I work with a lot of new business owners, start-up companies, and franchise owners. The one common thread is their desire to have immediate brand recognition. In the virtual viral world we live in, everything seems to move at the speed of light and when something doesn’t, we tend to get cranky. Brand development is not one of those “just add water” things. True brand development takes time and consistent, repeatable messaging.
By the time you open your door to your prospects and customers you have already spent a significant amount of time working on your business. You’ve designed and built [if applicable] your product and service offering, established the processes you think will be critical to your success and figured out your pricing. So, what’s left?
Branding is probably one of the most important elements of a solid marketing plan. Your brand tells your consumers who you are, what you do and sets the initial impression. Is your brand making the right impression? Is your logo and color palette telling a story? That initial impression can either drive business to your door or drive them away.
There are a few things you should think about when developing your brand:
- Focus on the BENEFITS of your products and / or service, ask yourself “What problem do we solve?”
- Know your AUDIENCE and market; ask yourself “Who are we building this product and / or service for, and where are they buying?”
- Be consistent with the use of brand COMMUNICATION elements. It’s too easy to get distracted with the myriad of options. Test-drive a few things that your audience “generally” gravitates to.
- Create desirable collateral. Be sure to include images and written CONTENT. Not everyone responds to the same material you do, so work to be inclusive. The use of video, imagery and written word will attract prospects.
- Be sure to ask your customers why they chose you and / or conduct an UNBIASED focus group.
- Focus on your STRATEGY. Don’t be easily distracted and change your logo / taglines / etc. on a whim. It takes 3 – 5 years for a brand to become a mature brand.
Once you launch your brand be true to it. For example, if you are an environmentally friendly company providing “green” products, do not show up at a client site driving a large diesel SUV.
Remember, BRANDING is:
“The process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers' mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.”
Create, develop and nurture an emotional connection with your prospects and customers. Break through the noise and stand out from the crowd!
Sonata Venture Solutions a Small Business Secret Weapon Company, as an outsourced marketing, branding and public relations company focused on small/mid-sized businesses and solo-preneurs.
The Launchbox®, a Small Business Secret Weapon Company, is a workshop designed to help business owners/ entrepreneurs grow their businesses through marketing, branding and public relations. The Launchbox provides you with the instruction and tools necessary to build your business.
Listen in every Saturday from 10am – 11am on Baltimore’s CBS Radio Station 1300AM to The Small Business Secret Weapon Hour.
About the author: Laura A. Meck. Laura, President and CEO for Sonata Venture Solutions /The Launchbox, has been helping businesses grow for over twenty years. Passionate, tenacious and driven to help others succeed best describes her work style. The Launchbox is a workshop that can be taken in person or online with support by certified instructors.