The way people see and think about a brand is similar to the way they see and think about a person. If you have positive and strong brand reputation, potential customers will associate your business with positivity as well.

As opposed to a company’s reputation, your service’s reputation on the internet will play an increasingly important role in how you are perceived. It’s pretty straightforward – just like offline public perception is dependent upon a company’s reputation, online perception is dependent on your service’s reputation.

By considering the idea and emotions a customer associates with a particular brand, we can enhance the customer experience in any stage of interaction. Companies tend to provide customer service in different ways with regards to the user and the services they purchased. The best way to control your reputation is often through social media, emails, and chats.

(In other words, don’t forget that a brand’s reputation isn’t just about the customers. It includes everyone who has an opinion on it – guests, retailers and manufacturers for example too.)

Essentially, company reputations are really important in any competitive market. Successful companies need to prioritise this valuable asset.

What’s The Importance Of A Strong Brand Reputation For Today’s Businesses?

Strong brands go hand-in-hand with excellent service by your company. Building that effective reputation is the key to promotion, sales, and high customer satisfaction.

Research shows that people are more likely to shop at businesses with positive reviews. This means it’s important to not only resolve any negative feedback but also find ways to solicit and collect reviews.

We need to think about how your business is perceived in the market. There are various factors that occur to an organization.

Related: The importance of branding in your business

Market trust

You want people to trust you as a brand. That’s why it’s important to focus on your reputation and never slip up. This will show your customers that they can place their faith in you because they know that you’re dedicated to provide stellar service and quality products or services.

Moreover, it’s a fact that people prefer buying goods and services from brands that enjoy a solid reputation, Especially if people in their social circle use it’s products.

Higher sales

Studies have shown that brand reputation might be more important than we think. Businesses saw tangible benefits, namely that they raised both sales and profits. Fact of the matter is, it’s a huge boost to your business.

All this is possible because of the strong reputation. This reputation helps the brand stand out from competitors.

Customer loyalty

When a brand succeeds in earning more trust and positive reviews, the customers are more likely to continue to buy goods and services from it. The customer’s need for quality overrules any other incentives the competition might provide like discounts.

I would argue that there are fringe benefits to customer loyalty, such as being willing to pay a higher price. This is because, in the first place, you have already established yourself as someone who is worth paying a premium for.

Competitive edge

One fact that we can see for sure, is that the level of competition will always get higher. It’s hard for a business to make it through without a competitive edge – like a good reputation.

Having the edge over the competition means your potential for catching new customers increases, which boosts your brand’s market share.

Word of mouth

Happy customers are one of the most important assets of a brand, especially in this digital era. They serve as brand ambassadors and will enthusiastically recommend your company for free if they’re satisfied with your service.

It not only leads to increased brand awareness in the market, but it also paves the way for a business to improve its sales and profit margins over time.

Strong brand - customer service

What Are The Best Strategies For Managing Your Brand’s Reputation Online?

We’ll keep our focus on the ones proven to be the most effective, starting with:

Staying ahead of the curve

Being proactive is among the primary necessities for today’s brand managers. They should be thinking ahead of their competitors and the target audience. While branding online, the margin of error is relatively low, and any mishap can lead to a ripple effect in damaging the brand’s positive image.

If you make a mistake, it’s best to take responsibility for it and find an immediate solution as opposed to waiting.

Be specific about the deliverables

Social media has changed the customer experience in many ways and made them more intelligent than before. With endless mediums and channels to choose from, customers today have a world of choices for anything.

That’s why it’s important for brands to be very specific in delivery times and after-sales services. Experts recommend the ‘underpromise and overdeliver’ approach to avoid disappointing their customers.

Establish yourself as an authority

If you know that what you’re selling is the best in the market, you should be loud and clear about it. It will catch the eye of your target audience immediately, which will increase your brand awareness.

It’s essential that you are upfront about the quality of your product with potential clients and customers. Your competitors will say this too, so it is important to let people know why yours is better.

You will be establishing your brand as an authority in the marketplace, and people will turn to you for the latest and best content on it.

Be consistent and assertive

As they say, consistency is the key. The more you do your branding right, the more your reputation will go beyond the lifespan of your business. People can still love your brand even after it shuts down!

However, this demands the next level of consistency from your business. You have to make sure you deliver your best in all aspects of branding your business, from the quality of the products and services to the level of customer service you offer.

It’s hard to compete if you don’t keep up with your competitors. However, walking away from fighting your competitors is not the answer. If you think you’re outdoing them, then it’s your job to do more of the same.

Deliver on promises

You can’t overstate the value of fulfilling your commitments if you want to make the most out of your reputation. Fulfilling promises is fundamental to spreading positive word-of-mouth about your company.

Your customers want to see you keep the promises that you make, and if they know that they can rely on you then they will turn into your biggest brand advocates.

