September 21, 2010 by Tom Collins 956 views21,548
Often people think a brand is a logo or maybe a business card and to insure everyone knows the “brand” we better be sure to make that logo as big as possible. Others think that “branding” is something for companies like Apple, Nike, and Pepsi. Something for big companies with deep pockets and the budgets needed to properly brand a business.
But that’s where most small to mid-size companies get it wrong. Branding is more than just a nice logo and more than just pretty pictures. Branding starts with an idea of truth about who and what you are and how you present that. It doesn’t have to be complicated or have big budgets to do effectively. It just takes someone with a vision.
Here are 5 things you need to know about “How to Brand” your company and take it to the next level!
1) Great Branding is not determined by the size of the budget.
I’ve worked on million dollar campaigns for Pepsi and pro-bono campaigns for The Salvation Army and i can tell you great branding can be done on any budget. The key to great branding to know your audience and have a message that clearly defines your unique selling point and the benefits to them. Once you have that the rest is easy. From your logo to your print campaign to your website, you can now effectively communicate a consistent and clear message across multiple mediums to create an brand message that resonates with consumers and fans. Consistency and clarity builds brands, not just throwing money at it. A brand is something you live, you can’t just talk about it. From your business card to your social media and down to your voicemail message all help to spread your brand promise to the masses.
2) Branding Isn’t Brain Surgery.
All it requires is a focused message about who you are and what you want to stand for and what your unique selling point is. And then a commitment to be consistent with that message at every level of everything you do. Your brand is a living, breathing, organism. You and the company have to live it every day and you have to keep watch and monitor it regularly through all your materials, customer service, and messaging to ensure it’s consistent and on point.
3) All Advertising Agencies are not the same!
All Advertising agencies are not the same. Some get it some don’t. Some talk the talk but can’t walk the walk. If your agency doesn’t ask who your target audience is or what your USP is then you got a problem. They need to know more than just how to make something look pretty. Creating your own brand strategy may save you lots of money, but it helps to have experienced professionals do research, concept, and define a clear brand strategy. While you might think you’re getting a great deal working with the cheaper guys, you’ll lose more in sales by not communicating the right message. It’s always worth it to spend a little more to work with a good agency that knows its stuff.
4) Brand Equity can make or break a Company.
Branding translates into bottom-line sales when done right. When you build a strong foundation and communicate a clear and consistent message to the right people at the right time good things will happen. If you think branding has no financial impact, why do consumers pay 3 times as much for a shirt at Nordstrom than at Wall-mart?
5) Branding Will Not Create Instant Results.
Branding is about awareness and awareness takes time and impressions to fully take root. Consumers need to experience your brand on many different levels and touch-points before they begin to embrace it. This can take weeks, months, and even years. It takes time for consumers to be able to see your logo or hear your name and have that translate into your brand message. Don’t be tempted to change your branding every 6 months just because sales are not going out the roof. The Apple logo didn’t mean much to people after the first 6 months either. Over time, all brands need to be “refreshed” once in a while. But never before consumers have had a chance to respond to it. Fight that urge to tinker with it. You’ll probably be sick of the logo and strategy after 3 months but remember, your customers may have not even seen it yet. So give it some time.
Great and effective branding is something everyone can do, big or small. It just takes asking the right questions. Your print campaigns, outdoor advertising, broadcast, collateral, and your website and interactive marketing all benifit from a well thoughtout, clear and consistent brand message. From Madison Avenue to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina it all works the same.