Let's start with the basics...what the heck is a brand, anyway? A brand is the enduring emotional association one has with a particular company or product - in other words, its lasting impression.
Aside from the obvious competition in the marketplace, as marketers, we have to contend with consumers who TiVo through commercials, listen to advertisement-free satellite radio, and block ads with their browsers. If you are lucky enough to garner a few precious moments of visibility, you better make them count. What can you do to get consumers to remember you?
The Solution: Burn Your Brand Into Their Consciousness
When you talk about branding, it is important to look at some of the "big guys" to illustrate how to do it well. For instance, when you think of cotton swabs, do you mistakenly refer to all brands as "Q-tips(R)?" If so, you aren't alone. Wouldn't it be great to enjoy that level of brand recognition? It won't happen overnight, but it is possible. The key is to create a cohesive image...one that employs a consistent theme, color palette, logo, tagline and image.
Branding Best Practices:
* Choose an easy-to-read font for your logo, tagline, web headers, etc. Avoid falling prey to selecting fonts that will portray your business in a less-than professional manner.
* Select a color scheme that relates well to your business niche. Do you offer environmental products? If so, consider selecting nature-inspired colors for your color scheme. When designing your web pages, be sure to pair colors that will be both pleasing to the eye, and easy-to-read.
* Don't panic if you don't have a logo. There are many affordable services available on the net, including several do-it-yourself formats. For the true do-it-yourselfers, consider adapting stock art or clipart to create your logo. Just be sure that you familiarize yourself with the usage rights before you create your masterpiece.
* Choose a name that reflects your business. If you need inspiration, make a list of the key descriptive terms for your business, and then look those words up in a dictionary or thesaurus.
* Creative = Memorable. A great example of this is Three Dog Bakery(R). TDB's website immediately conveys a sense that the company cares about pets. The principals of the company share their story about their dogs on the website; this makes them instantly relatable as people. Clever plays on words, like their "dogalog," are sure to strike a chord with avid pet owners, and that is precisely what they should do. From the lively color scheme to the whimsical graphic images, this is a site you'll remember long after you've cleared your browsing history.
Remember, a consumer must be presented with your advertising message on the average of seven times before making a purchasing decision. Don't dilute the value of your brand by being inconsistent. Instead, reinforce your image with every contact. Consistency pays dividends.