Value Feedback

It would be best if you realign your thinking this way. 

Who are you producing your products/services for? Your clients/customers, of course!

What if it’s not working well for them?

Redo your product/service to the requirements and likings of your customers. Otherwise, your business will earn you nothing but a bad name in the market.

You have to realise the importance of listening to your customers, gathering customers’ opinions about what’s not working for them and what areas they would like to see improved. 

Learn to accept and respect your customers’ problems, praises, issues, tips, or any feedback they give you about your product or service.

You’ll drastically improve your brand’s reputation considerably if you start doing this.

Feedback is the food of champions.

Conclusion

With the competition for business getting steeper every passing day, earning the trust and business of your target market is becoming a challenging task for most companies in all industries. It makes branding even more imperative.

Make a great customer experience your top priority. Also keeping a focus on the customer and employee retention and customer feedback to establish yourself as a customer-centric brand.

Though it might take some time, it will 100% help you grab your target market’s attention and earn respect in the long run. Once you achieve that, you’ll see sales and profits soaring as a result.

Images taken from Unsplash

SmartaStudio is proud to be playing our part in making a real impact in our community by becoming an official member of Donatable…

Donatable is a social enterprise that has been set up to support local businesses, develop a thriving, active community and enrich charities & community causes. By joining Donatable we provide you with a packaged programme of promotional services via our social media channels, strategic marketing, and community initiatives. Visit the website

The importance of our local community

SmartaStudio is a company that offers marketing and design services to businesses across the world, however, they are based in the Cheshire East area.

We believe that it is important for businesses to be active members of their local community. This is because it helps them to understand their customers and what they need better. It also helps them to develop new ideas for products and services.

We have a strong passion for our local community and aim to dedicate a percentage of our time to improving the online presence of businesses and charities from Cheshire East. Joining Donatable allows us to showcase our passion on a wider scale through their digital marketing efforts.

We have some exciting projects lined up with Donatable and can’t wait to share more over the coming months.

What is a rebranding and why do you need it?

A rebranding is a change of a company’s name, logo, or other identifying features. It can also refer to a change in the way the company is identified.

Rebranding might be necessary for many reasons. The most common reasons are:

– To give a company a fresh start and to remove negative associations with its old name or image.

– To introduce new products and services that require a different branding strategy from the company’s current one.

– To create an emotional connection with customers by using colours, fonts, or images that have been proven to elicit certain emotions in people.

How to Create Effective Brand Identity with a Rebrand?

Brand identity is a critical element of a company’s marketing strategy. It is the cornerstone for any company’s visual identity, and it can be the difference between success and failure.

Branding is often times just associated with your company logo, maybe a font and a colour or two, but it is so much more. Your brand is a visual representation of how your company aims to make people feel. It can be interpreted in different ways but always delivers the same message of ethics and belief within your company.

A rebrand is a process in which a company changes its logo, colour palette, typography, or other elements that are used to create its brand identity.

The goal of a rebrand is to create an image that will resonate more deeply with consumers and attract new customers.

In this article we will explore how to create effective brand identities with a rebrand.

What is the Process of Rebranding?

Rebranding is the process of changing the name, logo, or both of a company, product, or service. There are many reasons to rebrand. For example, if a company has changed its strategy and wants to focus on new products. Or if it wants to change its image in order to reach new customers.

There are two types of rebranding:

1) Re-positioning: The old brand is replaced with a new one that has different associations than the original one.

2) Renewal: The old brand is retained but refreshed by making changes such as updating logos and slogans

Here are some of the tools you’ll need in your brand toolkit:

  • Logo Assets – In various file types, colours and arrangements
  • Brand Guidelines – Usually a PDF that acts as an instruction manual for typography, logo usage, photography style, illustration and iconography as well as detailing your business mission, values and tagline
  • Flexible Typography – A well-designed and well-chosen brand typeface will contain numerous weights for various uses and be visually dynamic and unique to your identity
  • Mission Statement – A clear mission is the key to driving consistency across marketing collateral
  • Defined Tone of Voice – Brand messaging and communication is built using tone of voice that feels representative of your business and the people behind it.
  • Core Values – A solid set of one-worded values to shape everything you do as a brand and a business

The Best Tools for Planning a New Brand Identity or a Re-design

There are a lot of tools for creating a new brand identity or a re-design. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so you need to find the best tool that suits your needs.

The first thing that you need to do is to define what your goals are. What do you want to achieve with the re-design? If you want to create a new brand identity, then there are some tools that will help you with this process and if you want to make some changes on an already existing brand, then there are also some tools for this.

Another thing that is important when choosing the right tool is your budget and time availability. Some of these tools require more time and money than others, so it’s important not only to know what they can do.

Related: Branding assets every company should have

How Rebranding Can Transform Your Business

The word “rebranding” means to change the appearance or image of a company. It’s not just about changing logos and colours, but also about changing the way people see your brand.

