Brand or Be Branded

Branding is much more than “making it look pretty”

branding differentiation.jpg

We have come across this viewpoint that branding is unnecessary and that it is “nice to have” and just “makes things look pretty”. This could not be more wrong. Whether you like it or not you have a brand because, to put it simply, branding is just differentiation. It is what distinguishes your company from other companies. Your brand needs to reflect what your company stands for and what principles you will follow into the future.

You may know “who you are” but if you don’t take the time to brand your company, other people will do it for you. You don’t want to be “that skincare company that is trying to be like {well-known brand} but not as good” or “the product is really great, but I can’t remember the name, starts with a ‘y’ I think?” or “that cream that smells like cough syrup”. These are things that we all say when we talk about products, companies and places. We have also said things like “ you have to go there, the food is amazing!” and “that cream changed my skin, it is so great!” Differentiation can be good, bad, on purpose and by accident. 

When you are figuring out your branding, you are also looking at your product or service and putting it through the wringer as well. Is your product good enough? Is your service really delivering what it is promising? All these things together: your product, service, message, position, viewpoint, purpose and vision all tie together to form what makes you different — and that is your brand. 

After you have that established, you need to visually represent it. This is where you might need some help. How do you take all those conceptual things and turn them into a logo, packaging, website, flyer, signage, etc.? It’s a tough job, but when it’s done right you have everything you need to push forward as a company. There is no question on what font you are using, what the image should look like or what color the box should be. Your branding is established and it is the bedrock of your business. Now you just focus on building and growing. 

Hopefully that helped convince you that branding is more than just “making it look pretty”.

If you need help with your company’s branding call us at (727) 303-0387 for a FREE branding consultation. 

Brand or Be Branded Part 2

Branding and Integrity

brand or be branded part 2

First of all what is integrity and what is branding? 

Integrity is defined by the Oxford American Dictionary as: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.

Branding is defined in that same dictionary as: the promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design.

There is actually a great deal more that could be added to that definition of branding which falls into the area of storytelling. Every brand tells a story by way of its message,  the people who shop there, and what kind of experience those customers receive. This is all in addition to how the brand is presented visually in a logo, website or marketing piece. All these factors tell a story.

Now, what does branding have to do with integrity? You hear about companies running into this situation: they say one thing and then do the opposite, the public finds out and then the outrage occurs! So how can you avoid this, especially if you are a small business and still trying to figure out everything all at once?

First figure out your story. This is your branding. Figure out what you stand for and believe in. Is it great customer service? Is it the best quality? Is it all natural ingredients? Really decide, because this isn't just something you write on your next advertisement to make people feel good, you are making them a promise. If you say “all natural ingredients” and your product is then found out to contain GMOs…well, let's just say outrage is headed your way. Sound familiar?

Integrity and Branding is something that is even more important to our "do-gooder" clients. They have double the promises to keep. They are delivering a great product AND giving back to the community. So make sure that whatever do-good activity you decide to get involved in, you keep your promise and help that activity. Then make it known that you are doing it! This is important for three reasons:

1. It brings value and loyalty to your company

2. It brings awareness to the cause that you are helping

3. It sets a good example for other businesses to do the same!

So your exercise for this week:

Look over the story you are telling about your company and the promises you are making to the public. Then be really honest with yourself about it, and make sure that you are delivering on all those points. 

Brand or be Branded - Part 1

We have all done it, branded businesses without even knowing that we are doing it: "That coffee shop with that rude waitress" "Oh I hate going in that store, it takes FOREVER!". All of us have also been like little evangelists for certain businesses without even knowing it: "Thanks! My glasses are from Warby Parker - they are sooo cool - for every pair of glasses you buy they donate a pair to someone in need!!!". So, how can you make sure you are on the positive side of this?

First of all, what is branding? Is it:

  • A logo?
  • The colors and fonts you use on your marketing?
  • The way your employees look?
  • The way you do business with your customers?
  • The personality of your business?
  • Who you service?
  • What you guarantee or what you promise?
  • Overall experience your customers have? 

Well, it is ALL OF THE ABOVE AND MORE! Most business people think that branding is just your look or your logo. Wrong!  It encompasses your purpose and what you are trying to accomplish as a business. If you do not know your brand, you are in big trouble! If you don't brand your company your customers will, whether you like it or not. So brand first or be branded later! Unless you figured this all out right from the start, you are probably already too late, but that doesn't mean you can't fix it!

A proper branding exercise will allow you to create a great marketing strategy. It will:

  • Rehabilitate your purpose as a business owner.
  • Help you train your employees.
  • Make it clear about what is right and wrong for your business, saving you time and money

So take a look at your business and all the points above. What do you need to work on? Getting those points in will put you on the road to a better brand. We will be doing more parts to this series that will give you tips and exercises about creating your brand. So stay tuned!