In this reply to an Elite Members email we will look at branding … what is it … why bother with branding at all … isn’t branding just for much larger companies than SME’s etc etc.
Simone in Glasgow asks …
“I want to create a brand for my business but I don’t know how to go about it. Do I simply just make everything look the same or do I have do more? How do I get customers to engage with my brand? I want my products to all look the same.”
Hi Simone and thank you very much for your email … its great to talk to you. Unfortunately you don’t tell me what it is you do so I can’t be very specific, but I will do my best to outline branding for you here.
What you are talking about here is creating a memorable, identifiable brand, a product or a range of products that are easily identifiable just because of the colours and logo.
But there is actually a lot more to a brand than that … your brand must create positive feelings and emotions on those customers who see it, because it is these feelings that will create a bond your customers will engage with.
But to create a true brand, you need to know who you are and what you stand for as a business. You also need to know what sort of feelings you want your customers to feel. Your brand has got to appeal to your target market. If you don’t know who your target market is, click on the link below and download our workbook and work your way through it.
Let me give you an example of why knowing your target market is so important in branding. Say for example you run a budget supermarket that sells only budget DIY gear for example and your USP or “unique selling proportion” is all about being very low cost, you may well have as your logo as a pound sign being crushed and the other branding to leave your prospect in no doubt that yours is a very cheap store. The emphasis on that branding is low cost.
Now consider a luxury chocolate maker who makes their chocolate by hand, only uses the finest ingredients, offers a very small, beautifully wrapped box with only 4 chocolates in it for £10.
Because we are all so different and we want different things from our purchases, there is a place for both on the shelves, but you would not possibly brand those 2 products in the same way would you because you want to elicit certain feelings and emotions from your target audience?
So you need to know why your target market chooses you and what your product means to them, and what value they place on your goods or services. In other words, you need to know why you stand out from the crowd and why people buy from you, and not the competition.
Without knowing this your branding success is luck at best.
One of the biggest reasons businesses fail to be truly successful is that they never take the time to determine what makes them special. Why should people buy from them in the first place? What is the real reason they are in business? Instead, these businesses market themselves based on a hunch and a hope, with a touch of planning in between.
Your branding must:
- Address the needs of your target market
- Be clear and not try and represent too many things
- Be memorable
- Connect with your buyers emotionally
- Speak emotionally to your prospects
- Be simple
Decent branding is essential, especially if you are competing in a crowded market place. If you’re up against a large number of competitors, you need an especially strong brand to cut through the noise. On the other hand, even if your business is the only game in town, you still need to create a brand that speaks to your audience.
It’s not only about battling the competition, but also establishing your brand in the minds of your customers.
The first step to making a brand that will endure is to understand your target market. Do your own customer research and create your target avatar as discussed a little earlier. Do download the workbook and work your way through that because no business is suitable for every customer and knowing who your target customer is is essential to ensure your brand attracts the
right sort of customer for your business. Once you know who it is your are trying to attract, then you need to clarify what your company or business actually stands for. What do you want your prospects and customer to feel when they look at your business? Is it energy? Is it maturity? It is youth? If it reliability? Is it strict professionalism or is it a little fun?
No matter what it is, it has got to be relevant to your target market. For example, a lawyer who specialises in murder trials wouldn’t have a jokey type of font logo or branding, where as a childrens play park would.
After you have thought about who your target customer is and what you as a company actually stands for, now you can start to design your logo, which is really your calling card. As soon as people see your logo they will have a feeling about your company or business through it. That is the power of a logo.
There are 4 main types of logo; a text logo like Google, and image logo like McDonalds, an abstract symbol like the Nike swoosh, and a combination of those.
When creating your logo, be careful of the colours you use as colours create images in peoples minds. Here’s what I mean … If i got your new born baby a blue bib, what sex is your baby?
Do your own research to find out what colours mean and ensure the colours you choose match the feelings you’re are trying to convey to your prospects. You can also have a look round at your competitors and see what they are doing, but do remember the whole point of your branding is to distance yourself from them and make yourself stand out.
Anyone that knows me will know I cant stand it when all businesses in any field all look the same, with the same look and feel to their leaflets, pamphlets, websites etc. Why should your customers choose you if you look, talk, act and feel the same as every other company who does what you do?
OK … once you have your logo and branding together it is so important you use it consistently across all of your materials so that your customers get used to seeing everything presented in the same way. Now you have gone to the expense in both time and money of creating your brand, the last thing you want is to have it presented in a disjointed fashion as this will just look messy and confused.
As an SME business owner you need to have a strong vision for your brand and come up with strategies for achieving that vision. You are the brand’s owner, not just a helper, and you must be able to stay on track working toward the attainment of your vision, and one of your main roles is to constantly come up with ideas for furthering the brand.