Rebranding is a strategy that businesses use to create an emotional connection with their customers. It helps to refresh your brand and redefine its identity in the market. Rebranding can help you grow your business by attracting new customers and increasing sales.

Here are some of the top things that you can achieve by rebranding your business:

Attract new customers

After some time has passed, your company message may have become stale and not relevant to your audience. It’s important to always keep moving forward. As you have changed in relation to your customers needs, so has your brand. It may not directly reflect the goals & mission of your company any more. When you rebrand your company or target audience, you can help increase customer interest. You can also offset some of the negative impression that consumers had of the old brand.

Achieve new goals

Rebranding can also be an opportunity to significantly shift the focus of your efforts, allowing you to achieve new goals. One of these goals may be, for example, you want to develop new products or improve existing ones. And, if it’s employees you want to be your marketing executives, then there are lots of marketing tactics you could try. Giving them plenty of opportunities to have input & get their creativity flowing is one way to get them involved for sure.

Increase engagement

Whenever there is something new or exciting – be it new products or changes to the branding of your company – you have the chance to create a buzz. By rebranding for example, you can reach audiences who are most likely already talking about your company through social media! These changes may be cause for concern, but instead of just worrying about them, you can reassure clients by outlining all the reasons you’re making these adjustments. Plus, you can talk about why these improvements are important.

Streamlines messaging

Have you ever felt like your company has lost its message or brand? A rebrand can help bring everything back to the main focus. If getting your online reputation under control has been on the back burner it might be the perfect time to get started with it. Not only will you clean up your online presence, but you’ll get a head start for dealing with other foreseeable problems.

Why You Should Trust an Online Marketing Agency for your Next Branding Campaign

An online marketing agency can help you with your next branding campaign. They have the skills to create a successful campaign that will help you reach your target audience.

Online marketing agencies are able to offer their services at an affordable price. They are able to do this because they don’t need expensive office space and they can use freelancers for certain tasks. This means that the cost of these services is much lower than what it would be if you were working with an in-house team of marketers, designers, and copywriters.

Get in touch with us at SmartaStudio to have a chat about your rebrand

What is Mobile Responsive Web Design and Why is it Important?

Mobile responsive web design is important because it allows a web page to respond to the size of the device being used to view it.

Mobile responsive web design is an approach that makes a website adaptable for viewing on different devices such as desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile phone. It makes sure that the site will look good on any device and be easy to use. Mobile responsive web design is important because it enables users to access their content from any device they want and not be restricted by the type of device they’re using.

Google now prioritise mobile responsive websites for their Core Vitals research when it comes to determining your rankings on Google search results (SERPs). It is vital that your website is fully mobile responsive and compatible across all devices in order to attract new visitors and potential customers.

How Does a Mobile Site Work & Why You Need One for Your Business?

Many people are now switching to mobile devices to access the internet. In fact, more than half of the people worldwide access the internet using mobile devices, while only 49% do so via desktops. This is why it is important for businesses to have a mobile site.

Mobile sites have become one of the most common methods of internet browsing for many people, with over 51% of the world is using them on a daily basis. This trend has given many businesses an edge in regards to SEO rankings because more people are visiting their mobile sites than before. Mobile-friendly websites are not only easier for people to access, they also give your business an edge in terms of SEO rankings.

The Importance and Popularity of Mobile-First Web Design

Mobile-first web design is a popular trend in the industry. It is important because it helps businesses to be more efficient and provide users with a better experience. Mobile-first design can be used for many things, such as creating websites that are accessible on mobile, designing for mobile-only users, and designing for desktop users who use mobile devices.

Mobile-first design has become so popular because it helps companies to reach their goals more efficiently. For example, if you are trying to create a website that is accessible on mobile devices then you would want to use this type of design so your site will work well on all kinds of screens.

Another good reason why people like this type of design is because it can be used for different purposes such as designing for mobile-only users or designing for desktop

AMTA - iPhone UI Mockup

The Basics of Creating A Great Website with the Full Potential for Smartphones

Here is a list of the basic fundamentals of a mobile-friendly website:

1. Test Your Site Using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Tool

It’s important to consider mobile friendliness before taking any further actions with your site. Doing this can identify where optimisation is needed, giving you an indication of how to prioritize what needs work.

One way to do this is by simply using your website on several different devices. Access the site on your own mobile phone or tablet and see how it looks and feels to use. This will allow you to get a feel for the loading times, how well the design works on a small screen, whether the content is still readable, and if the navigation menu is too long.

Once you’ve done that, you can go even deeper by using a dedicated testing tool. Fortunately, Google has created one you can use for free, which will show you if your site is up to its standards for mobile pages. Appropriately, this is called the Mobile-Friendly Test tool.

