The first impression that your brand makes is crucial to generate the right response from your potential customers. As the cliché goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression! Customers expect a consistent experience of your brand across the platforms you’re presenting on. This means that there should be a feeling of cohesion, whether they’re scrolling through your social media pages, visiting your website or speaking to you or your employees in person. This consistency makes your business appear to be more professional and trustworthy.
Setting the precedent
Before visiting a luxury hotel, you already have an expectation of how it will be. You might get a refreshment when you check in, someone will bring your bags to your room where fluffy bathrobes, slippers and luxury toiletries await. You won’t expect to encounter any budget elements during your stay because you’ve invested in a luxury experience.
On the other hand, if you visit a budget hotel, you’re not going to expect champagne with your breakfast. Instead, you can expect to have a reasonably professional but budget experience throughout your time there. The same principle applies when it comes to your brand. It’s important that you clearly set a precedent and then follow through on it. Ryanair is one brand which very clearly sets out customer expectations in advance.
Judgement and unfair bias
Humans make judgements very quickly, forming an opinion on a person or thing in as little as a fraction of a second, according to one study from Princeton University. When you consider your brand and how people will encounter it, think about it as like being on a blind date. You can reasonably expect your date to be critical of your appearance and actions from that awkward first minute. On the other hand, you would not expect your long-term partner to be as critical when meeting them for dinner. Everything is more forgivable once that relationship has been established.
Because you don’t want to give potential customers any opportunity to establish unfair bias against your brand, you should do everything possible to get that first impression right. Remember, once people have made their initial judgement it’s very difficult to change it. The next time they encounter your brand, they will immediately associate it with that previous experience, even if you have made changes to your brand presentation in the meantime.
Creating cognitive ease
Cognitive ease is a ‘good feeling’ that you may have about a particular brand. It’s similar to the feeling you get when you walk into your favourite spa, hotel or restaurant. This can be difficult to put into words but is about the whole package. There are some simple steps and techniques you can use to create this.
- Use consistency and familiarity
- Say something that is true
- Use colour to set the right mood and tone
- Clearly display products or services
Good branding is about having a clear message and communicating what your brand means and what it stands for. However, that it’s ultimately up to the consumer how they perceive that. A brand strategy specialist can give you a competitive advantage by using colours, typography and other visual cues that resonate positively with your ideal customers.
An example of branding consistency
The Irish jewellery brand ‘Chupi’ is a good example of branding done right. Jewellery is not a basic necessity. When people are making a decision about jewellery it’s likely to be linked to emotion and a special occasion. So Chupi emphasizes storytelling, memories and experience in their branding. They present their products with beautiful consistency and link jewellery to a lifetime of moments.
Branding and Tinder
To return to the dating analogy, it can be helpful to think of your brand as a Tinder profile. If you were single, wouldn’t you want your profile to attract the best possible match for you? You would post a photograph where you looked your best and carefully word your replies to the best matches. When it comes to presenting your brand to the world you should take the same amount of care. This means that you need to be aware of the images you use, your use of colour and font. Tone of voice is very important, is it friendly or is it arrogant? Formal or informal?
Remember that your brand is being judged whether you like it or not. And that judgment can happen in a matter of seconds. So you need to be as strategic as possible in your approach. If your customer is having a consistent experience, it’s more likely to be a positive one. When people feel at ease, they can make better decisions and are more likely to buy, which is good news for small businesses.
To find out more about how to elevate your business into a brand, learn more about MAKER Elevate.
MAKER Elevate is a programme designed for small businesses that would like a more cohesive and consistent brand that builds trust & loyalty with their customers, delivering a better experience an overall. The programme looks at your brand as a whole to see how you are communicating what your brand does and what it stands for – getting those all important brand foundations defined. (Coming soon in 2022)
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