Friday, August 19, 2022

Branding: It's More Than a Logo

Branding: It's More Than a Logo

Branding: It's More Than a Logo

How clear is your image in the minds of your potential customers? How can you focus that image? Defining, developing and maintaining a brand identity is the key.

The word "branding" is used frequently in the world of marketing and advertising by both marketers and customers. Often times, what is known as branding can be more accurately described as logo development or corporate identity programs at best. While a logo and corporate identity are certainly part of a brand program, they are only one piece of the puzzle. And when companies begin their branding program with the development of a logo or corporate identity package, they are getting a head start.

So what exactly is the brand? In researching for this article, I came to the conclusion that the brand is a lot like what has been said about porn: "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it."

I define a brand image as the image that appears in the mind of a member of your target market when they see, hear or think about you, your company and your service. In this sense, your logo and printed materials become the symbols that stand for all that you and your service stand for, just as the letters of the alphabet are symbols that when combined form words and sentences with a common meaning for everyone around you. they understand the language.

We often think of branding as something that only large corporations should attend to. Yet a strong brand program is just as critical for smaller companies as it is for Fortune 500 companies. And smaller companies face the challenge of building our brands without the mega resources of large corporations. So how can a company with limited resources develop an effective brand image? Here is a step-by-step guide to walk you through the process.

Step 1: Define your desired brand image. What is the image you want your target market to develop in their minds when they see, hear or think about you, your company and your service? The more clearly you can see the image, the better you can communicate it to your potential customers. Start defining your brand by answering these questions in writing:

  • What do we represent?
  • What are we passionate about?
  • How are we different from other companies that offer the same or similar products or services?
  • What are our strengths?
  • What is our specialty?
  • What are our values?
  • What do our customers value most of what we offer?
  • What are we trying to achieve?
  • What problems do we help our clients solve?
  • What do we want to be known for?
  • Do we have any "peculiarity" that we can incorporate into our brand image?

Step 2: Develop your logo. Only when you have the clear image in your own mind that you want your target market to have of you is it time to start the logo development process. And this is an area to invest in professional help. Do not use a clip art logo or download a free logo from the web. Answering the above questions in detail will make the logo development process not only more effective, but also more efficient from a cost perspective.

When developing your logo and designing your print materials, think about what lines, shapes, fonts, and colors represent the image you want your target market to develop. If you're training people to develop the leadership skills necessary to make it to the executive suite, you probably don't want to use primary colors in your logo. On the other hand, if you help people bring more joy into their lives by discovering their inner child, primary colors can be perfect. If you help people organize their lives, you don't want a cluttered business card. You will want a very clean and understated look. If you help people bring out their hidden creativity, you could use a more elegant and elaborate typographic style and incorporate flowing lines or curly tails into the design.

Step 3 – Start communicating your brand identity to your target market. Everything you say and do, from the way you answer the phone to the targeted advertising or promotional items you hand out to potential customers, should reinforce the brand image you want to develop. Use your logo and colors on everything. Develop a tagline that gets your message across and use it on all your printed materials, from your letterhead to your invoices. Your website should have the same general look and feel as your letterhead, business cards, email newsletter, brochure, and direct mail pieces. Continually look for ways to incorporate your logo, colors and tagline into everything. Be creative. i know so, resist the urge to make major changes or even tweak too much. Around the time you start to get bored with your looks, your target market is just beginning to recognize and identify with you. Consistency over time is essential. Not only does it create awareness, but it also develops credibility. In this sense we have to learn from the masters. While Coca Cola® and Betty Crocker® have updated their look many times over the last 100 years, the basic elements have remained constant.

What image develops in the minds of your target market when they see, hear, or think of you and your service? Is it blurry and out of focus and missing puzzle pieces? Is it inconsistent and constantly changing? Or is it sharp, clear and vivid colors?