Branding is integral to everything we do here at Spade Design. Branding is vital because it’s how consumers know, perceive and recognize your business. It’s so much more than just a business name, logo or slogan, your branding is your essence. Branding material affirms your credibility, delivers messages succinctly and proclaims you keep your promises.
Google launched the “My Business” feature to help businesses connect with people looking for them locally. This week, Google My Business announced new branding tools aimed at making it even easier to establish and build consumer-business relationships.
What’s Google My Business Again?
For business owners, Google My Business offers one central location for managing how your business appears on Google. If you need to update your business hours, change your location on maps or update your products and services, your Google My Business account is where you go. There’s also a mobile app so you can access information and update your account on the go.
If you haven’t already claimed and optimized your Google My Business account, get in touch. We have a free email course that will help you create and optimize your GMB account in just seven days.
Essential Elements of Branding
Branding is the making of an entire language for telling the outside world who you are and what you do. People confuse it with just a website or a logo, but your branding is much more holistic than that. Here’s how we typically break it down:
- Your brand identity – This is how people recognize your business. It’s your logo and other associated visuals. We provide logo design, graphic design, even business card design that sums up who you are at a glance. We also extend that through your web design and digital marketing.
- Brand image – When people see marketing material and interact with your company, they start to make generalizations. For example, people associate Dove soap with simplicity and purity.
- Brand voice – Your personality and how your brand “speaks.” Harley-Davidson is in your face. Allstate is comforting and caring.
- Target audience – Your branding expresses who you are in ways that resonate with the consumers who are looking for you.
- Brand values – What you stand for drives your decision-making. Consumers develop loyalty when brands have values similar to their own.
Most the conversations about your brand happen online. New Google My Business tools are aimed at helping businesses stand out and express what makes them unique.
New Branding Tools from Google My Business
Google My Business announced several platform updates this past week that help small businesses do more with Maps and local Google listings. You’ll need to download the Google My Business app, since most features are currently only accessible through a mobile device. You may also need to update your app to see the new branding tools.
Google says business owners can now claim short names and URLs that help customers find them faster. Short names are like a Twitter or Instagram handle. They allow users with Gmail accounts to follow your business and make it possible for you to send them special offers.
You have to be a verified business to do so. Owners can change short names up to three times a year, but if you abandon one name you might not be able to come back to it. You have up to 32 characters, and if the name you choose isn’t available, you’ll see an error message.
Choose your business name if possible. If it’s not available, try abbreviating or adding location descriptions. Once you apply, Google will assign a URL so you can share your GMB profile. You want to jump on this one fast, since other businesses might share the same name, and only one of each is available.
Sometimes first-time visitors need a little incentive to follow-through. Provide that incentive by creating a discount or welcome offer that encourages them to interact. Here’s how to do it:
- Open the Google My Business app on mobile.
- Choose Profile at the bottom of your screen.
- If you’ve updated, you’ll see “Create Welcome Offer.” Select it then tap Create.
- Enter your title and a description. It’s also optional to input terms and conditions, a website link and a coupon code.
- Preview your ad. Make changes if necessary.
Visitors can also choose to follow your business. If they do, they’ll see updates, offers and your public profile information.
Set Cover Photos
Your cover photo is what people see on your Google My Business listing. Until now, you didn’t set that image, Google did. To set your cover photo, open GMB on your phone. The current cover photo appears at the top under “Profile.” Tap anywhere on the photo and you’ll see an option to view or change what you currently have.
Images are crucial for branding. Make sure your profile photo is in line with your brand identity, values, products and services. You can update this photo as often as you’d like.
Google also announced new photo displays that appear instantly in a new dynamic module on your profile. Soon you’ll be able to caption those photos, telling the story behind the image.
Add or Change Logo
In order to use this feature, you must have completed your core information in your Google My Business account. Once you do, you’ll have the option to add your logo to the right-hand side of your profile. This is an additional branding opportunity you don’t want to miss. If you don’t have a professional logo design, contact us for one that’s effective, memorable and timeless.
If your business is in the top 5 percent of businesses in your category, GMB will reward you with a “Local Favorite” tag. To give yourself the best chance of landing in that 5 percent, Google recommends keeping profiles updated and responding quickly to customers. We’ll add more on this as information becomes available.
Help Standing Out Online
You have enough on your plate without adding Google My Business management. Businesses trust Spade Design for all aspects of digital marketing, because we worry about that so you don’t have to. We’re your one-stop shop for web design, branding, social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), mobile apps and more.
We’ll help your business stand out in the online marketplace, your local community and anywhere else you do business. Start the conversation by talking with one of our branding experts today when you call us at (888)412-3128.