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Branding Basics For Small Business

Posted by: In: Advertising, branding, Logo Design, Marketing 25 Jan 2018 Comments: 0 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

     Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business whether large or small.  Your brand image is the first thing a potential customer will see.  It is your opportunity to make a great first impression.  Your company brand conveys who you are, what you do, and the quality of service your customers can expect from doing business with you.

Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room
– Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon

     A solid logo is one major part of branding.  A visual identity design isn’t “your brand,” though a brand should have a great design that is simple, clean and effective.  For a logo design to be successful it must set itself apart from the competition.  It should be bold, simple to understand, and memorable.  Everywhere a logo is used in your marketing a potential customer needs to see three important concepts:  Who you are, what you do, and the image of quality, expertise, and excellence that you aspire for.  Your logo does not contain your contact information, services, or license numbers.  The latter are key items you will include in your advertising.  Logo recognition is based on color and shape, whereas brand awareness is the extent to which a brand is recognized by potential customers, and is correctly associated with a particular product. Your logo does not need to say “LLC.”  Your logo does not need a phone number to help drive sales.  It does not need a list of services to help your next client understand what you do.  A strong, simple, and impactful logo is constructed so well, that in most cases a consumer will remember it and seek out your company’s services on their own ahead of your competition.  I will be writing about logo design itself in future articles.

     Branding is a promise of the quality and service clients can depend on from your company.  Your brand is integrated and easily understood from the inside and out.  It is important that your idea is simple and immediate.  It should be clearly understood by the people inside your organization as well as the consumers on the outside.  It is the sum of imagery, ideas, and emotion combined with the consumer’s response that form a brand.  There are three basic steps to achieve your branding goal:

  • Step 1: Define your desired brand (how would you like people to perceive you?)
  • Step 2: Evaluate your current brand (what are people’s opinions of you now?)
  • Step 3: Close the gap between your desired and current brand (decide how you are going to achieve your desired brand and then do it!)

     In BrandSimple: How the Best Brands Keep it Simple and Succeed, Allen P. Adamson describes some of the challenges we face today in a market that is saturated with brands competing to stand out from their competition.

Establishing a simple and different brand idea used to be pretty easy.   So was the  ability to sell it, literally and figuratively.  Ivory was soap.  Hershey’s was chocolate.  Maxwell house was coffee.  Proof of “baby-soft skin” was simple and different enough.  “Deep, rich flavor” was simple and different enough.  Today, with so many brands on the market, establishing a simple, differentiated meaning for a brand, something that hasn’t already been claimed, is a huge challenge.  Any coffee company can develop the technology to be good to the last drop.  What else can you promise that will get people to stop what they’re doing, listen to what you’re saying, and consider changing their brand allegiance?

     Marketing and advertising push exposure of the brand to the consumer.  This is the part that is driven by the company.  Effective marketing campaigns use multiple avenues to create brand awareness.  Advertising through social media, vehicle graphics, billboards, promotional marketing items, point-of-sale signs, locational signs, print publications, and radio are all examples of cross-platform marketing avenues.  Excellent marketing strategies make use of a combination of some or all of these ways to advertise.

     Stay tuned for future articles where I will begin to break down effective marketing campaigns that focus on these advertising types individually.  Each of them has their own strengths in increasing brand awareness and generating greater potential customer opportunities.

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