2. Use a Reliable Website Designer for Your Businesses Website

The importance of a website for a company cannot be understated. In order to survive in today’s modern, digital world, companies need to have a well-designed and up-to-date website. The struggles of trying to maintain your own site can be time consuming and tedious. That is why companies should consider outsourcing the work to a professional website designer. Get in touch with us today

Recently the team at SmartaStudio took control of the website maintenance, monitoring and support of Stoke-on-Trent based fashion business, Terraces Menswear.

We were approached by a referral partner of ours, Fifteen Group, with a view of providing fully comprehensive support and server maintenance over one of Terraces’ busiest periods of the year.

With the client in a desperate position, we set aside other projects and dedicated our full time efforts into supporting the website with its sale over Black Friday weekend. Here’s a breakdown of how it went…

The Scope

  • Support and maintenance of a multimillion-pound E-Commerce website, which attracts thousands of users over the busiest weekend of the year for all E-Commerce businesses — Black Friday.
  • Ensure the website runs smoothly, sales and orders are registered successfully, and the website is linking correctly with the client’s ePoS system.
  • Ensure load balancing is triggered and runs smoothly during peak times.

The Client

Terraces Menswear is a men’s fashion retailer turning over circa £8m per annum through its website alone. With 5 stores across Stoke-on-Trent, Terraces is an established name in the men’s fashion industry and continues to expand its network of stores and online customers year-on-year.

Website Design - Terraces Menswear

The Results

The results were astounding. Terraces Menswear experienced a steady level of online visitors over the weekend, with many orders coming into the site across the 4 days of sale.

The numbers speak for themselves:

>6,000

orders

>13,000

products sold

>£470,000

sales

A record-breaking Black Friday sale for Terraces Menswear, we are so pleased it went smoothly for them and that they are happy with the support we provided.

Testimonial

From Rob Adams, Director of Fifteen Group Limited

“Fifteen Group Limited is a Technology Company operating in Stoke on Trent with a wide breadth of clients across multiple sectors. One of the solutions offered is bespoke Server Hosting solutions for complex eCommerce websites operating multi-million £ turnover businesses. Recently we had one of our long-standing eCommerce websites operating in the Designer Clothing sector move to a larger eCommerce Agency, the website was operating at circa £8m per annum and so the move needed to go smoothly especially with the annual Black Friday event happening in November which accounts for a significant amount of the overall income for the Website.

The move wasn’t as successful as had been hoped with the new Agency underestimating the complexities of the site and the Server Hosting that was required. The result being a site that suddenly became almost unusable from a user’s perspective, turnover dropping to unsustainable levels and constant angst from the customer base looking to place their orders for their designer clothes. Our client persevered with the new agency for 7 weeks, trying in vain to rectify the website but, with the Black Friday weekend only 1 week away and the risk to the business of not being able to trade and sell their stock, they called us and asked if they could move the website back to Fifteen Group.

Unfortunately, Fifteen Group was unable to provide the assistance needed in such a short time frame using our own team, as we had other clients gearing up for Black Friday and our resource was already stretched to the maximum. However, believing the mantra that “every problem is a solution waiting to happen”, Director, Rob Adams turned to his BNI Network, made some phone calls and was able to quickly form a POWER TEAM consisting of Ryan McCandless of SmartaStudio and an ex-employee of Fifteen Group and now self-employed web developer Rob Allport of F9Web.

The three jumped onto a Video Call and discussed the challenge ahead; the need to construct a Hosting Environment to support the website, the physical move of the website back to us and all of the Domain Name settings involved in the transfer together with ensuring that the 5,000+ products and images were correctly displaying and linked to the companies EPOS system and Stock Records; the last thing that they wanted was to sell stock they didn’t have!

Rising to the challenge, Ryan McCandless of SmartaStudio took the lead and worked diligently for almost 48 hours solid with Rob Allport, training himself in the way that Fifteen Group create Server Configurations and all the unique support challenges that are posed by high end eCommerce websites linked to EPOS and Stock Control systems. The website was moved back to the Fifteen Group eco-system and thoroughly tested with a day to spare before the Black Friday promotions started.

Ryan’s involvement then continued throughout the BLACK FRIDAY weekend, we created a WhatsApp support group consisting of Fifteen Group, our Client and Ryan so that any support issues could be identified, reported, and resolved immediately. Ryan made himself available to monitor the Website and the Servers for 18 hours each day from the Thursday through to the Tuesday after Cyber Monday. Every detail was covered off and from the end client’s perspective the Website operated flawlessly throughout.

The result was that the Website was moved back to Fifteen Group, a structured support solution was implemented utilising Ryan McCandless both now and for the foreseeable future and the Website was not only able to trade through the Black Friday promotions BUT exceeded ALL previous records for Sales over that weekend!

