Having a new or cutting-edge product line is only part of what attracts customers. Unique branding makes businesses memorable.
A brand with personality is one that customers will remember in the long run. If you don't give your company some character, it can easily get lost in the fray. Your local customer base may remain loyal, but you’ll have little chance of growing your business if it doesn’t resonate on a grander scale.
Follow these nine secrets of successful branding to help set your company apart from the crowd.
Secret #1: What’s in a Name?
Naming your business is an important step in establishing a corporate identity. It’s the first tidbit of information you’ll give your customers, so make sure it coincides with what you do.
Brainstorm ideas or seek outside help to pick the catchiest, most creative name possible. Your goal is to draw customers in from the get-go: What better way to do this than by choosing a name that “pops”?
Secret #2: Your Mission (Should You Choose to Accept It)
What’s the one thing you want your customers to know about your business? The answer to this question should be summed up in your mission statement. Part of branding your business is putting into words what your ultimate goal is.
Once you narrow it down, customers will come to expect it. This is a great way to differentiate your business from the competition, because no one else is going to have the exact same goal.
Secret #3: Image-ine Success
Creating a unique logo can give your business an instant edge.
Think outside the box when you deciding how your logo should look. Unique designs are definitely worth taking into consideration; just make sure the graphic you choose isn’t misleading.
Your logo should always represent your business. Remember that colors and shapes can also tell a story. Contact a logo or graphic designer to help you come up with ideas that really say something about your business.
Secret #4: Tag, You’re It!
A tagline is another way you can define your business without being long-winded. This catchy phrase or sentence should support what your business does or stands for. Just make sure the one you use isn’t copyrighted.
Taglines should be short and sweet, so make sure you don’t get carried away with the verbiage. And don't rely on the tagline to tell everything about your business. Your company's name should represent what you're all about.
Secret #5: Dream in Technicolor
Currently, businesses are capitalizing on color-association (think Target’s bright red logo or UPS' "What can Brown do you for?" tagline). This is a very effective way to be easily identifiable to your consumer base.
Just make sure not to choose any old color. Try to define what kinds of feelings or thoughts are usually evoked by particular colors. For example, green is now the ubiquitous color for eco-friendly products and businesses.
Once you choose the color that works with your business model, start incorporating it in all that you do. Your ads, logo, business cards and letterheads should all reflect the color scheme.
Secret #6: About (Type)Face
Typography is a fundamental piece of your visual representation. Choose fonts that suit your company’s style and keep them consistent across all your collateral. A unique set of fonts will quickly become associated with your business, just like your logo and color scheme. Sticking with your selections will go a long way toward reinforcing recognition of your brand.
Secret #7: Surf the ‘Net
Your Web site is where you’ll start associating the visual elements of your brand with the behavioral elements of your corporate culture. In addition to site design, consider ways you can let your company’s personality shine through. A blog, for example, is a great way to give your brand a voice and bring another dimension to your business persona.
Secret #8: Show, Don’t Tell
As you continue your branding and marketing efforts, make sure you can back up any and all promises you make. Under-promising and over-delivering is a great way to operate because it helps build your reputation as a reliable company.
Secret #9: Add Shine to Boost Your Bottom Line
Times change, and so do people’s shopping habits. It pays to keep an eye on consumer trends and consider updating your image if need be. If you’re just starting out, you’re probably good to go for a few years. If not, a little polish might breathe new life into your brand.
If you’re happy with your current look, consider rebranding with brighter colors and an updated logo. A graphic designer will likely be able to parlay your existing theme into a modernized design.
Above all, the secret to successful branding is staying fresh and up-to-date. The occasional image revamp will go a long way toward keeping you in the forefront of consumers’ minds and poised for growth.