Brand consistency is critical for every business, regardless of size, customer, or location.
The power and professionalism of your social media presence, website,
and design elements are essential in building a loyal customer base.
Proper branding can have a huge impact on your goals:
Companies with strong, consistent branding see a 23% increase in average revenue.1
Businesses with consistent branding are 3 to 4 times more likely to have strong brand visibility.2
64% of consumers purchase products after watching a branded social media video.3
But a missing piece of the puzzle, like a bad website, can work against you. For example:
38% of users will stop interacting with a website if the layout is unattractive.4
39% will ditch your website if images won’t load or a page
takes too long to load.5
Inconsistent branding also causes market confusion, making it difficult for customers
to differentiate your company from competitors.
However, brand consistency isn’t just important because of how it affects your bottom line.
At its core, branding is marketing. Though your branding strategy may not necessarily involve running an ad,
every blog post, every tweet, and every interaction serves as a form of marketing for your business.
to your customers that your brand is dependable. The more recognizable your brand is, the more trustworthy it
is. Every time you utilize the same branding elements, you’re delivering on your brand promise.
To put this in perspective, think of meeting a new person for the first time. You won’t instantly trust this person
because you don’t know much about them. But through repeated conversations, you gain understanding of their
personality, their knowledge, and their humor. The same goes for your brand and your target customer.
1 Inc, 2017, 2 Inc, 2017, 3 Forbes, 2018, 4 Forbes, 2018, 5 Forbes, 2018
CHOOSING YOUR BRANDING STYLE
To really communicate brand consistency, you must choose a branding style that
represents the essence of your company.
Branding in Web & Mobile Design
Ensure your chosen elements are prominently featured on your website. Your site is ground zero for purchases, and it’s the place your customers will visit to learn more about what you do or sell. These elements let them know they’ve arrived at the right place. Our Web & Mobile Design experts can help you effortlessly integrate your new designs.
Branding in Social Media Design
Use your branding elements
on all of your social media accounts, too. These elements let customers know that wherever they encounter you, they’re going to get the same quality content. Look to our Social Media Design Pros for some creative ways to build that consistency.
BRAND DESIGN TRENDS
In addition to establishing your branding basics , there are a few emerging trends to be mindful of:
Bold Color – Brand designs are taking a page from cartoon animation with bright, bold colors that are super saturated and grab attention wherever they’re seen.6
Motion Design – Animation is captivating on its own, but many brands are using it with purpose, either to reveal deeper meanings, entertain, or educate customers about products and services.7
Asymmetry – Misplaced letters and scrambled sentences force the viewer to stop and ponder what they’re reading. This is a powerful way to make a lasting impression.8
Gradients – They aren’t exactly new, but gradients are still eye-catching, and they’re making a big comeback this year.
6 Behance, 2019, 7 UX Planet, 2019, 8 Behance, 2019, 9 Behance, 2019
To recap, brand consistency is about creating design elements that showcase your brand’s values and personality, and those elements need to be used across your social media accounts and your website. This is one of the best ways to build trust with your customers and boost your market presence.
Business success in the digital age isn’t just about a great service or product
– it’s about engaging existing and potential customers in ways that inspire them, fit into their lifestyle, and capture their attention on the platforms they’re already using. To do this, you need to constantly refresh your content, advertise using short, engaging videos, and ensure your website and app have seamless UI and UX.
REFRESHING YOUR CONTENT
Modern customers have short attention spans and high expectations. They want to hear from you often, but they don’t want your content to take up too much time.
• To combat the demand, 55% of marketers say blog creation is their number one priority.10
• 55% of visitors spend 15 seconds or less reading blog content, so make sure every post is fresh, relevant, and scrollable.11
• Small businesses with active blogs see 126% more lead growth than competitors who don’t. 12
10 HubSpot 2018, 11 Buffer, 2016, 12 Impact, 2016
For maximum results, make sure to execute on the following tips with every piece of content you create:
Post at least once a week
To build a dedicated readership, you need to be consistent. For example, if you post every Tuesday, regular readers will know to come back each week for something fresh.
Keep it short
Concise posts are easier to consume and increase the odds that a reader will scroll to the bottom of the page.
