A Brief How-To on Branding

A brand is the icing on the cake, the queen of the ball, the home run king. It is the defining hallmark of a company, the icon that presents your company on grandma’s great big silver platter. And how about that Xerox (hey, can you Xerox me a copy? Or hand me a Kleenex?) Who were those people who came up with these brilliant monikers that have become just regular, everyday language that we all know what we’re talking about when we ask for one? Were they highly paid ad people or just a one woman/one man show who hit upon them accidentally?

A brand must set you apart from your competition and offer the reasons why a customer should give their business to you. This is very different from a logo or tag line/slogan that was discussed in the previous blog. A brand has the potential to have a powerful impact on your business and your pocketbook. Like Kleenex, you want the consumer to know that they can be confident in your brand so that a loyal customer base starts to build; that they can trust that buying from you is not risky business.

I have to believe that most brands are hit upon quite by accident; when during a drive home or a night of insomnia, it…that perfect word or words pops into your.

Here is some information that I hope will help you come up with that perfect, descriptive, one of a kind brand that will help you blaze a trail in the screen printing and graphics printing worlds.

In StartupNation: Open for Business, Step 9, Establishing a Brand, they introduce the concept of a “marching brand”—a consistent, immediately recognizable mental imprint that delivers a clear and compelling message. I took the liberty of shortening the following, but you can always read it in its entirety at Startup.nation.com. Please read on….

Branding consultant and author Karen Post, compares this notion to a “brain tattoo”—put there by choice, but which certainly can be removed at any time. In this step, we look at some of her recommendations and action items for establishing a super brand: 1) draft your brand DNA or essence; 2) define and relate to your target audience; 3) choose a brand name; 4) create a logo; 5) make a list of all your other touch points; 6) create a demand for your brand

Draft your Brand DNA or Essence—Purpose, Points of Difference, Personality, Promise: This is the foundation for everything you do and should guide your business, marketing, and communication decisions. But at the end of the day, you should clearly define:

Your brand purpose: a logical snapshot of what you provide the market.

  • Your brand points of difference: things that are truly distinct that your competitors can’t copy. While great customer service is important, it’s not a point of difference; many of your competitors will claim the same thing. A point of difference can include a visual symbol, story, color scheme, proprietary process or product, historic milestone, physical characteristic, or combination of several of these.
  • Your brand personality: a collection of human-like traits and adjectives that best describe your brand.
  • Your brand promise: the emotional side of your purpose. If you were a tailor, your purpose would be to make and alter clothes and your promise would be to give people confidence when their clothing fits just right.
  • Define and Relate to your Target Audience: This means understanding your audience’s age, sex, ethnicity, income, education level and locale. What motivates them to buy? How do they think? What are their hot buttons?

Choose a Brand Name: While your name is certainly not everything, it is an important piece to building a lasting brand.

Great brand names: are EMOTIONAL; stick on the brain; have personalities; have depth to tell stories and communicate with. Leaning toward the obscure and emotional can lead to very distinctive brands that the literal and descriptive can speed up the process of communicating your message to your audience.

Be original: Generic names like Computer Solutions, Performance Printing or Innovative Technologies will just make you spend more and work harder at building a brand. They don’t have legs and will likely drown in the sea of sameness. Being descriptive – as opposed to being generic – is not a bad thing for names. Given your limited budget, it can actually be a great way to go. Try to be original so your name stands out, so it means something, so you can own it, and so it will be much harder to copy. Avoid names that are hard to spell or pronounce.

 Name availability tools: BizFilings provides inexpensive solutions to check for and reserve your business name. Ask yourself, how will the market receive the name? With supporting context, will the market get it? Will it jive with your strategic positioning of the brand? Are there negative connotations or associations with the name?

Is there a magic, fool-proof method for testing names? No. In fact, sometimes too much analysis just delays decisions and defeats the whole mission of naming your brand before the next decade. I recommend that you test a little, listen a little to people you respect, listen to your gut feelings, and proceed with a choice. While the brand name is very important, a brand cannot survive on name alone. The brand name and how the brand is executed are equally vital for a successful and sustained brand life. A great brand name can serve as the anchor to your cause, a symbol to your story, a point of difference in your marketplace, a memory trigger, or just one important part of your branding arsenal.

Create a Demand for your Brand: Your product’s performance, your customer service, follow-through, and your communication add up to a brand experience. Great experiences turn your brand into a magnet for new and repeat business. Buyers will seek you out, tell their friends, and remain loyal. Your brand can make the buyer’s choice easy. That is the power of the brand.

Would love to read some “brands” that you think are great. Good luck out there!

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