Early on, Sarah was concerned about her branding and asked a graphic designer to produce a logo for her emails, website and stationery. He did a brilliant job for a few hundred pounds. But now Sarah’s business has moved on and she has a dilemma. She has a distinctive and attractice logo that has mislead several prospects. Even though it is lovely she fears it could damage her reputation.
Branding is about reputation. No amount of graphic brilliance improves your brand if your reputation is poor. So, let’s begin by considering what branding is and is not.
What is Branding?
Most of us don’t drive a horse and cart these days. Even so we see the impossibility of putting the cart before the horse and expecting the horse to push it along. Would you really spend a few hundred pounds on your logo before you launched your business? Really?
Your priority, during early business development, is to create a great product or service, to learn how to market it and sell it. No logo will help you. A logo is a distraction – putting the graphics cart before the marketing and sales horse.
It is possible a good logo makes your business recognisable and memorable. But, especially in the early days of your business, is it worth investing time and money in symbolism that might have limited application?
Quality of graphics does not make a good brand. When your positive reputation is associated with your branding graphics, they acquire value.
So, choose a business name. Choose a font. Put together a logo using your font and business name. You can do this in half an hour.
This way you:
- save time and money
- have a scalable logo. Text does not go fuzzy at the edges when you increase its size. (The same is true of icons and so use an icon if you wish.)
- can update it whenever you wish or inspiration hits.
Many successful businesses use text logos. Their logo evolves over time but remains essentially text. Take a look at the logos on these sites:
These successful businesses have simple logos. We admire them (if we do) because they are successful.
What is Reputation?
How do you build your business reputation? Reputation is positive when you get two things right.
First, show you deliver on your promises. If you promise a workshop on a particular day, show up and deliver that workshop. If you are a coach and promise to help your client develop a skill, they must develop that skill.
So far, so good. The key is accountability. For freelancers this can be difficult. In employment, you meet requirements set by your employer. As a freelance, you deliver to your own schedule. The temptation is not to make your objectives public. If you do, you have to meet them and you can turn that to your advantage.
Setting tasks publicly and meeting them demonstrates credibility. An email marketing strategy sets public commitments and automates them. You show you plan your work and have capacity to deliver on your promises.
The second thing you must get right is your teaching. The content you promise and produce through your emails, shows you understand and deliver on your subject area. That’s what I am doing as I write this blog post. People on my list receive notice of it, while those who access it through some other route sign up if they find the post helpful.
Credibility alone is not enough. Deliver worthwhile material – material your customers and followers value and this demonstrates professionalism.
Your Email Marketing Strategy
A sound email marketing strategy supports both professionalism and credibility. The next two posts take each in turn and shows how. Taken together professionalism and credibility enhance your reputation and add value to your brand.