Your company logo is the face of your company. Having a clean and professional logo is key to creating brand awareness. It's very important to include your logo on every piece of communication (ie business cards, letterhead, envelopes, invoices, yellow page ads, newsletters, etc.).
Another very important aspect of branding is a professional website. It is not good enough to have just a website, you must reflect your brand image. Everyone uses the web today to check references, especially if someone recommends your service. Your website design and content should be managed and updated frequently to make sure you are staying current.
Blogs are also very useful, helping with providing content for your brand. Valuable content on a consistent basis will make you look like an expert, which is what people are looking for. Blogs are a great way to engage in conversation. Business-to-consumer dialog is much more valuable than just dumping information on their customers.
You should not just focus your marketing efforts in one area, instead, you should have a comprehensive multi-touch marketing plan to get your value proposition in front of your target audience. You can launch a direct mail campaign, email marketing campaign, host a webinar, co-sponsor a local event, attend a trade show, attend networking events, social media marketing, etc. This will require you to play around with different marketing strategies to find the best combination of methods for your strategic goals.
One of the primary drivers of brand loyalty is a consistent experience, so make sure you hold up your end of the bargain. Positive experiences lead to good feelings which lead to telling their friends. Never forget that bad experiences spread much faster and are harder to overcome – if you get a second chance at all.
Remember that you're not in control of your brand, you only set the direction for your brand, and your actual brand image is determined by your audience. Branding is not a one shot deal that is created and left alone, it's an on-going balancing act of marketing, research and conversation. If you're not tapping into those conversations with your audience, how will you know what their real impression of you is? Better, how will you know how to address it? You need to ensure that your actions, stationary, website and marketing efforts put out the right image.
Proper branding is critical to long term success. A lot of people think of branding as logo development, but in reality, branding is managing the thoughts and feelings of your customers to ensure that you are what they desire. If your desired brand image is not what's in the minds of your target audience, you've got to figure out where the gaps are and how to address them. Outsourcing your marketing efforts is sometimes the best choice.