By James Birch
Branding may be something you have read about and come across as you create and expand your business. You may however, be left wondering what exactly it is, why you need to bother creating a brand and, more importantly, how you go about creating one. The good news is that you can start to create the brand around your business yourself, but experts suggest that at some point you will need the input of professionals to give it a final polish.
In the meantime, before you do anything further, whether that is ordering a batch of leaflets or designing banner stands, take a look at the factors to consider in creating a brand.
#1 Understanding “brand”
This is not a new concept in marketing but it is often misunderstood. Your brand is what your customers will think of when they hear your business name. It is everything they think they know about your product or service. It is factual – the color of your logo, packaging etc. – but it is also an emotional response – quality, romance, etc. A brand is in someone’s mind as opposed to your product or name, which is fixed. As you develop your brand, ask yourself questions such as how do you want someone to feel when they buy from you and so on.
#2 Your target market
The easiest way to illustrate this is the publishing market. An author writes books, but they will have a certain genre or style. Children’s books are not written the same as adult horror. The people who will buy them are also different.
Customer demographics are important. Who are your customers? Are they male or female, or both? How do they act? What do they like and value?
#3 Take a look at your competitors
Remember, you are looking at the whole package. What is their logo like? What colors are they using? How do they differ from you and from other competitors in the marketplace?
The important thing to note is copying a competitor will not stand you in good stead. You need to create a sense of being, a unique brand for your own business.
In your business plan, you will no doubt have created a unique selling point (USP) – in other words, why people will buy from you?
You are expanding this train of thought into your brand and setting out your stall, so to speak, of what makes your brand unique. Find a way to make your business stand out – is it down to quality or is it price, for example?
This is a factor that most people have loads of fun with – if your brand was a person, who would they be?
Would they be a young female with skinny fit jeans and an eye for fashion? Or are they a business owner who travels the globe?
How would they appeal to your customer? Is this the right persona? Remember your brand should be about creating the right impression.
#6 Spread your brand across your business
Often, small businesses will start of the journey of creating a brand but stop short of pushing it forward across the entirety of the business.
It can be something as simple branding colors and promotional content on your banner stands, to the language used in marketing emails falling short of what your customers would expect.
#7 Get professional help
Big business spends in eye-watering amount of their brands, which for many small to mid-sized businesses is simply out of the question.
You can do a vast amount of the branding process yourself, but there comes a time when you will need professional help to make sure that your brand is sealed across the whole of your business.
This professional help will come in many forms, from a business mentor or adviser to a graphic designer who creates promotional materials. It will also be the web designer who creates your website and so on.
Now you have your brand, what next?
The thing with branding is that some businesses, once they have created it, assume that the hard work is done and that magically, it goes to work on their behalf.
The truth is everyone in the business needs to be on board with it. Employees also need to understand the brand and why it is important. This is why ensuring that everyone has a hand in creating it is important.
Your customers will notice the difference as they are able to relate to the brand and understand why they buy from you and not your competitor.
James Birch is the director of Colour Graphics, which specializes in producing print material used for marketing purposes. The company has been running for over 10 years and continues to make use of the latest technological printing machinery available today to help businesses with their branding.