[ next generation branding ]

4 levels for branding

Get Your Brand Right

Your brand is built on four levels:

1. Strategy — Strategy is the vision, clearly stated, that explains how your firm will attract customers and talented employees. How are you different? What powerful need do you fill in the marketplace? Strategy provides answers. A good strategy makes everything else easier.

2. Messaging — The words you use when you write and talk about your firm and its services are critical to communicating your firm’s value. The ideas and tone they convey should come directly from the strategy. Your messaging must be easy to understand, relevant to your potential clients and believable.

3. Visual Identity — Your visual identity comprises all of the visual components of your brand, including color, shapes, images, typography, and layout. A brand’s visual tone and attitude should align with the strategy. The visual identity can create a strong emotional reaction. Potential clients will be attracted to your firm even if they can’t articulate why.

4. People — In a professional services firm, your people are your product. How they behave has a profound impact on your brand. Selecting the right people is an important first step, but the way they comport themselves and the decisions they make can make all the difference. A strong brand can help employees understand what is expected of them.

Four trends – The rise of content marketing

1. Buyers want relevant experience. Buyers want someone who has a track record — in their industry — of solving the exact problem they are facing. Not surprisingly, the specialist has the advantage.

2. Buyers are changing how they search for solutions. Yes, referrals still matter, but not just from friends and colleagues. Today, referrals also come from online resources such as social networks and online forums. In fact, buyers asking for traditional referrals have declined over the past few years. And then there’s search. Increasingly professional services are being found through Google and other search engines. Buyers also look for convergence. Are you referred by multiple sources in multiple channels?

3. Your website can make or break you. Almost all buyers rule out some firms because their websites are not compelling or lack clarity. Confuse them and you will lose them. Even worse, you will never know that it happened. Have you ever had someone say they made a referral, but the person they referred to your firm never contacted you? The answer may lie in your website.

4. Trust is being built differently. Getting to know people through professional associations or on the golf course can still work. But who has time? More and more, trust is being built by educating people and sharing expertise online. Here’s how it works: Your buyer has a need. They research solutions online, get educated a bit and contact the experts who were most authoritative and helpful.

This trend has fueled the rise of content marketing.

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