Fifteen Group has worked with Ryan McCandless on several solutions, but this is the first time that we have called upon Ryan to support us with almost zero notice and for one of our largest eCommerce Websites. Ryan showed true professionalism throughout, his ability to absorb the knowledge required quickly was incredible and he was an absolute pleasure to work alongside. Ryan was able to offer insight for the client in their UX and CX experience together with show his creative and graphics skills. Our client was so impressed that they have asked if Ryan can remain as part of the overall team going forward and we of course would be delighted for that to happen to.

Fifteen Group has no hesitation in recommending the services of Ryan McCandless of SmartaStudio.”

Conclusion

The maintenance and support for Terraces Menswear has been one of our most exciting and valuable projects to date, so thank you to Rob Adams and the team at Fifteen Group for the introduction and opportunity of handling this project.

We will continue to support and provide assistance to Terraces Menswear for the foreseeable future in order to help them grow as a business and break even more records!

The way your company looks isn’t all that matters. The identity it portrays reflects its personality and tone, and your brand is a reflection of that. It’s a part of the personality that your company gives off, and this is how people will identify you in the future. Branding is important, for all businesses of any shape and size.

Branding has always been a vital part of business, but it may be more important now than ever before. With social media, it’s easy for consumers to get exposed to new brands every day. This is great for people who have plenty of options and can do research to find the best one, but this makes it more difficult for businesses.

There’s a huge amount of competition today, so businesses need to go the extra mile of ensuring they stand out in a crowd. To succeed in branding, you need to invest in creating an engaging and attention-grabbing brand that will keep your audiences interested. Doing this will not only help get people’s attention but also allow you to control how they perceive your business.

More People Will Recognise Your Business

One of the most obvious reasons that businesses need branding is to help them get recognized more often. If you maintain a strong brand, it will stay in the minds of customers who like your business. This is much easier than trying to keep your business at the forefront of a customer’s mind without one.

However, a business with elements such as a distinct logo, attractive colours and other visual elements will be much more memorable. You could inject your brand into people’s daily routine in a substantial way through advertising, but it’s also possible to put your brand in front of someone without them even realising it. If they find what you have to say or show interesting, then there’s a good chance that they will remember seeing your work – even if they don’t want to use what you have to offer just yet. Eventually, when they’re ready to take the next steps, if your branding has stuck with them, they’ll come back to you.

Branding Can Help Build Trust 

Trust is essential for any business, but it’s not always easy to acquire. Lack of branding, for example, can make it difficult to establish trust with your audience.

It’s vital that people can recognise your business at a glance and without branding, it may be difficult for customers to understand what you have to offer.

If a company is confident enough to invest in a good logo and identifiable style, it shows its client that they have professional values. Most people would likely choose a business that has clear branding over one that doesn’t. Branding helps you show potential customers that you’re an established, credible business.

You can use this to tell people very early on what they can expect from your business. This is an investment you’re making to improve, and it lets people know that you want them to enjoy the benefits of your work. This distinguishes you from other companies competing for their attention.

Branding Identity Created by SmartaStudio

You Can Improve Your Advertising

Your business won’t get very far without advertising. Branding goes hand-in-hand with advertising; if you want better advertising for your business, you need to work on developing a brand first.

If you’re looking to amp up your advertising, it can be tough to keep everything cohesive if you haven’t thought about your business’s identity and values. Taking some time to consider these will make it easier for you. If you’re advertising without a strong sense of branding, you’re missing the opportunity to create your campaign more effectively. By adding in your branding when creating your campaign, it is easier for people to recognise who they are and what they offer.

It’s Great for Your Employees 

Good branding also has benefits inside of your company. There is a value in knowing that the people you work with every day like and respect it as much as you do and feel like they’re part of a team. A company with great branding will find it easier to attract the best people and retain employees’ loyalty.

You can use branding to help attract new customers but make sure you also invest in aspects that keep your team motivated. Things like branded merchandise and apparel or investing in a more modern office space. If you can motivate your employees by creating a sense of unity through branding, you could end up seeing great results all around.

Branding Creates Loyal Customers

With good branding strategies, you can give your company a more human side that customers can identify with. It’s also important that they return to your business for future purchases. Branding is one of the best ways to connect with your audience and have an emotional connection. It lets you build a relationship with them so they can turn into loyal customers. Creating a brand that people care about can help you stay ahead of businesses without a strong brand identity.

Quick beginners guide on how to create a new blog post in WordPress!

Step 1: Log in to WordPress

Go to yoursite.com/wp-admin and log in with your username and password.

You’ll then be taken to the WordPress dashboard. If you were already logged in, you’ll go straight to the WordPress dashboard without having to log in again.

Step 2: Create a new post

There are several ways to add a new post – the easiest way is to hover over the Posts tab and click Add New.

Alternatively, can hover over the New tab in the top bar and click on Post. You can also click on the Posts tab and then click Add New at the top of the posts screen.  

Step 3: Enter the title of your new post

Put the title of your post in the first box at the top that says Add title.

