Is branding a complicated and overwhelming topic?
It certainly can
be, as evidenced by the hundreds upon hundreds of books and seminars out there
on the topic. Not only are there endless approaches to branding, but an army of
consultants and experts eager to let you know they have an innovative way to
set your company apart.
Once you get into the details, though, the best practices
associated with branding are pretty easy to understand. You don’t have to be
the CEO of a Fortune 500 firm to grasp the principles of building and growing a
strong brand – you just have to follow a handful of common sense tips that will
lead you in the right direction.
To help you get started in that direction, today we want to
share 10 quick Branding tips every business owner or executive can live by…
#1 Don’t Treat
Branding as an Afterthought
Some businesspeople tend to think of branding as something
they’ll get to once their business is bigger, or their revenue is more stable.
The thinking tends to go that a growing company doesn’t necessarily need much
branding, given that there isn’t a lot of awareness in the market.
That point of view is a little bit backwards. Businesses
without established identities are the ones that need strong branding the most.
And, they’re the ones that should invest the most time and money into becoming
identifiable to customers. So, avoid the temptation to treat branding as an
afterthought, regardless of where your company is right now.
#2 Strive to Create a
In a rush to “create a good brand,” some entrepreneurs will
take cues from their competitors. They may feel as if they can save time or
money on a brand by borrowing from someone else, or even make it seem as if
their business is similar to another more well-known company.
Again, the desire to take shortcuts is understandable, but
it’s also shortsighted. The point of your branding efforts should be to set
your business apart, and to build a unique identity for your company. The last
thing you want is to look to be indistinguishable from others in your market or
#3 Know the Two Parts
of a Successful Brand
A lot of business people, and even experienced creative
professionals, will tell you that branding is about the image you project to
the world. That’s mostly true, but there is also another element to it:
understanding what your buyers want and communicating with them in a way that
reflects that knowledge.
In other words, your branding isn’t just about who you are,
but also what types of people make up your target market. Where those two come
together is the point at which your brand is created. It should reflect your
values and unique selling propositions, but also their unique desires and
#4 Avoid the
No business organization can be everything to everyone. And
yet, when it’s time to start planning a marketing campaign or building a brand,
some entrepreneurs and executives are afraid to leave any customers out.
All the biggest brands – the well-known providers of quality
autos, clothing, or grocery items – have been successful because they have
carved out niche audiences (even if those niches are large ones). Follow their
example and figure out what you have to offer, and who it's right for. Don’t
try to be everything to everyone.
#5 Think Big When
Imagining Your Branding
Somewhere along the line, branding got tied up with logos
and other visuals. These are important parts of a brand, of course, but they
don’t make up the totality of your public image.
Your visual identity, along with your website, company
mottos or taglines, photos, and even customer service policies all make up your
brand. So, if you’re looking to establish or re-establish yourself in the
market, don’t settle for simply creating a new logo and adding it to your
materials. Your brand is so much bigger than that.
#6 Be Consistent in
Your Visuals and Messaging
If knowing your company, customers, and place in the market
is important to envisioning your brand, and being consistent in the way you
communicate is the key to reinforcing it.
Once you’ve taken our advice and lay the groundwork for a
brand that can set your business apart and help you grow, then be sure you make
it easy for customers to see all of that effort reflected in your ads, emails,
blog posts, and print marketing. Stick to the colors, themes, and ideas you
want associated with your company. Over time, they’ll sink into buyers’ minds
and establish your company’s personality.
#7 Keep a Branding
Guide for Your Company
One way to ensure you’re being consistent with your branding
is to keep a style guide for your company. This would outline specific visuals
and fonts that are to be used in your marketing, as well as preferences for all
business communications (when and how to use industry jargon and
Your branding guide doesn’t have to be complicated, and it
can to remind you of the tone you want to convey to the public. Additionally,
it can be very helpful to new employees, outside vendors, and others who may
need to create internal or external marketing pieces on your behalf. Most of
all, it helps you to stay consistent and on-message with your communications.
#8 Protect Your Image
Earlier, we advised you to do the work and brainstorming
needed to create a brand that’s unique. There just aren’t any shortcuts to
success. Some of your competitors may try to take them, though, and use or
alter your branding in ways that are less than honest.
There are legal steps you can take to protect your brand,
like using copyrights and trademarks for proprietary items. In a day-to-day
sense, though, it means you should occasionally check to see that none of your
competitors are trying to get away with using your content or visuals. Modern
tools make it easy to crawl the web for duplicate material, and the practice of
stealing from other businesses is more common than you might think.
#9 Grow and Evolve
Your Brand Over Time
Your brand needs to be consistent, but that doesn’t
necessarily mean it has to stay locked into its current form forever. In fact,
as your company grows and evolves, your branding should change right along with
You can manage this process by periodically reviewing your
branding elements. Additionally, you can look over the style guide you put in
place and ask yourself whether anything needs to be added or updated. Most of
all, though, you should meet with a creative team once every few years and ensure
that the branding you have in place to reflects your values, mission, and
#10 Remember Your
Strongest Branding Ingredient
From the customer’s point of view, your brand is essentially
comprised of how people feel about you. You can shape that with your visuals
and communications, but in the end, a lot of impressions are going to be driven
by the service and value you provide.
The strongest ingredient in your brand is the level of
satisfaction customers, employees, and colleagues get from dealing with you.
When your interactions with others are positive, it benefits your brand in
numerous ways. If buyers are unimpressed or feel like they’ve been taken
advantage of, no sleek logo or consistency in your website or emails can fix
Ready to Build a
Valuable and Enduring Brand for Your Business?
In a perfect world, building a strong brand would be as easy
as combining the right visuals and advertising pieces together until you could
have something that jumped off a computer screen. In reality, creating your
brand takes research, discovery, creativity, and usually some back-and-fourth
All of this gets a lot easier – and yields better results –
when you have an experienced team of creative professionals who can help guide
you through the various steps along the way. Then, you can get to the answers
you need quickly, while carving out a unique space in the market and avoiding
common branding pitfalls.
If you’re ready to build a strong identity for your company,
and want to work with Arizona’s best, call the creative team at Kinetik IT.
We’ll be happy to set up a free consultation for you and show you just how we