How do you elevate a brand to a professional level? Is it really worth the cost and hassle?
Yes! It is. Unprofessional brands cost companies the high-end clients that make bulk, profitable and long-term orders.
I know because I lived it! When you have a professional looking brand, it gives you an edge and allows you to…
Charge more for your product/service.
Attract more clients.
Attract higher-end clients.
When we tightened up our brand at Grow Disrupt and worked on elevating it, we tapped into all of those benefits and our revenue and efficiency began to rise. So I want to share with you five keys to determining whether or not your brand looks unprofessional and if it’s time to fix that!
1: A Powerpoint/Word Looking Logo
Logos are important!
So many small business logos look like they were created in Powerpoint or a Word Document. Which is fine for starting out! When Grow Disrupt started doing events, our logos were legitimately made in Powerpoint because it’s better to have it done and move on than to spend forever trying to make it perfect and never go anywhere with it. However…
Once you’ve got your business off the ground and are looking at leveling it up, it’s important to get a professional looking logo. No major company or client is going to trust their money to a small business whose logo represents low-budget activity and quality.
This doesn’t mean…
That you need a complicated logo. A great graphic designer can make a simple logo look extremely professional.
This does mean…
That you’ll probably need to invest in working with a professional graphic designer or design team to create something that fits your company and looks professional at the same time. The point here is to create a logo that says “We are professional and provide great quality service!”
2: Lack of Cohesive Vibe and Messaging in Marketing Assets
Marketing asset unity directly impacts people’s view of you.
Vibe is the feeling or emotion that people get when they see your marketing, and it is created through word choice and color scheme. Those two aspects of your marketing need to be congruent across all of your marketing: website, ads, social media, storefront, etc.
Without a cohesive vibe and message, clients get confused and struggle to feel like they are interacting with one company. It makes them less likely to trust you, because it tells them that the different parts of your company don’t necessarily work together as a cohesive whole. It gives the impression of an unprofessional company.
To fix this…
- Design and document your marketing message in advance.
- Review through all your marketing assets and make sure that the marketing message you want to send is the same all around.
- Make a choice about the way you want your company to speak. If you want your word choices to be fun, make it fun consistently. If you want to be smart-ass-y, own it and be that all over and everywhere.
- Make a choice about your color schemes. Do you want to display luxury or extravagance? Read up on what color schemes evoke that vibe in human beings.
Whatever choices you make, stick with them and put them into every bit of marketing that goes out. Don’t just say what your marketing message is, build it into every aspect of your company.
Congruity speaks volumes, and a lack of it makes your brand feel lackluster.
3: Poor Grammar/Sentence Construction
This aspect of your brand is not about the occasional typo that everyone has. (although there are some places where there is no room for typos, like your website)
Not a whole lot of people like grammar, but every native english speaker can tell when a sentence is grammatically incorrect. When marketing has repeated poor grammar, it says a company doesn’t know how to accomplish basic tasks like proofreading. Bad grammar quickly lowers the quality of a brand.
To fix this…
Review your content! Sit down and make sure that it not only has the correct vibe, but also good sentence composition. If you struggle with grammar, hire someone to check the grammar on your marketing content.
Poor grammar makes a brand feel cheap. Avoid bad grammar.
4: Non-Branded Graphics
I get emotional about this sometimes…
Because it is so easy to brand your graphic, and people steal unbranded graphics all the time! But branding is also about more than just putting your logo on a graphic. Branding a graphic means designing it around the brand colors and vibe, on top of including the brand logo. When an unbranded graphic is promoted, it creates incongruity in marketing assets.
To Fix This…
Start using your brand colors, vibe, and logo in all of your graphics. A tool that makes this step super easy is Canva.com. Even if you don’t have a background free picture of your logo, you can take it into Canva and with an upgrade you can automatically remove the background. It’s a great tool, and makes graphic design and branding super easy!
There are other tools you can use for this purpose. But whatever tool you use, brand your graphics!
5: Dated and Old
No one wants to look like, or work with, a thing of the past...
If your content is all tied to specific dates, it will get old quickly and you’ll have to replace it to prevent your brand and company from looking like it’s a thing of the past. When a company looks like it belongs in the stone age, (or even the 60s!) it makes customers less-likely to trust because it isn’t updated and looks neglected.
To Fix This…
There are two ways to fix this.
1: Write all your content in an evergreen style. Instead of saying 11 years ago, say “more than a decade.” Specific dates and statements like “at time of filming” create a disconnect between your brand and your customers. Don’t date things specifically, speak in general terms and create content that will work today and in ten years.
2: Go back through your published content on a regular basis and update information. If you’ve got articles that have specific dates listed in them but those dates are no longer relevant because the articles were published three years ago, remove the dates from those articles.
If you’re concerned that your brand isn’t up to snuff after reading this article…
Sit down and check all five of these keys against your brand. Fixing whatever issues you find might be a lot of work, but it is worth it!
Getting to the end of this article and finding yourself relieved that you’ve got a professional looking brand? Awesome! The next step to leveling up your business might just be the Disruptive Business Accelerator. Check it out here!
About the Author:
Stephanie Scheller is a TED speaker, a two-time best-selling author and the founder of Grow Disrupt: a San Antonio based company dedicated to disrupting the way the world does business through training. In just under a decade, Stephanie has been behind the scenes with nearly 2500 small businesses. She has worked in groups and one-on-one to create total business transformation & help business owners live the life they got into business to create!