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Archive for February, 2014

Branding: Consistency in Name, Image, Message, and Marketing

Branding is something that small businesses and startups often wait to do. This is a major mistake, because branding, in essence, is how people readily identify your company, what you do, and how well you do it. Although setting up your business, raising funds, and making sure you’ve got all systems in place are important, that doesn’t mean that branding should take a backseat. It needs to be addressed prior to your offering your products or services to the public. If that is not the case and you are up and running without any branding, then get to it now.

What is Branding?

Branding is the method by which you define your business or company through three basic elements: your company name, image or logo, and written communications, with the briefest such written communication being your catchphrase.

As an example, consider Apple. The name itself has implications of knowledge, innovation, and health. An Apple is the fruit of knowledge, is supposedly what hit Sir Isaac Newton on the head, giving him the idea for gravity, and it is instrumental in the famous phrase, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” These are all great connections for a company that was groundbreaking in that it’s initial focus was on making computers so easy to use that anyone could utilize their great power and potential.

Its image, the apple, has changed over the years, but overall it has remained consistent. There has always been an apple in the company’s logo, and for much of the time, it’s had a bite taken out of it. That bite tells us to feed on the knowledge, information, and tools that are associated with Apple’s products. By the way, the first Apple logo featured Sir Isaac Newton sitting under a tree reading with a highlighted apple above him, ready to hit him on the noggin.

As a company develops, catch phrases change and evolve, as do images. Some of Apple’s most successful phrases include, “Think Different,” “There’s an App for That,” “Byte into an Apple,” and “The Computer for the rest of us.”

Defining Great Branding

Great branding is, first and foremost simple. The McDonald’s Golden Arches and name, the definitive Coca-Cola cursive lettering and use of red and white, and the Google name displayed in alternating colors of blue, red, yellow, blue, green and red are all uncomplicated and, yet, definitive.

According to Interbrand, a brand consulting company owned by the Omnicom Group, in 2013, the most recognized brand, which used to be Coca-Cola, is now Apple. Coke dropped to third, while Google came in second and McDonald’s fourth.

How to Brand

Successful branding is based on two basic elements, defining what your enterprise does that makes it stand out, and, then, ably capturing the essence of your company in name, image, and text.  It’s not necessarily easy, and that’s why many people turn to advertising and branding professionals to take them through a process where they can discover exactly what their brand should be.

Adjusting Your Brand

It’s rare that a brand will remain static. The best brands do seem to offer stability in their name, and look, adjusting and refining as the company develops and evolving throughout the years. So, once you’ve found your brand and defined it, you’ll want to recognize when and how it should change, and what aspects to transfer from its last look to its next incarnation.

Making Your Company Yours

Do not relegate branding to an afterthought. It is the primary way in which you can build public recognition and trust. Great branding gives you instant recognition and evokes a positive reaction from the public. If you are falling short in your efforts to brand, consider a collaborative approach or utilizing the services of those who are professionals. Once you decide on your brand, use it everywhere, including on your website, products, brochures, business cards, and anything else associated with your company.

Remember with branding you’ll have to “think different” in order to come up with “the real thing” and “have it your way.” (Interesting, some of those phrases sound familiar, don’t they?) Brand successfully!