7 Small Steps that Can Help You Create a Big Impact on Your Brand

Establishing your brand isn’t about creating the best logo or coming up with the catchiest slogan, though they are important too. The brand of a business is essentially the image it has, for you, for your employees and business associates and for your customers.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

If you think building a brand is only for the ‘big’ businesses, you are mistaken. It is equally, if not more, important that a small business carves an identity for itself in today’s competitive market.

However, that doesn’t mean you have to put in loads of money into it. Fancy things can get you customers initially. But if you fail to identify your goals, understand your customers, and deliver the right experience, it wouldn’t hold good for long.

Let’s try to find ways that can help you create a distinct image for your business.

Understand your brand

If you try to be a ‘Jack of all trades’, you would end up to be a ‘master of none’. Don’t do it. Instead, focus on something you are really good at. Make it the core of your business.

The visual image is just an element of your brand. Focus on what you do, how you do it, what message you convey, what experience you provide and so on. Every little thing that makes up the customer experience counts when it comes to brand essence.

Focus on quality

Your products and services are what make the customers come to you. You may put up a great store or design an attractive online shop and customers may visit it for the first time. And even buy from you.

However, they would come back, or recommend you to a friend, only if they are satisfied with the products or services you delivered. If the products aren’t great or the services aren’t superb, they wouldn’t even bother to visit you a second time.

Know what you do best

Every good brand makes a promise it keeps. For example, Subway stands out for its ‘Eat Fresh’ tagline. It conveys their promise- of delivering fresh food. You need to know what you excel at and transform it into your brand promise.

The only way to be in focus is to specialize in what you do. Whether you offer a specific type or product or service for customers, make sure you are the best in what you do and how you do it. This speeds up the brand establishment process.

Identify target customers

You cannot serve everyone. Every business has a target customer. For example, if you have a small business selling children’s books and toys, your target customers are families, especially parents.

After you have identified the target customers, include them in your online and offline network. Converse when they visit your store, share information and photos on Facebook, organize fun contests – create a dialogue between them and your business.

Be honest and reliable

You make a promise when you create your brand slogan. You increase your customers’ expectations. If you fail to deliver what you promise, you would lose the trust and credibility.

Make sure you keep your promises. Whether you have promised to deliver an order within a day or finish a job within a week, make sure you do it. Unfeasible promises may give you some business initially; but they won’t provide long-term sustenance.

Create a visual identity

Well, the name and logo of your business does matter when it comes to establishing your brand. Get them right; you may change it later, but that would be costly. Moreover, it would also affect the image of your business.

Before you decide on a name, make sure it reflects the nature of your business and resonates with your customers. If possible, appoint an expert to create your business logo and slogan to add the right touch of professionalism.

Ensure a great experience

What matters most for your business is how you treat your customers. And it isn’t about how ‘you’ treat customers. It’s about how everyone involved in your business treats customers at every level.

Do they have pleasant, helpful assistance at your shop? Or do they meet someone sullen? Do you have people to receive calls or is it automated? Make sure the experience is the same throughout your business.

Little things contribute to create the big experience; and it is these little things that matter when it comes to creating your brand. With adequate attention to these details, it is possible to create a distinctive image of your business for all.

About the Author: Evans is a content marketer and blogger. He is currently working for a leading UK based organization GasStorageDepot that offers free delivery of its products to UK Mainland.

Dual-Action Branding: 5 Branding Materials That Do Double Duty!

It is common to think brands can be boiled down to color schemes and logos. But, they are so much more. Your brand is your business. It is your public face. It is your constant relationship builder. It communicates who you are, what you do and what you stand for.

branded pen
photo credit: TheSeafarer

Most likely, you have spent a lot of time, energy and money developing a strong brand. Why? Because it is the message you want to communicate with clients and prospects.

While you certainly want to use this branding as the foundation for designing and decorating your business’ location, website and graphics, why stop there? By incorporating your brand into all of your business’ materials, you can maximize your return on investment (ROI). This is especially true when you utilize branded materials.

What are Branded Materials?

Branded materials are any item (physical or digital) which is decorated with your company logo (aka branding stamp). While some of these, such as a sign above your door, simply mark your location, others are products your business uses on a regular basis.

By branding products you, your employees, and your customers will use anyways, you can:

  • Instantly create additional advertising for your business
  • Enjoy lower costs for materials (when you buy in bulk)
  • Develop brand recognition among consumers
  • Foster strong customer relationships linked closely to your brand

Brand Products that do Double Duty

Business cards are wonderful, and stationery is great. Both of these necessary business items should be branded. But, both of these items really only serve one purpose – sending/handing to a client or prospect.

These five branded materials provide more than one function for your business:

1. Pens

No matter how techy your business is, it’s nearly impossible to function without pens. Sometimes, you just need to write things down on real paper. Whether you and your employees are in the office or on the go, branded pens are a great way to continue sharing your message. They also make great, lasting, leave-behinds as people are likely to keep using them for some time.

2. Coasters

Coasters are one of those small, branded touches which help your business continue to communicate its brand while also keeping your space clean.

3. Cups, Mugs and To-Go Coffee Cups

Nearly everyone drinks coffee or some sort of warm beverage. Cups, mugs and to-go coffee cups are an excellent way to keep your brand visibly in your employees’ hands at all times.