Maintain the same tone and personality
When you hire content writers to create compelling content, be sure to show them your logo, design elements, and your brand’s content manifesto, if you have one. Give them a clear sense of your brand’s personality so they can create a voice that matches.
SEAMLESS UI AND UX
Content alone isn’t enough to seal the deal. Think of UI and UX as the icing on the cake. You’ve done the work to get customers to your website, either to learn more about you or make a purchase. Once they’ve arrived, their experience should be a breeze – easy navigation, intuitive functioning, and not a single issue from homepage to checkout.
Customers expect strong UI and UX:
• 95% of customers say a positive user experience is the most important part of visiting a company’s website.16
• Mobile users are 5 times more likely to abandon a task if a site isn’t optimized for mobile.17
The average user is accustomed to sites and apps that are simple. Though you want your brand’s design to stand out from your competitors, you’re still expected to heed a few rules:
Build your site and app experience around the purpose of your brand. If you want customers to buy a product, don’t load your homepage with articles. Put your products front and center so customers can shop easily.
Go for minimalism:
Don’t crowd the screen with useless features; give customers what they’re looking for.
Use navigation that
Place your menu in the top left corner of the screen and your shopping cart in the right corner. This is where customers expect to find these items.
Implement site updates as needed to keep everything running smoothly.
16 Go Media, 2018, 17 Impact,2017
VIDEO, CONTENT, AND UX/UI TRENDS
There are some powerful and creative ways to build on your content basics.
Accelerated video ads:
Create videos that can work across multiple platforms. Research shows that overall video impressions are stronger when you run video ads on YouTube and Instagram simultaneously.18
Combine your content and short videos into one effective marketing tool – a vlog. This is a great way to offer customers a peek behind the scenes and learn about your company in less formal ways.19
While you want to use your content to promote a product or teach your readers something new, you can also use your posts to dive deeper into your brand essence. Drive home the story of what your brand stands for.20
UI isn’t just about what the customer sees. With the rise of smart speakers and digital assistants, voice UI can put you ahead of the pack.21
Depth and dimension in flat design:
While it’s true that UX is about helping customers find what they need easily, depth and dimension can wow and entertain them while they look around.22
To be successful this year, you need to stay relevant. And there are no better ways to do that than with a constant stream of content, short video ads, and purposeful, well- designed UX and UI.
18 Chief Marketer, 2019, 19 Entrepreneur, 2018 20 Social Media Today, 2018, 21 UX Planet, 2018, 22 UX Planet, 2018
REACH MORE CUSTOMERS
To sustain your progress and continue growing your business, you need to expand your reach. There are several ways to advertise your business, but the following three are the most effective in the digital age: social media marketing; search engine marketing (SEM); and search engine optimization (SEO).
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Social media remains one of the most dynamic and cost-effective ways to reach your target customer.
• Social media platforms are an essential part of your customers’ lives: 1.37 billion people actively use Facebook every day. 51% of Instagram users access the app daily, and 35% use it multiple times in a given day.23
• Social media drives traffic – Pinterest drives 25% of all retail website referral traffic.24
• 30% of consumers will only buy from a brand if it has a social media presence.25
Social media marketing is no longer an option for small businesses – it’s mandatory. The number of users on each platform and the amount of time they spend there, offers unprecedented access to your customer base.
23 WordStream, 2017, 24 Meltwater, 2016, 25 Blue Corona, 2017
Through this method, you can accurately target your audience. Platforms like Facebook employ state-of-the-art analytical tools (i.e. Facebook Pixel) to help you see who’s visiting your site and who’s interacting with your posts. You can use this data to refine your audience and ensure your ads end up in the right feeds.
Additionally, you can build trust by solving customer service issues directly and in a personalized manner. And, you can engage with your audience consistently, keeping your brand top of mind and ensuring your company stays relevant.
Executing great social media marketing requires a few things:
Use a content calendar:
Plan your posts ahead of time to ensure you never scramble for content and to carefully curate content that’s relevant to your customers and fits your brand vision.
SEM involves buying ads on search engines to increase your company’s visibility for specific keywords and phrases, and it should be part of every business’ marketing plan.
