Let’s begin with what seems to be a self-evident statement: good branding is of vital importance in the growth and success of your company. Though this statement seems obvious, if you look around at the “branding” of so many companies, there are certain things that have been entirely overlooked or ignored in their branding process. Today we hope to cover some basic, general things that should be considered when considering your company image.
To stand out in the increasingly competitive modern market place, businesses need effective, well-executed branding strategies. This does not mean relying on tricks and gimmicks, but rather, developing branding that is accessible, attractive, meaningful, and memorable to your customer base. We build relationships with brands, so your image should be one that people can build that relationship with. This, of course, requires research; you must know your target audience, and what types of imagery will best connect your business with them. Remember – your audience is NOT everyone! No business is marketed for everyone. Know your business, know your niche, and build your image around that knowledge.
A Few (Vital) Rules to Remember
1 – Your company image, or brand, must fit what your company actually does. Sometimes quirky branding works for companies, but it more often backfires. The general rule is to brand your company in a way that reflects the actual products/services that you offer, making it much easier for your audience to effectively identify you, and begin to build a relationship with you.
2 – Your brand should also say something which is immediately recognized by your audience. Again, sometimes the “can you figure this out” branding model works, but not usually. One of the general rules we often give clients is quite simple – your branding should answer your customer’s first question. If people see your image and still have to ask “what do you do,” more often than not, you have already failed.
3 – Your branding must also be accessible to your audience. You do not have to choose a tired cliche to make this work! (In fact, cliche fails as often as the meaningless quirky option.) Find something which will connect your audience intimately with your brand and with your product, and then run with it.
4 – It is VITAL that you remember this final “rule”: you are not Coke. You are not Apple. You are not Toyota. These large companies have a brand recognition level that most of our small to mid-sized companies could never even dream of, and this recognition means that they get to do things which simply will not work for the rest of us. Coke, for instance, can run a long commercial about whatever they would like, stick a Coke logo at the end, and the branding has worked. This type of “content-free” branding will not work for the rest of us. So as you are zeroing in on your actual branding imagery, remember that your branding will be used to market your business, and that the primary form of marketing campaigns (for most of us) involves content. Your branding will be a huge part of the time-intensive process of building the relationship between your brand and your consumers that will help your company succeed.
Now that we have covered some of the basics of business branding, our next article will look at how to incorporate your company image into the actual designs that your business will use to reach your public.