How to add a title in WordPress

Step 4: Enter body content

The big area below the title box is where you put all the text, images and other content that makes up your new blog post.

Step 5: Select your featured image

The featured image will usually be shown at the very top of the post. It will also be your post’s thumbnail, meaning wherever this post appears, the thumbnail image will appear along with it.

You can upload a new image, or use an existing image from your media library and select it on the right hand pane of your WordPress editor.

How to add featured image - WordPress

Step 6: Select tags and categories

Tags and Categories are located on the right side of a post. Upload them to structure your blog in a manner that makes sense to your user. Categories and tags are important for SEO

Categories are usually broader whereas Tags are generally a bit more specific. For example, if you were posting a cake recipe, your Category might be ‘Baking’ and your Tags might be ‘Cake’, ‘Birthday’ and ‘Icing’.

Creating tags and categories, try to think of topics that people will want to read more about. You don’t want your tags/categories to be too general, but you also don’t want them to be so specific they only contain one post.  

Step 7: Hit Publish!

You can preview what your post will look like on your actual site by clicking the Preview button in the side bar. Once you’re happy and your post is finished, click on the blue publish button on the right-hand side and your post will be live!

Or you can hit Save Draft come back to it later. Drafts are saved in WordPress but not visible to any of your site visitors. —   So there you have it! Creating new blog posts in WordPress is easy once you’ve done it a few times. Happy blogging!

Branding is vital and important to your business and so are the numerous assets that every business should have available for your clients, potential clients and partners. Today, we would like to cover the key branding assets every business should have on hand as well as a good understanding of what they represent.

It may be easy to keep a grasp on your company’s brand assets, but as you grow and expand your network of clients, partners and so on, you need to be ready to educate how and when to use them.

If you are a small business, this post will hopefully help start the conversation to begin creating said assets and/or spur the decision to begin collecting and fine-tuning what you already have. If you are a well-established business and do not have these things taken care of… Oh, Dear!

In all seriousness, it’s never too late to get organised or to consider what your brand may be missing or lacking. It is crucial to understand the importance of branding in marketing. Your partners will seriously appreciate the extra effort. This will help reduce delays in production, ensure that your branding agency is producing work that meets your standard of quality, and provide a roadmap that will keep your partners producing a cohesive product that aligns with your brand.

Let’s review a checklist of both conceptual needs and physical and digital assets your company should consider putting together prior to hiring your next partner and/or marketing agency. Ideally, you should collect or produce as many of the below items as possible in organized folders and have them ready to hand over as soon as possible.

Where To Start with Branding Assets

Brand Guidelines

Depending on your business, brand guidelines can range from a one-page sheet to entire books with extreme detail. For the most part, there’s no need for a brand guideline book. Putting a minor amount of thought into the psychology and overall direction of how you would like your brand to be portrayed when in the hands of a partner is more than enough. A big reason why a brand guideline handbook is necessary is so that you can have brand consistency and unified, strong brand identity.

In some cases, there are finer details and restrictions that must be adhered to and these are great as they clearly define the do’s and dont’s of your brand and will help avoid any confusion while working together.

Logo Files

Logos! Every business or company has logos available right? That’s a no-brainer! Wrong. Logo files might be the most obvious since they are your front-facing identity. However, there are times when we find ourselves scouring Google Images for a client’s logo only to find that the sole file available is a  200×100 JPEG found on page 2 of the results and we are left scratching our heads.

If you have an in-house team or hired professionals to develop your logo, there is a standard checklist of file types that every marketing team will be high-fiving each other over if they are available upon request.

  • EPS – An .eps file is the ideal choice for your marketing team as it is not only a high-res vector format, but also a working design file that can be edited/manipulated as needed in Adobe Illustrator. If you have these, great! If not, consider reaching out to the people responsible for creating your logo as they should have sent them to you and/or consider hiring someone to create .eps files for your logo.
  • PNG – A .png file is a raster file that will allow you to generate a version of your logo without a background. Thus, allowing you to place it over any type of color, surface, or texture as long as your brand guidelines permit.
  • SVG – Similar to an .eps file generated by Adobe Illustrator, an .svg file is a high res, vector format that is compatible for both print and web.
  • *JPEG – The only reason I have .jpeg on this list is because if you are working with a technically savvy marketing agency, their design personnel should be able to make this work IF it is a last resort and/or all that you have on hand. This will require a bit of extra time and most likely some finesse in some cases, but it can be done.
Web Design Cheshire - Clients

Imagery & Photography

In an ideal world, you will have invested the time and money into the development of imagery that is representative of your brand. If not, an outline or guide of stock photography can be very helpful to your marketing agency or internal team, but not something you should rely on as customers nowadays can sniff out stock photos and are often turned off by them. At the very least, you should have a mood board or list of example references available.