4. iPhone Cases

Even though pens are a necessity, the digital, smartphone age is taking over. Going somewhere without your handheld device is often compared to walking around in your birthday suit. Supplying your employees with an attractively branded iPhone case will help you stay front and center. (Added love goes to the boss who also supplies their employees with an iPhone.)

5. Printed Shade Cloths

Shade cloths help control dust and debris in a variety of situations such as construction sites, large events and outdoor lunch gatherings. They can be attached to fending, scaffolding and buildings. While plain shade cloths can be attained, branded shade cloths maximize your business’ exposure and give it a professional look and feel.

About the Author: Nicole is a branding and marketing expert, and has been helping businesses brand their companies for years. In her experience, Site Shade offers the best printed shades she could find.

Brand Strategy: What It Is and Why Your Business Can’t Afford to Go Without One

Simply defined, brand strategy entails everything that goes into communicating and delivering your brand and your company’s message. Two things go into strong branding: consistency and strategy. Think about Sprite versus lemon-lime soda. Because people are exposed more to the brand, Sprite, they find it intrinsically more valuable. Other ways to build value into your brand is by associating some emotion or persons with the brand. For example, makeup ads regularly use actresses to advertise their products. So how do you develop a brand strategy? Where do you even start?

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

Answer Some Basic Questions

Before you start figuring out how to represent your brand or how to market your brand, you have to determine what your company stands for. How do the services and features of your products appeal to or benefit your prospective clients? You need to determine how you are unique from your competitors, because that will be an important consideration in how you sell yourself. What do customers already think of your business? How does what customers believe relate to what you want them to think of your business? For example, consider the car manufacturer, KIA. At first, customers saw KIA as nothing more than an economy car. KIA responded to customer belief by launching an ad campaign that featured KIA as a car associated with a luxury lifestyle. They addressed a customer belief by shifting their ad themes.

Fabricate the Definition

Once you’ve defined your brand, your job is to put it into material form. You need a good logo and good key words that you can use as catchphrases you want associated with your brand. Even on your blog, make sure that your brand is coming through. Forbes.com uses Warby Parker’s blog tagline as an example: “Musings, inspirations, and fun stuff from your friends at Warby Parker.” The tagline shows their fun and creative spirit, which is part of their brand.

Once you have your brand keywords, teach them to your employees. Make sure they are constantly using those words in order to create a cohesive vision of what your company is. Integrate your brand into everything that your business does. Include it on what employees wear; include it on e-mails; include it on all literature created for the business. In short, make sure that your logo gets out there. A logo needs to be recognizable.

Next time you think that branding doesn’t matter if you have a good product, check out the difference between Coca-Cola’s product sales and the generic brand sitting next to it in the grocery store. It’s not enough to offer a good product or service anymore. Clients are drawn to brands they understand, relate to, and desire. Determine your mission statement and turn that into a provocative logo and appealing catchphrase. And that’s not enough. Make sure that you incorporate your brand into every single aspect of your business.

About the Author: Susan Braud writes for several online colleges that offer MBA’s. Check out Best Online MBA.net and mba rankings.net for more information.

BRAND PSYCHOLOGY: Why Psychological Factors Matter

Are you inside the mind of your potential customers? When it comes to branding, you have to be. Think of branding as a Jedi mind trick. In order to do it right, you have to know what to present and how to present it, as well as why it’ll work to get people to convert. Is it easy to do? Of course not! That’s why you need to bring on a team of experienced professionals to handle your branding, logo design or rebranding.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

Let’s say your spouse wants you to clean the garage out. You hate doing it. However, it was presented as an offer you can’t refuse. In fact, somehow you were not only convinced to clean out the garage, but sell your old “junk”, as  your spouse calls it, which has dashed your hopes of finishing that long-neglected project tucked away in the corner. How did it happen? That’s the type of magic you need to use to create a logo that will, in many cases, become your brand.

Every detail of your brand and logo design plays a role in its success or demise. That includes colors, design and naming. As your spouse likely did, sit down and plan out how to get what you want. Then, use the professionals to make it happen.

3 factors to remember about branding

There are three main components to remember when it comes to creating your brand. These are the most important factors to consider in terms of the psychological impact it will (or will not) have on your potential customer.

Set the standards

The first thing you need to do is to sit down and design brand standards for your logo design. In other words, you don’t want to walk into a local business print shop and ask them to design a logo for you. That’s not enough. You need to have a well-considered plan that outlines what this brand will do. Consider:

—     What it does and doesn’t tell the customer.
—     What is says about your company.
—     How it describes your service or product.
—     How it represents you.

Having a plan like this helps to give the designer more information about what you actually want and expect from this process.

Get your name right

You may have a company name at this point, but even if you do, reconsider it before you launch into logo design. Think about all of the combinations of your name, how it will be used and any questions it may put in the mind of the customer. What’s your tagline? How do you want people to instantly think of you? If you don’t know, don’t worry. If your budget allows, your logo design team can help you to create both.

Think color

Colors have meaning. When it comes to choosing brand colors, consider the following:

—      Yellows engender optimism.
—      Blues are great for gaining trust and are seen as dependable and strong
—      Reds are excitement inducers, bold and youthful.
—      Purples are seen as creative, wise and imaginative.
—      Pinks are friendly, confident and cheerful.
—      Green conjures thoughts of health, growth and peace.
—      Light colors, including grays and pastels, create calm and balanced emotions.

The factor to remember here is that every component of your brand needs to communicate a message to your audience. For that Jedi mind trick to work, you have to think about the psychological aspects of your brand’s design. That’s why having experts can help.