Once I brought the vision for hint out of the kitchen and into production, there was a moment of anxiety when I realized that yes, I had created something unique and new – but how will people find it? Of course, there were the natural avenues of marketing and awareness campaigns, but I still knew that many customers would simply search and find hint.

Searching, randomly discovering a brand, is how many consumers begin a relationship with your brand. So how do you make sure that you not only get noticed but create a consistent brand image?

1. Your brand story

I’ve written before about the importance of building your brand story, internally and externally. This story will be how consumers grow to know your brand, and it shouldn’t matter at which point they step into the narrative. Once you’ve created your brand story, once the chapters are flowing faster than you can hire around them, consumers will notice.

The key here is keeping a cultured and consistent brand message that reflects not only your company values and vision but the service or product you are selling. Building trust with consumers is important and a fragile ecosystem. If consumers don’t see a brand story that is consistent across all channels, they can turn very fickle, very fast. Your brand reflects not only yourself and your product or service, but your employees and staff as well. Taking care to cultivate a brand story that creates lasting bonds will embolden your brand when it pops up in search.

2. Your brand marketing

Advertising, marketing campaigns, and public relations are all great ways to get your name out there. You built your brand; now it’s time to sell it to the public. Yes, this will cost money. I can’t tell you the number of times that I raised an eyebrow at the cost of a subway ad or billboard or a sponsorship. Yet, I knew that I had created a brand story that needed to be told. So, if that means that I must pay a little more for premium placement on a high-traffic website, so be it.

Naturally, you’ll want to make sure your marketing reflects your brand story. This means through images and text. The story must remain consistent and true to your vision. Be careful here, as it is easy to get drawn into silly campaigns that only serve to confuse consumers, especially when they are searching for relevancy.

3. Your brand personality

Your story, marketing, and the images that are being served to consumers all serve to create your brand personality. In search and further, consumers will notice the tone of your brand. They’ll be able to tell if you are chippy or too salesy, they’ll immediately assume it even if it wasn’t your intent. Use control groups to test your marketing and be sure that your website is consistent and updated with current marketing campaigns. Be vigilant in creating a personality that consumers want to engage with by creating a voice and visual thread that weaves into your larger brand story and pulls in the curious consumer.

4. Your brand customer service

Regardless of the previous three items, nothing matters if you don’t have a good record with the consumers themselves. The internet never forgets, and every bad experience is a thousand times louder than all the good experiences that have come before it. While it doesn’t take long for the internet to forget a bad experience, at that moment, it is the loudest thing on Earth. I know that if one single customer is unhappy (which is inevitable), it has a much more dramatic impact than every other customer that day having baseline or excellent experiences.

This has created a difficulty for many brands who have to curate and manage their customer service channels – including social media – with a high level of determination and skill. While it is impossible to satisfy everyone, your brand customer service overwhelmingly sets the tone for what new customers can expect from you.

In the end though, if your brand story is engaging, your marketing strengths and your personality one that feels fresh and relatable, it’ll be easier to create an overall positive consumer trend in search. Be found and be happy they found you!