Oftentimes, illustrations or icons fall into this category as well. The two styles serve a common purpose and provide immense value in their own unique way. Having similar imagery, graphics and content is a great way to build brand consistency.

Font Files

Believe it or not, not all fonts are created equal (aka they aren’t all free).  If you are unaware of the fonts your business uses, a free Google Chrome widget FontFace Ninja allows you to pull the fonts being used on any web page. These will most likely be your brand’s fonts and will help you track them down for your agency. Luckily, the trend of choosing Google-friendly fonts has minimized the margin of error in a lot of these cases!

Color Palette

Your brand’s colour palette is not the biggest deal in the world to have solidified, because nine times out of ten a savvy digital marketing professional will be able to pull those colours from your website through a number of tactics. However, having a simple colour palette handy is always helpful and cuts down the number of unnecessary steps. Ensuring you have a consistent colour scheme is also important in developing a strong brand.

Examples of Past Work

Examples of past work will provide your marketing agency with a benchmark to avoid repeating as well as exceed in their own rite. This is a great opportunity to have an open discussion about the things you liked or disliked about previous work. It’s these brainstorming sessions between the people who know their business/brand the best.  Two brains will always be better than one in these cases.

Having examples of past work also helps the marketers you hire understand your brand identity and brand elements that you like to use. This helps them come up with a clear marketing strategy.

Final Thoughts

It goes without saying that it is our/your agency’s job to worry about these types of things as they may or may not be anywhere near your list of to-do’s. We get it, you’ve got a business to run. You should never hesitate to lean on your partners or marketing agency for help on these matters. We hope this list got you thinking about where you stand in terms of brand assets, how organized they are, how readily available you have them in one place, as well as what branding is and its importance.

If you ever are in the market for a company rebrand and/or development of any of the above brand assets, please do not hesitate to reach out to the team at SmartaStudio and we would be happy to get you in touch with the correct people to make that happen!

Why web design is important…

Your web design is simply vital.

Your website is easily one of the most important aspects of your brand’s online presence.

It is important that you design it the right way.

Your website is also the place where you nurture your bottom-of-the-funnel leads to get conversions.

So, you can’t afford any failures in your website that might cause your prospects to bounce off your website. A great article on website fails can be found here.

Your website should be designed in a way that keeps your audience in mind, it should also ensure that it provides a good user experience.

There are a lot of other benefits of a good website design for both your business and your audience.

In this post, we will discuss why good website design is important from your audience’s perspective in order to drive conversions through your website and turn it into a lead generating machine!

Brand image

Your website is a reflection of your brand and everything that it stands for.

It is usually one of the first things people look at to get to know a brand and therefore helps form the first impression.

Your website design elements, like colours, fonts, images, etc. all form your brand identity.

Therefore, you need to select those elements carefully and keep them consistent across your website.

It amazes me the number of new projects I launch where there existing/old website has zero relection on them as a business.

We strive to fix that.

Look at the homepage for Pepsi as an example:

Why Web Design is Important - Brand Image

You can clearly see how the brand has used its identity within the website. The red, the blue, the big bold text all on a dark background.

Red, white and blue are the colours of the brands logo, packaging of their traditional Pepsi can’s and a lot of other brand elements.

The website maintains this consistency because these colours and stylings represent the brand and people associate these with the company.

Here are some of the web design elements that you should select carefully and then use consistently.

Colour

If you already have some colours which are associated with your company logo, you should definitely use these across your website.

If you don’t, then use this article on colour association to help.

For example, if you want to associate your brand with trust, then you should use the colour blue.

If you want consumers to think that your brand produces high-quality products, then the colour black can help you form that image.

Similarly, depending on what brand associations you want to form, you can select your brand colours.

Layout

As a general rule, keep your layout simple, clean and designed in a way that draws attention to what we call call-to-actions (CTA).

The number of menu items should be based on your audience preferences. Divide your menu into sub-menus to create a cleaner looking design.

You can experiment with a few different layouts and conduct split testing to understand what works best with your audience.

Here’s an example of a cluttered website which will have drastic effects on their performance:

Why Web Design is Important - Bad Layout

And an example of a website with a much cleaner layout and clear call-to-action:

Why Web Design is Important - Clean Layout

Fonts and typography

The general rule for selecting a font is that it should be easy-to-read and clearly visible on the background colour that you selected.

Your font should also reflect your brand personality and whether you want to look professional or fun and youthful.

An example of a website which uses typography in a fun and creative way, but works perfectly:

Why Web Design is Important - Fonts

Site navigation

One of the biggest benefits of a good website design is that your target audience can navigate the website easily.

The ultimate goal of any visitor coming onto a website is to quickly find the information that they are looking for.

Your website design should make that process easier and help visitors navigate your website without getting lost.

The more user-friendly your website is, the more likely it is that people will engage with your content and take the desired action.

