No matter how small you are as a business, branding is just as important as it is for big names. You can’t compromise on your brand..ever. The moment you launch your business, you are communicating a message and that should be consistent across various channels you choose to make your business known to your prospective customers.

A “brand” is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your name (whether you are selling your personal services or business products). A successful brand helps to communicate what your core product is, what sets you apart from your competition.

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is — it is what consumers tell each other it is.” – Scott Cook

If you get your branding right, your prospective and current customers will associate your name with quality, trust and authority. Positioning your brand correctly gives your business the personality and identity that people can relate to and be proud to be associated with.

Apple is all about the brand

Apple has consistently been identified with great technology design. Ask marketers experts why Mac and iPhone users are so loyal, and they all cite the same reason: Apple’s brand. The overwhelming presence of Apple comes through in everything they do. The company has established a “heartfelt connection” with its customers. This can take several forms, from building trust to establishing a community around a product.

What’s in a message?

You don’t have to be Apple to attract an audience and loyal followers. Your core business values, selling points and your products are unique to you as a business. Focus on delivering great product and ad message and overtime your brand will stand out as you expect.

A company’s brand is continually reinforced through all of its messaging and interaction with customers. Establishing a strong brand identity means your marketing message should be consistent across all the multiple channels you have chosen to market yourself. Your communications doesn’t have to look exactly the same, far from it, but you should strive for visual cohesion. That cannot be overemphasized.

Your messages and updates on the wildly varying social platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn should be consistent but unique to each social network. What works on Twitter may not necessarily work on Facebook. Strive for consistency but share what your audience on each platform are used to. Leverage both online and offline branding techniques for better results. Custom printing marketing materials including business cards, letterhead, envelopes, brochures and presentation folders should also be consistent with your online identity.

Here is how to maintain brand consistency across different channels

1. Do you know your audience? You can only deliver the best and right message if you know who is listening. You can’t share text heavy messages on Instagram. And you don’t want to send long emails to your prospects. Nobody will even read it. The same message can be delivered in different forms in the best way possible that can convert. Pay attention to tone, frequency and style. Make sure the voice you choose appeals to your target audience. Use it consistently across all social media platforms.

2. Don’t forget frequency. How many times do you share updates with your audience on your marketing platforms? Sharing or marketing is a balancing act. As you decide what to post and how often you intend to share, think about the benefit of your updates to your audience. Instead of promotion, educate your audience. It pays to consistency share educative content. You will attract followers who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

3. Business is personal. Make it personal. Skip the sales  messages and begin to care about the real people who you called prospects. People establish relationships with, and buy from, people…not faceless brands. Zappos realized early in its business model that Twitter would provide the most unique platform to communicate with its customer base. Zappos also has fun conversations with its customers, a great Twitter strategy to show authenticity through a Twitter account.

 “Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” – Joe Chernov

When you keep your visual identity and key marketing messaging consistent across your chosen channels you will develop and strengthen your brand, helping your business make long-lasting impression. Your reputation is on the line every single day. The fastest way to lose followers and customers is to lose their trust. Focus on what works. Don’t guess, measure your marketing activities and stick to the messages people respond to.