A picture is worth a thousand words.
Branding and marketing professionals understand the power of image. Think about the Apple logo, the Nike swoosh, and Starbuck’s emblem. These symbols are burned into our minds, and they immediately prompt brand recognition as well as the feelings and attitudes we hold individually or collectively toward the companies and products that they represent.
We’re used to seeing logos and image-based branding on business cards, television and print ads, and product packaging. However, there is no medium more powerful for propelling brand recognition than the internet.
In today’s technology-driven world, online marketing is the foremost method for promoting your company’s brand. Any small business can use the web to build brand familiarity by depicting a logo, maintaining a consistent image, and sharing a clear message across all online marketing channels.
The core component of your small business image is its logo. The first and most obvious placement for this image is on your website. What comes after that?
As you travel the information superhighway, there are countless opportunities for displaying your logo — that key symbol that identifies your brand. And the more you display that image, the more familiar and recognizable it will become to your associates, competitors, and customers.
Put it in your email signature, use it in all your social media profiles, upload it to your directory listings, and make sure it is prominently displayed in all your marketing and advertising collateral (online and off).
Social Media Outreach
Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube provide ample opportunities for logo display and other online marketing efforts. Some social media experts make a living using these platforms to promote businesses on the web.
Many small business owners and independent professionals sign up for social media networks but forget to brand them or keep them updated. Embed your brand into your custom Twitter header. Use your logo as the Facebook profile picture on your business page. Make sure you’ve included a link to your website on your LinkedIn profile.
As you engage with social media, always be conscious of how you’re representing your business brand in all of your communications. If you want your business’s tone to be upbeat and positive, refrain from complaining, ranting, or posting bad reviews. If you want to project a sophisticated, cutting-edge image, keep your focus on current trends and developing technologies.
Build Your Brand on Blogs
There are a few ways to build your brand on blogs. First, launch your own blog and incorporate your company image and tone in posts, images, footers, and email subscriptions. Next, use your image when you visit other blogs. You can do this easily by using Gravatar, which automatically inserts your image beside comments you leave on other blogs. Set your Gravatar image as your brand, and it will display next to your comment on most blogs. Finally, engage in guest posting on other blogs, making sure you include a link back to your website (or a key online marketing page that you want people to visit).
Complementary Traditional Marketing
Make sure your offline and online marketing efforts complement and reinforce each other. Many of the same rules apply across different mediums. An ad in a magazine or newspaper should include your logo. The attitude or voice of your radio and television commercials should convey the tone you want to establish. Whether you’re using billboards, fliers, signage, or postcards, all representations of your brand should be consistent.
Using Online Marketing for Brand Building
The key to building brand recognition through online marketing lies in identifying opportunities as they arise and then seizing them. Keep a copy of your logo handy and use it in situations where you are asked to upload and display images online. Always insert your company name, tagline (or slogan), and website address (URL) in signatures and profiles that you use around the internet.
Tip: Create a folder with all the information (don’t forget your elevator pitch and company bio) and store it on your desktop for easy access. Be prepared at all times, and keep copies in portable media (like a flash drive) or stored in your inbox, so you can access and use it anytime, from anywhere. That way, you’ll be able to propel your brand at a moment’s notice.
Start finding those opportunities now by looking for innovative places on the web where you can display your brand. Go through all your online profiles and cyber haunts, and make sure you’re promoting your business appropriately.
Melissa Donovan is a website consultant and copywriter. She is also the founder and editor of Writing Forward and the author of over seven books.