The thin modern letters of a coffee shop sign catch your eye and you quickly look it up on your phone. Their website is sleek and minimalistic with lots of bright close up photos of hot lattes in white mugs. You check out their Facebook page and find the same stylish look and feel.
You cross the street and head over, excited to have discovered a new place to work outside the office. You’re already planning your Instagram post and who you’re gonna invite here for a coffee date. You open the door.
The clashing forest green carpet and beat-up red chairs are not what you expected. It’s dark and muggy feeling and it smells like old building. You thought you were heading into a chic bright coffee shop. Instead, you feel like you’re ordering your latte at a dingy Vegas dive bar.
I’m sure that’s not the experience anyone intends to create for their clients. Its confusing, jarring, and even infuriating when a brand hypes up your expectations only to deliver an underwhelming or disappointing experience.
That’s why extending your online branding into your real-world presence is so crucial. Having cohesive online graphics helps you make that awesome first impression that draws your ideal client in. It starts telling your story and preparing your people to make that first purchase. But your visual identity shouldn’t stop there.
Your brand is made up all the impressions you make on people. And the real-life experience you create is a huge part of that. If your real world impression doesn’t match the impression your online graphics are making, you could be unintentionally creating a negative experience.
You can make the most of your visual identity by using it to align your ideal client’s real life experience to your brand. Here are three ways you can extend your online branding into the real world:
- Brand your client documents
Client documents are the part of your brand that your clients end up spending the most time with. They’re the things that they take home with them after visiting your shop or meeting with you. What a huge opportunity to reinforce and build up your brand!
These small items can have a huge impact on your brand perception. Well designed client documents subconsciously communicate that you care about the details, have your act together, and can be trusted and taken seriously.
What documents do your clients receive from you? Think of your client’s experience from start to finish. If you run a service-based business, this would include your proposals, contracts, and invoices. A product-based business might include receipts and care instructions. How can you use these items to create the kind of experience you want for your clients?
- Be intentional about your packaging
Whether you’re selling in a storefront, shipping online orders, or handing over digital files, being intentional about how you package your product can do huge things for your brand.
Packaging can be an opportunity to make a great first impression when someone sees your product on the shelf. It can help you follow through on your brand message and create a cohesive experience.
Think about how you can use packaging to elevate the experience your clients have with your product. What materials will help you reinforce your brand message? How can you use packaging to create a positive impression and memorable experience? This is the perfect opportunity to make your ideal client feel special.
- Create a branded environment
The environment you create for your clients is one of the strongests ways you can reinforce your brand. And yet many entrepreneurs pay little or no attention to this aspect of their brand.
If you have a space in which you interact with your clients face-to-face, it’s super important to make sure it’s communicating your brand. Look for ways to use your brand colors, choose textures and materials that complement your visual identity, and find furniture that fits your brand aesthetic. Be intentional about the lighting, music, and scents your clients will experience.
You still have much to gain from branding your space, even if it’s never visited by clients. Setting your work space up in a way that is consistent with your brand can help you get and stay in the right mindset while you work. It can serve as a visual reminder of your brand values and tone.
Brand clarity and a cohesive visual identity are valuable assets in your business. You can make the most of them by allowing them to extend out from your online presence and into the real world.