Tips For Branding Your Business
What makes for great branding? I ponder this often, whenever I am out and about I love looking at different businesses; their business cards, logo, and websites to see how strong their branding is. Sometimes I am really taken back by a mom and pop with no marketing experience that just nails it. More often this is not the case, but when I see it I am blown away how someone with no experience manages to distill such a strong brand identity. But for those that don’t have this intuitive skill this post is meant to explain and share the best ways to get on the road to having a brand that promotes word of mouth and brand awareness.
Did you know that color plays a large role in someone’s psychological reaction? Take a look at my article “Understanding Color Psychology For Your Branding” to learn more.
It all starts with a name.
You can have a great business and logo, but if you have a name that isn’t good you’re off to a rough start. Sometimes owners try to be too clever, too funny in naming their business. While this sometimes works to great effect, sometimes it backfires. Your name needs to reflect your business vision as well as the clientele you are looking to draw in. Generally, you want to keep the name short, descriptive, and memorable. Using SAT vocabulary words may be good if you are trying to market to intellectuals, but won’t work to compel less educated customers. In fact, it will make them feel stupid, and hey, no one likes to feel stupid. Which brings me to the next objective…
Know your market.
This is a bit easier when you are established and have a handle on the demographics of your clients. But when you are starting a new business it can be a bit harder depending on what your product is. Research is the key here. Check out the area’s demographics and tailor your marketing to the most lucrative set of the market. Again, this really depends on what you are selling/providing. And of course, also depends on who your competition is. So…
Know your competition.
Check out their branding and what markets they seem to be going after. And if the demographic target is already flooded with competition, what can you do to set it apart? With in-depth competitive research, you can determine the path of least resistance as your competitor has most likely done a lot of the hard work for you. If you know where to look.
Elements of a strong brand:
Yes, the elusive logo. Nothing says you are serious more than a beautiful logo that encapsulates the vibe you are trying to convey. Creating a strong logo can be difficult. Simplicity is the key. Too busy and it is easily forgotten if it is too simple it is not memorable. Think of the logo greats and how they utilize their logos to attract their target markets. Chanel is simple and sleek as is Mercedes. You can see these logos in your peripheral vision and know what they are. A great logo design is made up of 3 elements; Color, Typography, and Shape. I will be going more in-depth in these elements in an upcoming blog post.
It always surprises me when I am consulting with clients how many do not have a concrete mission statement written out. Even if you tweak it over time, having a vision for your business laid out in a few paragraphs is so crucial to success. It gives you a map to navigate with. What do you offer? What is your purpose? What sets you apart? What is your brand’s tone? Goals? Target Market? These are the most important things to understand as the answers will dictate everything you do. Without these, your business is unfocused and ripe for failure.
A website, like everything else in your branding, needs to be consistent. If someone gets your business card and goes to your website the aspects like the logo, typography, and color palette should be the same. Consistency is reflective of a professional appearance. Everything in your arsenal should be tied in with the other aspects.
Brochures, business cards, the decal on your work trucks, and your advertising should all reflect the same vibe and message. You can experiment with different elements of it, say you are doing a marketing campaign aimed at a smaller sect of your demographics, you can tweak things to appeal to them, but do this without straying too far from your root brand.
In our modern world, there are so many businesses, competition has gotten fierce and we must take advantage of everything we can to gain an advantage and lure in customers. Appearance is everything, we live in an appearance oriented world as much as we may not like to admit it. For every business model that exists there are many options for a customer to go with, if you are an Italian restaurant, most likely there are several in your city. Strong branding can mean the difference between success and closing the doors on your dream forever.