Just how important is branding, you ask?
"Branding is marketing and networking. It’s netmarking.”
― Jarod Hintz
Your brand is the image that people observe, develop, and relate to.
It connects you to your customers and prospects. The branding process, including the planning and decision process are important. These decisions have a huge impact on your future success.
Whether you have an established company or are using your book to launch a business, you will be creating this for recognition. Your company could be the next icon for your particular product or service. When you have a cut, you reach for the Band Aid® even if the bandage may be made by a different company. Think Apple computer, Dove Soap, Coca Cola. Think Jell-o®, those cool fruity gelatin desserts we grew up with.
Look around you and notice the many brands around you. What makes them so popular? What will the identifier, the icon be for your business?
Defining your brand is like a journey of self discovery. It requires that you ask these questions:
- What is your company's mission?
- What are the benefits and features of your products and services?
- What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
- What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?
Identify Your Target Market
Do your research. Learn the needs, the habits and desires of your prospective clients.
What type of customers are you trying to attract? The success of your company’s branding efforts will rely on the customers you want to attract. Trendy graphics and hip hop music may attract the younger consumer, but this type of advertising might turn off the mature customers. Cater to the interests of your potential clients.
Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or business to business.
By working through this checklist, you’ll have established a solid brand and a plan to move forward and integrate it into all of your marketing and sales efforts.
#1- Identify your business vision and mission. Your branding decisions must remain true to your vision and mission in order to provide a consistent and comprehensive image to prospects and customers.
#2- Identify colors that best represent the brand you want to portray. These colors embody the vision and mission of your business along with the message you wish to convey.
#3- Chose your brand name, business name, that is easy to remember, easy to spell, and can be registered as a domain name.
#4- Make sure you have a solid understanding of who your target audience is and understand what their needs, interests, and goals are. Be sure you know how your branding efforts influence your unique target customer.
#5- Become crystal what differentiates you from your competition. Know what value you bring to your prospects and make sure you can answer the following questions:
- How do you benefit your clients?
- Why do they like you?
- Why do they buy from you?
#6- Create a logo that conveys your brand in a way that is simple and easy to understand. Your brand colors are used in the logo and the logo should support your vision and mission.
#7- Develop a purpose for your brand that includes a statement that highlights what you provide the to your market, how your business is different, and what makes your business distinct.
#8- Create a brand personality – a statement or list of characteristics that best describe your brand. My brand personality embraces elements of your personality so that you can create a stronger connection with my audience. A stronger connection results in a stronger brand.
#9- Create a brand promise – an emotional statement that connects prospects to your brand and company. Your brand promise and message both evoke a positive emotion.
#10- Create a list, and a plan for each medium, to consistently integrate you brand into various branding opportunities and marketing efforts. These include:
- Social media profiles
- Blog name
- Email signature
- Phone message
- Networking associations
#11- Develop your tagline: Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand. “You deserve a break today” is not heard as often as it used to be but most people still remember that catchy jingle. That saying became popular before there were fast food restaurants on every corner. It was a treat for a woman to pick up dinner at McDonalds® and not have to cook. What does your company offer that can help the consumer? Your tag line should be short, easy to remember and send a message to your customer.
#12- Design templates for your marketing materials that use the same color scheme, logo placement, as well as look and feel and use it consistently.
#13- Always be true to your brand...delivering what you promise.
#14- Always be consistent.
Your Brand is WHO You Are...
it's what you represent, and what makes you and your business unique and different from your competition. Spend time creating your business brand and working through this checklist to ensure a comprehensive and clear brand – a brand your prospects won’t be able to resist.
So...we invite your feedback and questions?
What is your brand?
Why did you choose it?
What message does it convey?
What is your tagline?