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Building Blocks for Your Brand

Consistency is key! The “Rule of Seven” states that an individual needs to see or hear something a total of seven times before it becomes memorable. Viewed items could include elements associated with a brand such as images, symbols, colors, text, and more. All elements that help your brand be recognizable. Think about it…if you saw a name or a design that was associated with one product or service, but that name was spelled differently every time or the design kept changing, would you recognize it if you were to come across it multiple times?

Now, imagine seeing these changes in a world that moves as rapidly as ours. You may possibly notice small similarities in the brands elements, but it will likely take longer for you to grasp the concept of what that particular business is trying to convey. Business leaders should not only work on building the foundational blocks of their organization, but building their brand elements!  

Regularly, the Bekôz team focuses on providing strategies that help organizations achieve the results associated with specific goals. We usually start by establishing a foundational marketing base that caters to the organization’s S.M.A.R.T. Goals. From there, a strategy can be born. However, before you jump into developing brand elements  there has to be a solid ground to build on. It’s almost like building a house! Your Marketing Strategy is your foundation, and the brand elements are the windows.

So, let’s start building with the following in mind:

  • Once your business plan or marketing strategy is developed, you should focus on establishing a brand strategy with guidelines your staff or volunteers will be able to follow. Many times, organizations have various individuals messaging on behalf of the company.
  • A brand strategy will help clarify messaging and assets and provide consistency across departments as content is released. Branding guidelines should include key features around graphic brand elements, a color palette, as well as typography and imagery requirements.

Brand Elements

When you think of brand elements what comes to mind? Some often consider only graphics. Everyone discusses a noticeable logo or recognizable symbols that will stand out. While these elements are indeed important, there are other areas that need to be included when considering a brand’s personality. Not only consider the logo’s look and feel but general rules of usage such as instances regarding a dark and light background, size and space when placed next to other elements. Should the logo be tilted, placed in a different color, etc.?

Along with this consider the brand’s voice. What is your organization conveying across social media channels, blogs, eblasts and other types of content? The brand voice is in the tone of language used and key messaging. Does it sound insightful, reliable, informative, or relatable? Take for example a brand that would like to be known as reliable. Within their messaging, an organization may take on characteristics such as ensuring they follow through, own up to any issues or mistakes, and go beyond their expectations. They have to be sure in their content they do not overpromise or oversell. They may also consider using words such as dependable, responsible, secure, safe, solid, steady, trustworthy, steadfast, and more terminology that infers devotion to customers. Simply select how you would like your brand to sound and consider symbols, a logo, and words that fall in line with the image you want to depict.

Color Palette

Did you know there is psychology behind colors and how they can lend themselves to promoting various feelings? This is why you may recognize many banks (Bank of America, PNC, Citibank, Capital One, SunTrust, and more) utilizing the color blue which ignites feelings of stability, reliability, and trust. Or consider the color red which encourages appetite, hence brands such as Burger King, Wendy’s, KFC, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, and others. Without slogans or symbols, colors can convey so much. So, consider wisely when selecting yours. Take a moment to contemplate what the colors of your organization represent. 

Typography and Imagery 

Typography focuses on fonts and can help visually communicate a message. Just like the brand voice, typography can express a brand’s tone. It can be just as significant and impactful as your brand’s logo or symbol. It can provide balance to images it is surrounded with and can add to the  tone, similar to how the color palette can provide feelings about the brand. In any case, your typography should be easily legible and visually appealing.

Imagery should have certain characteristics as well. Are there specific filters your team should use regularly? Should the images focus on people, landscaping, or architecture? Should they be shown in black and white or with vivid colors? Will pictures be seen up close or will they be shown using a wide-angle or zoomed-out? All of these items can draw up various thoughts and emotions in different ways. Consider what you want others to think of or feel first when viewing items that are connected to your brand.

Focusing on these three important areas alone will help your organization put the pieces in place to build successful brand elements. You will be in position to share your brand with others and ultimately improve brand perception and awareness. Yes, it may seem like a lot, but we can help get you started! It may take some time to think through, but we have to admit, this is one of the more fun processes of developing your business’s foundation. Remember, if any guidance is needed, the Bekôz Team is always here to help. 


The Potential of LinkedIn for Lead-Generation

In the Community: Managing Partner, Sheebah Smith, participated in Business Appreciation Week with local associations to learn more about LinkedIn from Thomas Ellis of EWC Consultants.

Are you interested in getting more out of LinkedIn? It seems many are using LinkedIn to stay connected or to simply have a presence, but are you utilizing it to its full potential? Are you engaging with possible leads, enhancing relationships, or establishing yourself as an industry thought leader? Instead of jumping on and wasting time passively scanning your timeline, do just a few things that will place you in a position to generate leads for profitability. Here are some takeaways I gathered after attending the Calvert County Minority Business Alliance and Calvert County Economic Development LinkedIn seminar with Thomas Ellis of EWC Consultants during Business Appreciation Week.

  • Focus on establishing a profile that makes people want to reach out to you. The first step is to evaluate your profile to ensure it is complete
  • Think about what sets you apart from so many others using the business platform. Ellis specifically describes this as what makes you “better, unique, and desirable?” Once these traits are in mind summarize them into the Headline section of your profile. Remember to be bold and colorful, and explain the problems a person or organization may have that you can solve.
  • In a society that speed reads you want to have images, photos, and content that will quickly draw in people. Add pictures and videos if you haven’t already. Not just an inviting professional profile or banner picture, but photos throughout the profile that will visually show your experience. Add them to your summary, under your work experience, and ensure they are inviting (i.e., Remember to smile!) Don’t have any pictures? Start taking them today! 
  • Remember, bullets are your friend. As you entice people with the knowledge you bring to the table, use bullets to help readers quickly get the main points you want them to see. Don’t intimidate them with long paragraphs making it hard for them to find the information they need. This can be done as you explain what you do and who you do it for in the summary section, as well as what you did in the experience section.
  • Once you have completed a job or you find someone is pleased with your work, request a recommendation. To ensure time doesn’t get away from you, do it within 24 hours while things are fresh. Approve recommendations that will promote your services and speak to your target audience. We all know the acknowledgment that comes along with a word of mouth recommendation is unmeasurable due to the trust held between those who are giving and accepting the recommendation. Think of LinkedIn as your vertical word of mouth recommendation bank. 
  • Lastly, engage…engage…engage. Show your expertise by providing content or replying to someone’s post. Build relationships through comments, likes, and shares. Use Google alerts to feed you information on your industry or trends and provide a post with your comments. Then watch the magic occur. In this way alone you begin to establish and strengthen relationships while establishing yourself as a thought leader within your particular industry. Additionally, you remain at the forefront of people’s minds so when they think of someone to refer, they think of you.

According to Ellis, all you need is 30 minutes a day.  After leaving the workshop, I headed to my LinkedIn profile to determine what changes needed to be made. Needless to say, there are always things you can do to make it better. A tweak here and there, now I am on my way to better-utilizing LinkedIn myself.  I’ve added these essential tips to my routine. What about you? Are you committed?