Branding seen as an adventure is actually quite fun! The reason is that, until you end up with your brand you will go through many different steps. The bad brand, the ok brand and the awesome brand. It is important not to stop at the “bad” and “ok” brands since it is a core aspect of any emerging or established business. An effective / awesome brand strategy will differentiate your business from your competitors and, additionally, will serve as a source of promise to consumers/clients.
However, before embarking on this adventure, you need to understand what exactly branding means. How does it affect your business? What is your brand saying to the marketplace you operate? Let’s see how a branding adventure becomes awesome.
Firstly, you always need to keep in mind that branding is your identity and image in the business world. A corporate image can either have a negative or a positive influence on a potential client. Therefore, a negative impression can detour a potential client, just as a positive impression can drive a client to buy your product and/or services. The truth is that brands are always communicating a message. Whether it’s Nike or Coca Cola, branding is about building relationships unconsciously… It is a message sent to the subconscious part of our brains. Even the way we look is a brand!
Have you ever wondered why McDonalds has succeeded and has become the number one fast food restaurant serving burgers and fries, while at the same time, Burger King has always been following, serving the same? It’s all about their branding strategies. On the one hand, McDonalds, from the early beginning selected its most important target audience, children. From there on, the company built its branding strategy around it. On the other hand, Burger King did not select any special audience and built its’ branding strategy in a more generic manner as there was no specific direction to take.
Therefore, before designing your branding tools, take some time and clearly define your most important audience. Here, we must note that target audiences are many but only one or two are the most important for each business, and knowing this is catalytic in the targeted design of your tools. Also, it helps you keep within your marketing budget lines. Who you are should be based, to some extent, on who your target customers are as well as what they want and need you to be. You can’t be all things to all people!!
Now let’s see the most important and commonly used branding tools;
Logo. Get a great logo! This is the foundation of your brand. The first impressions are drawn by what the customers are viewing. Color is also important. You should always remember that each color on the pallet is translated differently to the brain. On that note, a few days ago, I came across an article stating that color can even influence 60 to 80 percent of a consumer’s decision, which is actually quite awesome, don’t’ you think? Place your logo everywhere. All your promotional items should carry your logo on them, which will assist you in communicating your brand with your potential clients. Also, the more people see something, the easier it is for them to remember it. “Repetition is the mother of knowledge”.
Business Cards and Stationary. Stationary depends on the field of your specialization. It can include Word and PowerPoint templates, signatures, brochure, leaflet etc. Use the same colors, logo placement, look and feel throughout. But be careful not to overdo it! All of them should point out to the fact that you’re strong, confident and that you can succeed in offering your product and/or services.
Website. A business website should be in harmony with the branding strategy as well. Therefore, it should be designed using all the brand tools described here. Furthermore, a successful website has to reflect professionalism, clarity and respect of your customers. Always remember to have your value proposition at a visible spot on your website as it will deliver your company’s message and value! Keep in mind that someone who firstly hears about you, will always go on your website! Halleluiah to the internet!
Develop a tagline. Write a meaningful and memorable statement that captures the essence of your brand. Again incorporate it to all your promotional materials.
Be consistent. I placed this point last only because it involves all the above and at the same time is the most important one to remember. If you miss this point you will miss the whole aim of your branding strategy.
So, we can clearly see that all business tools you use, speak about you and your image and they either strengthen or weaken your brand. Clients and potential ones assess your company based on these things, and while not always conscious, that costumer appraisal says a lot about your business, your objectives and your priorities. As I see it, in the branding adventure, one should be himself and be true to his brand!!
Small Tip: Make sure to get you a damn good designer! It will help a lot!