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You’ve heard the term thrown around once or twice and it sounds pretty important. You keep hearing people say that these days, you need “brand recognition” to stand out among the competition. You need to “brand” your company if you want to see any kind of success.
Both of those statements are true.
If you want to stand out and be seen as an authority in your industry, branding your company can help you do it.
Is it necessary?
If you’re looking take your small or medium-size business (SMB) to the next level, most definitely.
So what does it mean to “brand” your company and what are the benefits?
What Is Branding?
The American Marketing Association defines branding as “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” Branding is essentially the idea or image that people have of your products and services, as well as the feelings that consumers develop toward your company, products, and services. The logo, colors, and tone you use in your copy will all contribute to your brand identity and brand voice.
When you think of your favorite brand what comes to mind?
Comfort, security, excitement, financial abundance?
Whatever you feel about that company was most likely the result of branding.
Branding tells your prospects and customers what to expect from your products and services, according to Entrepreneur. Your brand should incorporate who you are, who you want to be, and how your target audience perceives you.
Are you the low-cost, high-value option, or the high-quality, high-cost option?
For example, you can either be a Chevy (low-cost, high quality) or a Porsche (high-end, high-quality). You can either be a Four Seasons or you can be a Motel 6.
You can’t be both.
So think about how you want to position yourself and how you want your audience to see you. What kind of feelings and emotions do you want your brand to evoke?
Why is Branding Important?
Branding helps businesses shape how consumers see their company, products, and/or services. It also helps with:
- Bringing in New Customers. With a good branding strategy (and proper implementation) you should have no trouble bringing in new business. If you notice that your brand is making a positive impact with your target customers, you should be able to sell to them in the future with ease because they’re familiar with you and your company now.
- Creating a Sense of Trust With Consumers. Branding helps you create trust with an audience because it helps you give off the impression that you’re a professional in your industry and experts make people feel better, safer. When people feel safe and that they can trust you to solve whatever problem they might have, they’re more likely to make a purchase.
- Increasing Overall Value of Your Business. The more recognized a business is, the more perceived value it has, which can help when you’re trying to bring in new business. When your brand has been strongly established it can help give you more leverage in your industry if, for example, you’re looking for investments to help expand your company once you really start to see growth.
What Goes Into a Brand?
A few things make up a company brand. Those things include:
- A Company Name
- A Logo
- Color and Design Schemes
- A Slogan
A company’s brand could even include sound that might be developed to represent implicit ideas and values, as well as personality (in some cases).
Think T-Mobile’s chime (“do-dum”), the Folgers jingle (“The best part of waking up…is Folgers in your cup”), or the Farmer’s Insurance tune (“We are Farmers! Bum ba dum bum bum bum bum.”)
You get the point.
Once your customers can identify your brand with just a sound or a color scheme or a symbol, you know you’ve done a bang up job branding your company. You can pat yourself on the back ’cause branding ain’t easy.
A lot of companies struggle with creating a compelling brand identity that their target customers respond positively to.
Not that it’s impossible. It’s definitely feasible.
Especially with the help of the tips I’m about to share with you.
So let’s get to it. Here’s how you can brand your company in just six steps.
How to Brand Your Company In Six Steps
1. Define Your Brand.
Define your company brand by writing a mission statement, and highlighting the benefits and features of your products and services. Also, detail what your customers and prospects currently think of your company. Write down what qualities you want them to associate with your business.
2. Create a Company Logo.
Come up with a company logo or hire a company to create one for you. Using sites like Canva, you can create your own logo for free using a predesigned template. The best part is that you can create hundreds of other marketing projects using the same platform, making it easy to keep everything on-brand with your logo.
3. Create a Brand Voice.
Create a brand voice that conveys the tone you want to convey and what you want your brand to sound like. If you had to describe your brand voice using personality traits, what would they be? For example, would your brand voice be described as “passionate” or “quirky.” To help you figure out how to approach creating your brand voice, CoSchedule has put together a nice article on the topic that shows you how to create a voice brand chart. You can read it here.
4. Come Up With a Tagline.
Brainstorm some ideas for a tagline. Your tagline should say something about who you are or what you do. It should be something that’s short and sweet and it should be in line with your brand voice. Some of the best taglines are Nike’s “Just do it,” McDonald’s’ “I’m lovin’ it,” and Verizon’s “Can you hear me now?” Each of these taglines exemplifies what each respective company does or represents.
“Just do it” – Go for your athletic endeavors.
“I’m lovin’ it.” – Our customers love the food we make and you will, too.
“Can you hear me now?” – With our network, you’ll never have this problem.
5. Create Brand Standards.
Your brand standards determine how your sales reps answer phones (like specialized greetings), what your sales reps wear, the language you use in your company literature – pretty much everything.
So think about the things you want to distinguish you from the competition when creating your brand standards.
6. Create a Design Theme for Your Brand.
Create a design theme for your brand by using specific colors to create a look and feel that you’re comfortable using to represent your brand. Your design theme doesn’t have to be too fancy, but it does need to be consistent. If you’re not much of a design person, you can always use a template (and if you have the budget, hire someone).
If you want to brand your company, it doesn’t take much. The above steps can get you started and you can always add or change things as you see fit. Remember, this is not set in stone.
What are your biggest struggles with branding your company?
Let me know in the comments.