• There are 3.5 billion Google searches daily.26
• 75% of consumers who find useful, local information online are more likely to visit a business in-person.27
• Businesses earn $2 of revenue for every $1 spent on SEM.28
• And if you’re concerned that SEM isn’t relevant to the average user, fear not: 60% of Google users can’t tell they’re looking at a paid ad.29
SEM helps you work smarter, not harder. Instead of chasing after customers, you’re gaining access to what they’re looking for, and you’re ensuring you’re in the right place. You can target a wide audience, tailor your ads to specific search terms and keywords (instead of vague demographic criteria), and you can even make your ads appear in searches for your competitors.
With SEM, you ensure your content gets seen. You put your business on the first page of search results, right at the top.
26 Smart Insights, 2018, 27 SearchSouth, 2018, 28 SearchSouth, 2018, 29 SearchSouth, 2018
Creating a great SEM strategy requires you to be strategic:
Choose the right keywords:
These keywords should be relevant to your business, localized when possible, and in line with popular searches. Also be sure to use words that drive high commercial intent (i.e. buy, discount, deal, etc.).
Compare different landing pages to see which option has a higher conversion.
Track your results:
Measure your click-through rates and your ad spend, and tweak your strategy. You never want to bid high only to receive weak traffic.
Search Engine Optimization is just as important as SEM, however there’s a big difference between the two. With SEO, you use a series of strategies and best practices to increase your online visibility instead of buying ads.
• 93% of all online experiences start with a search engine.30
• Local searches lead 50% of mobile users to visit within 1 day.31
• 50% of customers are more likely to click your links if your brand appears multiple times in search engine results.32
Optimized SEO content shows near the top of a user’s organic search results when a user searches for keywords that are relevant to that particular post. SEM will always show at the top of the page as well, but
it’s displayed as paid advertising. Thus, SEO provides two major benefits. First, your content will
rank high in search results without paying for traffic. And second, some users consider SEO content more trustworthy because it’s pure content and not advertising.
However, to ensure your SEO content shows up on the first page of results, you need an abundance of expertly- crafted, keyword-specific content. And this content should be driven by what matters most to your audience.
A keyword-loaded piece won’t achieve the desired result if it isn’t relevant.
Strong search rankings help your business stand out in searches that could return millions of results. Great SEO also connects you with your target audience. For example, if someone is searching for “business coaching”, and you rank in the top 5 results for business coaching, you’re likely to get site visits and generate leads.
You can even employ SEO strategies without a website. By just having a Google Business Profile, you can still work your way into search results. And, SEO can be used on any searchable platform, not just Google.
30 SEO Tribunal, 2018, 31 HubSpot, 2018, 32 Blue Corona, 2018
For best results:
1. Make sure your content is unique and relevant.
2. Use a compelling meta description (the summary that shows beneath your article headline in search results) that entices the reader to click on your post.
3. Optimize your website’s images and videos for mobile: Of the approximately 100 billion Google searches conducted every month, more than half of those happen on a mobile device.33 So, it’s important that your mobile experience is flawless. Images or videos that are too large to view can result in a poor experience, which drives users back to Google to look for other results.
4. Prioritize your mobile site’s page loading speed: A delay of just a few seconds can lead to a poor user experience, and it can adversely affect your search rankings. You can boost this speed by limiting the amount of content on each page and using smaller images.
5. Work with professionals: These SEO strategies must be employed correctly. If you overuse any part of your plan (i.e. repeating a keyword too many times), it can adversely affect your Google ranking.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING, SEM, AND SEO TRENDS
It’s important to master the best practices mentioned above, but each of these three categories is changing rapidly:
Nano-influencers are social media users who have a small but engaged audience, typically hovering around 1,000 followers. Because they’re followed by friends, family, and peers that they have a personal connection to, their recommendations come across as more genuine. Partnerships with nano- influencers often involve free product in lieu of a fee. Assembling a team of nano-influencers could be a great way to expand your reach while minimizing your spend.34
Think bigger than Google:
There’s no question – Google is the most popular search engine on the web. But you should also make sure your business can be found on YouTube, SlideShare, the App Store, Amazon, and a slew of other searchable sites.35
Focus on E-A-T:
Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness should be your business’ priorities. Avoid clickbait headlines and focus on showing customers why you’re the expert.36
A combined marketing strategy that includes social media ads, SEM, and SEO is bound to help you hit your targets.
34 New York Times, 2018, 35 Smart Insights, 2018, 36 Search Engine Journal, 2018