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How to Build a Consistent Brand

How to Build a Consistent Brand
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You may have heard that branding is the key to long-term business success.[1] This is true; however, it is also extremely important that a brand is always consistent. Consistent branding generates trust and increases consumer loyalty. It also ensures that your brand and value propositions are always recognizable. Businesses are just like people, consistency creates confidence.

Since consistent branding is so important, companies should spend significant time planning and shaping their brand. Your brand is how you want people to see and perceive your company. Do you want them to think you are innovative, dynamic, solid, dependable, or classy? These are all qualities that you will try to consistently represent with your brand.

So how do you achieve this? These are the steps that should be taken to build a consistent brand.

Pinpoint Your Customers

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    The first step is to find out who you want to communicate to. For example, if your business is a weight loss pill for middle-aged women, you are not targeting male college students. This is important to know because the message that you will want to send to middle-aged women will be a lot different than the message you might want to send to college-aged men. So you must do some market research to identify who your demographic really is. It is extremely hard to operate a business that targets everyone.[2] When you know who you are talking to, you will be better positioned to create a consistent tone, message, look, and voice that appeals to your audience. When this is consistent, people will always know what to expect and you will be easily recognizable and highly memorable.

    Be Clear On The Mission Of Your Brand

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      After pinpointing your customers, you want to make sure that you are clear on the mission of your brand. This requires you to look inward at your organization and identify what it is that you really want to do. This will increase the appeal that you have with your potential customers. It will also shape how you want people to view your brand.

      What perception should people have of you based on your mission? For example, if your mission is to help middle-aged women lose weight, you don’t want to create a brand that makes people perceive you as uncaring. You want to create a brand that communicates your mission to the world. You might communicate that dealing with a changing body as you get older can be difficult, but your company is here to help. If you can consistently reinforce this message you will attract more customers and start to live the mission of your brand every day.

      Create Your Visuals

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        The way that your brand is presented to the world is extremely important. People connect to visuals faster than words. This means that no detail can be overlooked. People will associate these visuals with your brand and make determinations about what they think about your business before they even experience your products or services.

        There are a few things that you want to take into consideration including:

        • Your Logo: This seems easy, but can actually be extremely difficult. Once a logo is established, it is very difficult and unwise to change it. Due to this, you really need to get it right from the start. There are many approaches you can take, including abstract designs, words, shapes, graphics, and much more. Remember that your logo will represent your brand on all collateral that the public sees in a consistent manner. Make sure it is something that you are completely happy with.
        • Company Colors: The color of your company sends a powerful message to your customers. Every color communicates something different. So make sure that you are using the colors that send the message about what you want your brand to project. Then use these colors consistently on all of your materials, including advertisements, flyers, mail, stationary, and your website.
        • Links: In the age of the internet and social media, the links that you will be sharing with the world cannot be overlooked. Many companies use shortened links in order to more easily share links over multiple platforms. This is a good strategy, but it looks bad visually and not very good for branding. Fortunately, companies now have the ability to create their own branded links. These links provide a better visual and help to consistently brand your company even when you are just posting and sharing on social media. This infographic by Clkim tells more about why & how branded short links work.[3]

          Infographic Courtesy

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          Identify Your Tone

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            The tone of your brand is important. However, it must be specific and consistent. Do you want to be funny, ironic, conversational, polished, professional, casual, visionary, or cutting edge? There are an unlimited number of tones you can choose from but the most important things to consider are to make sure that your tone aligns with your audience and is consistent in all of your communications. Try to make your tone different, unique, and memorable. For example, many years ago there was an internet marketing expert known as the Rich Jerk. He sold internet marketing courses and he had a very specific tone, he was a jerk. He was always bragging about how rich he was and claiming that everyone else was probably too stupid or lazy to be as rich as he was. It was highly memorable and turned out to be a great tone for getting people to buy what he was selling. You might not want to go that far with your tone, but it is a great example of what is possible when you project a consistent voice through your writing and communication.

            Conclusion

            If you follow the steps outlined above, you will be well on your way to creating an appropriate, memorable, and consistent brand. The benefits of this can be astounding. Consistent branding is one of the main keys to a successful business, right behind having a quality and in demand product or service. Just remember, you do not need to recreate the wheel. Follow the steps in this article and start building the brand and reputation that your business deserves.

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            Featured photo credit: pressfoto via freepik.com

            Reference

            [1] http://www.inc.com/samuel-edwards/why-business-personalization-is-the-key-to-long-term-success.html
            [2] https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240163
            [3] http://blog.clkim.com/2016/12/next-evolution-shortened-links-branded-links/

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            Vikas Agrawal

            Vikas is the co-founder of Infobrandz, an Infographic design agency that offers creative visual content solutions to medium to large companies.

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            Published on July 27, 2021

            15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

            15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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            During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

            But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

            Put the Pro in Professional

            After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

            1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

            The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

            Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

            2. Dress the Part

            While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

            Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

            For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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            Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

            3. Stage Your Workspace

            Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

            Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

            4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

            Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

            Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

            Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

            Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

            5. Arrive on Time

            In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

            Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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            6. Turn on Your Video

            Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

            If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

            Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

            7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

            Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

            Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

            Attend to the Pesky Details

            8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

            With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

            Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

            9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

            Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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            Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

            10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

            As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

            Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

            Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

            Talking Has a Time and a Place

            11. Chat Appropriately

            Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

            At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

            12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

            The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

            Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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            13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

            In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

            Manage Yourself

            14. Minimize Distractions

            While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

            Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

            15. Save Snacking for Later

            Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

            However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

            Final Thoughts

            Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

            Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

            Reference

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