A good website design should aim to provide the best user experience, which ultimately translates into conversions.

A prime example would be Airbnb…

Airbnb have a very simple, yet engaging website design where you can find just about everything right from the get-go on the homepage.

Why Web Design is Important - Airbnb

As you scroll down the page, you will find more destinations to explore. From top-rated Airbnb stays to travel recommendations, you have it all!

Why Web Design is Important - Airbnb 2

So, if you know where you want to go, you can simply make a booking from the top of the page.

If you’re just exploring your options, you can simply browse through and get inspiration for your next trip.

See how brilliant that user experience strategy is? Airbnb does not just make it easy for people to book stays but also encourages them to plan a trip if they’re not yet sure! Simple, yet amazing!

All of that can be done right from the homepage. No messy drop-down menus, no page hierarchies, just a clean and simple all-you-need-to-know kind of design.

Conclusion

Website design is an important matter and should not be taken looked past by any business. A well-designed website can help you form a good, and long-lasting impression on your prospective customers.

It can also help you nurture your leads and get more conversions.

But, more importantly, it provides good user experience and helps your website visitors access and navigate your website with ease.

So, if you are looking for designers to create your website, vet them well and ensure that they are capable of designing user-friendly and accessible websites.

If you already have a website, you can always conduct a site audit and optimise it to provide a better user experience and to improve accessibility.

Get in touch with the team at SmartaStudio and discover ways in which we can help improve your website design to drive those conversions!

It’s not all about money

We’ve been in business for 1 year now, before that – I was a Freelance Web Designer for some of the most established agencies in the UK. We have built a bespoke web design agency that can cater for large clients, as well as small clients. This gives variety to day to day and doesn’t let boredom creep into a designers diary. We have some clients spending decent money with us, and we also have small clients who are just starting on their journey. So the question is, do we just accept a project based on how much they are willing to spend? Of course not… here are some insights into the reasons why…

Personality

This list is by no means in order of importance, but the personality of our clients is a very important factor in the type of Web Design clients we like to work with. Whether it is a project manager or the actual owner of the business, it is super important that we are on the same page as them and that communication is comfortable and flows naturally.

We like to build relationships with our clients and form a long term partnerships in order to do great things for them.

Vision

Starting a project with our Web Design, Branding, SEO or Digital Marketing clients needs communication and direction. We listen to you, your brief, your knowledge of your audience and provide our opinion on what we see as the best solution for your business. We then analyse your competitors in terms of what they do well, what they don’t do so well on and discuss how we can improve what you have based on the research we gather.

If our vision is the complete polar opposite to what yours is, then we may not be the right fit for you. We like to guide clients with direction, research and theory. But it’s a collaboration – we actually start with your thoughts on your business, where you want it t grow, which areas you want to focus on, your opinion on competitors, industry references, website references etc. This paints a great picture in our mind of what you like and don’t like. If something doesn’t work in our opinion, then we’ll tell you – and we’ll explain why it can be done better.

If you’re impressed with a web design agency and their portfolio, but their direction for your project is not quite aligned – ask questions and spend time at this point before jumping into the design project. That’s when it gets awkward.

Ethos

How you run your own company. The culture. How you treat employees. How you communicate with us when we first meet. Some clients think that we are lucky to receive their enquiry – maybe they should think again. Are they lucky to have us work on their project? We have the opinion that all projects should benefit both parties. The client gets an awesome website, and we get an awesome website for our portfolio to showcase what we can do.

When we present our ideas to clients it isn’t all about now – it’s about the future. For example, if your ethos is the same as ours – you always want to be the best. Progress, improve and never stop learning. We want to work with progressive and ambitious brands, no matter of scale or age.

Location

Location doesn’t matter for us. We are a Web Design agency based in Cheshire, however, we work with clients all over the UK and even the world. In fact, some of our favourite clients are overseas! We don’t have to meet face-to-face with our clients, we can meet on apps such as Zoom, MS Teams, Slack or Skype.

Budget

I used to work at design agencies that wouldn’t work on projects less than £10,000. Here at SmartaStudio we are open to all budgets, within reason. This enables us to create a diverse portfolio that attracts small and large brands to our services.

Every enquiry we get, we consider and digest before making a decision on whether to take it to the next step or not. If you have £50,000 to spend and it’s a very easy project – we will tell you how to spend your money more wisely. If you have a low budget but complicated requirements, we will tell you. If you don’t know how much a project costs – let us know what’s realistic from your side and we will tell you what functionality is realistic from the creative side.

Summary

If we get a good vibe from you in the first meeting. If you’re a nice person. If you had good intentions. Bold vision. Want to be better than your competitors. Have realistic budgets and timeframes. And you’ve already spent the time to understand us and our agency, and you like what you see – and want to work with us… please do get in touch. You sound like the perfect fit for us, and we are the perfect fit for you 🙂