Branding – That Buzzword is Everywhere.
Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. But what exactly does “branding” mean? How does it affect a business like yours? Your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.
First, Understand and Build Your Brand.
What is your vision?
Understand and target your audience.
Know your competition.
Develop your differentiated message.
Bring your brand to life.
Start From the Top – Your Logo.
The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, corporate, promotional materials, signage… everything should embody and reinforce your brand. It’s one thing to have a logo, it’s another to have a strong and effective logo.
1. Look Professional – Consumers expect professionalism and quality. Your logo is a reflection of your business. If it looks and feels cheap, your target market will perceive that. If you offer a great product or service, then your brand should bring that out.
2. Logo Performs Effectively – Is your logo bold, clear and legible? Do the colours pop or blend in? Is the type legible from far and in small instances? Does it look sharp at all reproductions or is it fuzzy and low quality?
3. Is Your Logo Contemporary and Relevant – Great design will feel relevant without being too trendy. The strongest logos will stand the test of time. Even the biggest and most established brands refresh to stay up to date.
4. Excitement & Energy – Your brand should make you proud and excited. When you see your brand presence, it should energize and be a rally cry to why you are doing business in the first place.
Your First Line of Impression – Your Initial Brand Touchpoints.
Now that you have a strong brand promise and logo/brandmark/name – it’s time to look at your first line of impression, your initial touchpoints. Where are your customers first coming into contact with you? Face to face, retail, online research? At every step of the customer impression, your brand needs to be present, clear and focused. Messaging may vary depending on the purpose of the communication piece, but it should always reflect the voice of the brand.
B2B – how are your communicating with businesses? Email, web, sales kits, brochures, sales calls, business cards. All your materials need to be in tip top shape.
Retail/Location – Your products, packaging, signage, posters, advertising, online presence… again, every impression leaves an impression.
Strong Design and Communication is Paramount.
Brand consistency is key to building brand awareness. Each communication piece needs to be strong, professional and savvy to your brand attitude. Consumers are the decision makers, and they expect everything to be great. Ensure your brand is coherent and unified.
Time To Stretch Your Legs.
Your brand is solid. Your foundation is built. Now you can look at the breadth of your brand touchpoints and ensure that every opportunity is being used effectively.
1. Pick Brand Touchpoints In Order of Importance. Everyone has a budget, so rank in order of needs from essential to wish list.
2. Pick the Best Touchpoints that Make Sense. Knowing where your target lives is of utmost importance. Pick strategies and media that make sense and work best for your demographic. Reassess ones that are wasting your valuable marketing budget. Try new options.
3. Build Momentum and Show Up Everywhere (You Can). A strong brand isn’t built overnight. Sometimes the first impression doesn’t make a transaction. Start talking to your demographic in more ways than one. Leave that impression in their brain. There are so many ways, media options and marketing/advertising tactics these days. Build a plan and move ahead. Sometimes the most mundane or simple transaction can be turned into a memorable experience.
At every step of the way – make sure your brand is king.