for people to know that it’s their advert. You see elements. You know it. You trust who it is (even if you don't like the food or eat it).
You’re probably not looking to be the next McDonald’s (kudos to you if you are!), but small businesses can learn a lot from bigger brands about what to do and what not to do when it comes to brand marketing. No matter what your plan or objective is, the steps to building a successful brand apply to every business both big and small. And everything in between.
Across the team, we’ve launched a number of different brands and rebrands so we’d like to hope that we’re pretty clued up. As with parts one and two of this series though, there are countless different elements that you can consider when it comes to your brand marketing. These are the ones that are good starting points for every business, big or small:
Point of sale (POS) materials
Branded POS materials give you a physical branded presence and are perfect for places that see a high footfall of potential customers. We’re talking anything from shows, exhibitions and fayres to showrooms, offices and shops.
As soon as we mention branded POS materials, most businesses immediately think of pull-up banners. And if there’s one thing that Laura, our Project Director, hates the most in the marketing world, it’s pull-up banners. In fact, there’s rarely a week that goes by where she isn’t wrestling (both physically and metaphorically) with one.
So, to ensure you’re on Laura’s good side (and to stand out from all the other pull-up banner users), we’ve found some alternatives to consider:
Clothing and merchandise
This is another love-hate one here at IC.
With the right items and a great supplier, clothing and merchandise can be a fantastic addition to your branding arsenal. However, it can go wrong. Items can look one way in images and then arrive to be completely different in real life. Logos can be printed or embroidered incorrectly. Colours can turn out entirely unexpected.
To avoid disasters, we would always suggest asking for a branding mock-up as well as a physical sample from your supplier and making sure that you ask any questions that come to mind. Remember, no question is a silly question.
We celebrated our brand re-launch with some snazzy branded notebooks and water bottles. Check them out for yourselves:
This is one you can have some real fun with. There are so many different options when it comes to business cards, from different materials to different designs. This article is a great place to start for inspiration.
There are many places that you can go to for business cards. These are a couple to get you started:
There are also some more ‘modern’ solutions to traditional cards. The popularity of digital business cards is increasing, and it’s easy to see why. Compared to the traditional printed option, they’re more interactive, accessible, cost-effective, sustainable as well as having options to track engagement. Here are some options to explore:
Using a branded email signature instantly makes you look more professional, adding a hint of branding to every communication. Setting up your email signature can be fiddly, even for the most technically minded (just ask Mike, our Creative Developer, who had to get us all on a Teams call to update ours!).
Luckily, for those who don’t have a Mike, there are some online tools to help you out:
If you’re wondering what to include, think all the branding essentials. We’re talking logo (making sure it’s visible considering the size of your email signature), fonts and colours. You want to make sure that you’re including all the important information… name, job title, contact numbers, social media details. And top tip: link these. Make it as easy as possible for people to get in touch or check you out when they want to.
Successful branding starts from inside the company. Your employees are your biggest brand advocates and internal branding can create something that your employees are proud to be a part of.
Having recently gone through a re-brand ourselves, we’ve got some tried and tested ways to incorporate your branding internally.
You may be wondering why we’ve left websites until the end. No, it’s not because they’re not important (it would be slightly ironic for us to say that). Quite the opposite. Websites are an integral part of your branding and marketing activity and always should be, but they are their own entity. Websites deserve a blog post, or multiple, for themselves (and in time, they most certainly will - watch this space).
And with that, our ‘building a brand’ Matchbox series comes to an end. It’s been a journey (*wipes eyes*) and we hope the process helped you understand what it takes to build a brand.
These three blogs have been filled with useful templates, links, suppliers and tools. In fact, there are so many that you’d be forgiven for getting to this point and forgetting some. Wouldn’t it be helpful if they were all in one place for you to refer back to? We thought so. Here’s a one-pager with all our handy links for you to refer back to.
If you’ve used our blogs and resources to help you to build your brand, we’d love to see it! Make sure to share it with or tag us on social media. Or if you’re not quite ready for the big reveal or not quite sure you want to go it alone, get in touch for a free 30-minute branding consultation. A second opinion can be worth its weight in gold.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 01295 768122
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