Your training brand is about the identity you put out to the world as a trainer.
Get yours right and your brand should resonate with your target clients and bring more business through the door.
Get things wrong and you are in danger of diluting your brand and turning away potential bookings.
It’s with this in mind that I wanted to look at five things that can make a training brand look amateur with some hints and tips about how to go pro:
1. You’re using too many fonts
I’ve just been through the process of launching a new version of The Trainers Training Company website. Design isn’t my strong point, which is why I enlisted professional help to get this next evolution of my brand right.
One thing that the designer and I discussed is that I wanted the website to look cleaner, fresher and more attractive. The best way to stand out in the marketplace is by having a clear message presented in a simple and visually appealing way.
Too many fonts on your website or in other marketing materials can give quite an overwhelming, chaotic message to potential customers. If you’re not sure of your identity, how can clients feel confident?
How to go pro: To share the advice I was given, stick to a header font and a complementary font for body text in your marketing and use the same fonts in all promotional materials, on- and offline.
Seen a font that you like on another website? Google Chrome has a handy Font Finder extension that will identify any font on a web page for you.
Most designers will create some design concepts to give you a choice of fonts, colours schemes, designs, etc. based around your brief. Make sure you have a chat about the best fonts for your brand.
2. You’re using too many colours
Again, I was advised during my recent brand update to stick to a simple palate of two to three colours. Too many colours or colours that conflict with the brand message are big no-nos (there’s a reason, for example, that most financial institutions use blue in their branding because it’s seen as a calm, trustworthy colour).
Could your use of colours be affecting how people perceive your business?
The advice given to me was, choose a simple colour scheme that you feel good about and that will appeal to your customers. Your brand colours will feature on your logo, website, adverts, marketing materials, business card, training materials, and so on – the aim should be for all items representing your business to look like they belong together.
How to go pro: Most designers recommend choosing three colours: the base colour, accent colour and a neutral. Think about your brand’s personality traits – which is the most important? Your base colour should reflect the emotions associated with this trait. The accent colour should either complement or contrast with your base colour.
Again, this is something that a designer can help you with.
In case you’re like me and need a starting point, you can find some great advice about choosing your brand colours here:
3. You’re using poor quality images
The pictures you use in your marketing say a great deal about your brand. Potential clients may be put off by poor quality pictures, stock images they’ve seen on countless other websites or images that don’t reflect the overall brand message.
How to go pro: In an ideal world, I’d recommend having some good quality pictures taken to promote your business. These might include a headshot, pictures from the training room or networking events. Many people find that investing in a session with a photographer pays dividends because the resulting images are original and on-brand.
You’ll notice on the new Trainers Training Company website that most of the key images come from actual Trainer Talk sessions, mentoring and training groups. I decided to use a professional photographer and videographer because I want people to feel like they know The Trainers Training Company. I hope they can picture themselves within this friendly, passionate community.
If your budget can’t quite stretch to a photographer or you’re looking for images to use on your blog or social media, then you could ask a friend or colleague to take some photos with a good phone. You can also search for some less commonly used royalty-free stock photos. I like the following:
4. You’re not checking your content before publishing
With 101 demands on your time, it can be tempting to publish a new blog, web page, advert or training guide without double-checking what you’ve written. This can seriously undermine your brand.
It’s easily done. When we check over something we’ve just created, our brains tend to see what they think is on the page, not what’s actually there.
How to go pro: If you have the time, you should always put new content to one side and re-read it with fresh eyes before you publish it. You might even want to bring a proofreader or copywriter on board to produce content that reflects your brand.
If you’re publishing a new website or marketing brochure, it’s worth asking some trusted friends or colleagues to look at it objectively and see if they can spot any issues.
5. Your training brand looks and sounds inconsistent
To be successful, a brand should feel consistent across every format and platform so that people recognise it however they come into contact with it.
This means adopting one voice, one look, one personality, one style for your target audience.
How to go pro: Pull together all of the printed and online items you have that market your business. This might include your website, social media pages, training presentations, business cards, stationery and more.
How do they look together? Do they all sound like they come from the same voice?
If someone unfamiliar with your business were to look at these items individually, would they spot that they belong together? Is it clear that they’re talking about the same business? Are you using the same fonts, colours, words, messages, etc. throughout?
If not, it’s time to think about what you can change to better reflect your brand.
If you’re creating your training business brand for the first time or have decided it’s time for a rebrand (or just a brand tweak), these suggestions above will give you a good starting point to develop your identity.
Think about your target audience and what appeals to them. Identify key values and messages, what feels authentic and what you would feel happy to put out into the world. Look at brands you love and brands that turn you off – why do you feel this way?
This is all information that you can use to develop your brand. You can also put it into an in-depth brief for a graphic designer or web developer to help them understand your business.
How do you feel about your brand? Have you consciously developed a look and feel or is it a bit of a mish-mash? I’d love you to share your thoughts and experiences.