Successful Branding for your Business
Before we begin the topic of branding, let’s define it:
Branding is the idea or image of a specific product or service that consumers connect with, by identifying the name, logo, slogan, or design of the company who owns the idea or image. This process is accomplished mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.
So before you begin your marketing plan, your logo, your website or your advertising strategy, you need first to determine your business’ brand.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What is your company’s mission?
- What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
- What sets your apart from your competitors?
- Who is your target audience?
- What are some words you’d use or want others to use to describe the personality of your business? (Ex: Trustworthy, Energetic, Fun, Creative, Professional, Responsive, Determined, Dedicated, Experienced, etc).
- What impression do you want to convey when potential consumers see your company’s brand?
- How can you effectively translate that brand/impression/perception into your signage, your logo, your website and your advertising materials?
“Your brand is a set of memories that’s uncovered when people see or hear your name.” – Branding for Dummies
A Quick Example of the Power of Branding
What do you think of when you see this logo? Can you immediately identify the company from the logo? If not, you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past forty years. Most, if not all, would quickly recognize this as the Nike swoosh logo that first appeared on their footwear in 1972. And we’d also likely subconsciously remember or murmur the company’s catchy slogan when we see the logo, “Just do it.”
But what qualities come to mind when you see the logo? Take a moment and choose three to five words or phrases that this logo symbolizes? “Active, Sports, Athletic, Energy, Movement, Triumph, Health, Stamina,” are some common responses.
The “JUST DO IT” slogan and Swoosh logo design campaign communicated such a strong point of view to their target market that the meaning for the logo design symbol evolved into a battle cry and the way of life for an entire generation. Incredible how a small symbol, that represents the wing of the Greek Goddess, has instilled such meaning and brand recognition.
Branding isn’t Branding without Consistency
For any company’s brand to work, it has to be seen over and over and over again. Many say that your marketing message or ads have to be seen by the consumer seven times before they take note and begin to consider making a purchase, often called the “Rule of Seven“.
Although most agree in today’s saturated marketing environment the number could be much higher, since we are bombarded with a plethora of ads on TV, radio, billboards, junk mail, email, search engines, social media, and the list goes on.
So to make a memorable impression, you have to be consistent with your branding and the message it conveys. If you are not consistent with integrating your brand through every representation of your business, (from the visual message, to your company’s voice as well as the way you interact with your customers) you are doomed to failure.
Consistently Integrate your Brand
Here are some practical ways to integrate your brand consistently:
- Your logo: It should be transferable, flexible, simple, meaningful and easy to recognize. Sound difficult? It is, so hire a professional to accomplish this. Once you’ve jumped that hurdle, use it everywhere!
- Your website: A well designed website should reflect your company’s personality and appeal to your target audience through its design and its content. [MORE about Effective Web Design]
- Your slogan or tagline: Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand. Again, this takes time, patience and a lot of mental energy!
- Print Ads: Create continuity with your branding on your advertising materials, from your business cards to your billboard.
- Commercial Space: Take note of how your storefront, signage and the interior design and layout of your retail, restaurant or office space conveys your branding message. [MORE about Interior & Exterior Design]
- Social Media: Through posts, tweets, pins, and blogs you can establish a consistent voice for your company that further defines your branding. Make sure that voice reflects those qualities you want others to describe your business. Be positive, engaging, informative and show you care about your customers.
- Customer Service: How you relate and work with your clients and customers will greatly affect your brand, and an aspect that is often overlooked. Your reputation has the greatest impact on your branding. So treat your customers, colleagues, employees, and vendors with respect, honesty and fairness. It’s easy, effective and best of all … it’s free.
The point is that branding extends to every aspect of your business–how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything. Through consistency, forethought and planning, you can build a brand that is profitable, trustworthy and contributes to your company’s equity.