Launching a new business brings and onslaught of decisions. You’re focused on developing your product…
Everyone knows the obvious spots to find your company’s branding. Places like your website and business card. The sign on your storefront, the side of your truck, or on your staff t-shirts. But there are hidden branding elements that can have a major impact on how you’re perceived–or whether or not you’ll receive an inquiry in the first place.
At best, you might be wasting valuable space. At worst, you could be sending the wrong message about your company.
Here are six less conspicuous (but no less important) areas where the wrong decisions can drag your company down–and where solid branding choices can pack a powerful punch.
Your email address
Don’t let an unprofessional email address undermine the perception of your company. Whenever possible register your company’s domain name, even if you’re not planning on building a website just yet.
If you haven’t registered your domain, create an email address at one of the major email providers using yourcompanyname@gmail (or @mac, etc).
Stay away from frivolous email handles or those that share too much personal information. “TerrierLuvver84” doesn’t inspire much confidence in potential clients. (Unless you’re a successful terrier trainer, in which case, carry on.)
Also, feel free to get creative within the confines of professionalism in a way that’s appropriate for your industry. Rather than a standard “info@” email address, try alternatives like, “SayHi@”, “QuoteMe@”, TellMeMore@”, or “LetsConnect@”.
Your cell phone’s voicemail message
Your voicemail message could potentially be the first point of contact for a new client. Don’t waste this opportunity. A default outgoing voicemail message (“The person you are trying to reach is unavailable. Please leave your message…”) doesn’t exactly inspire trust or create a personal connection.
Make sure your outgoing message is clear, concise and calm. Don’t rush. State your company name clearly. Write down your outgoing message before pressing record, and don’t be afraid to re-record it a few times until it’s perfect.
Also, delete your old voice mail messages. It looks disorganized to have a full voicemail box that can’t accept any new messages. Plus, you risk losing valuable leads.
One final tip: don’t get too cutesy, even if you’re in a creative industry. Eliminate background music, fake “Hello?”s or other tricks that can confuse customers. Just be your awesome self.
Your email signature
An empty email signature is a true tragedy. Your email signature is a fantastic way to reach a captive audience with your company logo, tagline, contact information, sale or promotional offer. You can customize your signature in your computer or phone’s email app, directly from your server, or Hubspot has a great free email signature generator that works on both Mac and PC.
Remember, you don’t have to stick with the same signature forever. Change things up when you feel the urge.
The headshot you use for your marketing materials, website bio, LinkedIn profile picture or any other work-related profile says a lot about you. Your headshot doesn’t have to be professionally-taken but it does have to look professional.
No snapshots of you and your dog, on a hike, at the beach or with your family–unless it’s closely tied to the industry in which you work, like the charming profile staff pictures at this kids’ clothing company.
Your CV or company bio
Don’t limit your CV or bio on your company website to a list of accomplishments. Write to the style of your brand and the expectations and experience of the type of customers with whom you’d like to connect. Your bio is a chance to introduce yourself to potential customers and put a personal spin on your message. If you freak out about writing about yourself, don’t hesitate to hire a writer to draft a compelling, concise bio or rewrite your resume on your behalf.
Packaging doesn’t necessarily sabotage your branding, but for many, it’s a huge missed opportunity. Amazon is smart about their packaging. They print their iconic Amazon smile on the outside of shipping boxes and designed ad information to appear on their shipping tape.
You don’t have to invest in such a comprehensive packaging solution. Your business can use a signature envelope color, a sticker seal with your company tagline or custom-printed postage stamps featuring your company logo.
Shoring up all the elements of your brand creates an impression on your customers using details that might have otherwise gone completely unnoticed. It also sends the message that your company is on top of your image. If you’d like ideas about how to bring your brand into alignment, contact us and let’s discuss.