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What sets your company apart from everyone else’s? It’s the brand – and creating a better business starts with this key factor. Without a really good one, nothing sets your enterprise apart from the next one, and this won’t have customers clamoring to do business with you. Therefore, take a hard look at this aspect of your company, and figure out where any changes need to be made.
Your business’s brand is essentially your promise to your customer, according to Entrepreneur magazine, and it sets the tone for all future relations. It is what sets you apart, and it is a reflection on everyone who works for a company. With a poor one, even the best products and services could be ignored. When it comes to branding your business, be the industry standard. Let customers know exactly what they are dealing with and the quality of services they should expect.
It all starts with the logo
Not surprisingly, one of the first elements of a brand people see is the logo. That is why it is crucial to make it the best it can possibly be. The logo can make or break a company, and while it is often the first element seen, it can frequently be the last thing remembered. Think about all of the iconic logos - BMW, Coca-Cola, Nike – the list could go on for a long time, but the point is that they are all quite memorable in their simplicity. This is the ultimate goal for branding your business. Create the perfect logo so a customer can’t get it out of their head.
“Other people have to be able to speak for your brand,” said Jonah Berger, associate professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “You love your company, you think your company is great, but if you’re not around, what are people going to be able to remember? And what are they going to tell others?”
Therefore, when starting to craft a brand identity, it is best to keep it simple. The iconic logos previously mentioned all had something in common – simplicity. That is one of the major reasons as to why each one stays in your head. They manage to convey a lot about a company while not being distracting or overly ambitious. For example, Apple started with a more complex version of the logo we all know today. If you remember, it used to be rainbow-colored, and the more intricate predecessor of the plain, black or grayscale version apparent on many tech items today. Berger added that the easier it is to look over a logo, the more desirable it becomes. Apple was smart to simplify - it was less difficult to see the apple and remember with less bells and whistles. Most of the iconic logos have fewer than three colors, and this is for good reason.
To make a company really stand out over a long period of time, the logo also needs to be flexible. What this means is that a company can’t get locked in to an idea. Something that works now might not work in five years, or 10 years, and so on. Perhaps it may not even work in a shorter amount of time, and it is up to management to be able to change quickly and not let affection or ego cloud good business strategy. For example, the Apple logo speaks perfectly to this. The rainbow-colored one was great when the company was a fraction of the global giant it is today, but things change, and the bright, multi-faceted fruit doesn’t convey the same connotations that its monotone counterpart does now.
All of these elements speak to memorability. Don’t make it difficult for a customer to remember your business. Help them along, and at the same time try to convey as much as possible about what the company does. Take a simple concept and give it a small slice of spice, like when Apple decided to take a bite out of its logo.
A great brand should “help them remember that you exist and what you stand for,” added Berger - without a little variety, “it might be easier to process, but [you'd] be less likely to remember, because it looks exactly like a million things you’ve seen before.”
The best way to know if the methods you use for branding your business are working it to try them. Put a new logo out there and see what people think.
Keep your brand short, sweet, and adaptable
The concepts many businesses use for marketing change often. If your company can’t change right along with them, odds are it won’t succeed. According to Inc. magazine, the old themes of business marketing involved creating a product that has broad appeal, reaching an audience as large as possible and creating a recognizable brand name that can span multiple products. While elements of these hold true in some fashion, the marketing world is evolving, and your company should too.
Due to the growing technologies available today, it requires a different touch to brand well. The Internet and media have divided consumers into smaller categories, and it has also shortened attention spans and has turned many people into the “what have you done for me lately?” types. Therefore, the strategies you use need to be customized to appeal to very specific consumers.
Therefore, a great business brand should target a specific type of person - one that is most likely to buy your product. This brand should attempt to gain support among these consumers, which will help bring new business in. In addition, customer feedback will help define your brand in the future, setting the tone for future marketing strategies. Listen to everyone - social media can be a great way to get instant opinions.
New strategies are more narrow than the older ones, and a business really has to know who its clientele is. The best method for branding your business is to let your consumers dictate the direction. What makes your brand memorable, and what branding strategies do you want to implement in the future?
by Amy Atwood