[dropcap]W[/dropcap] hat is branding? Well branding is simply the practice of using your business name and logo in marketing & advertising communications making it so that consumers can easily recognize your business for what products or services you sell.
Branding does more than create recognition. Good branding builds trust and loyalty in the marketplace allowing you to penetrate future markets with new product offerings more successfully. Successful branding campaigns can expect more sustained consumer relationships and profits over extended periods of time than businesses that are not implementing branding strategies.
The largest and most successful corporations in the world all utilize branding in their marketing communications, which builds their brand equities into billions of dollars. Examples of these companies are McDonald’s, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Tide, Hershey’s, Kellogs, and many more. They have all successfully built their brand to the point where consumers can easily recognize and trust their products enough to purchase them without debating the safety or quality of the product.
Branding is a long term strategy for all companies and should be strategical and implemented into marketing materials from the very start. Even if your a small online business ran by a work at home mom, you should still follow branding strategies just the same as if you were a international corporation. There is no excuse to not use a branding strategy for your business. Simply put, if you own a business, you need to brand.
Starting a branding strategy does not require a giant budget or advertising campaign if your low on company funds. You can start small in various different ways, some ways you may have already started using.
1. Logo – If you do not have a logo designed, you need to get one ASAP. Your logo is just as important to your business brand as your name. Case in point, by the time my son was 2 years old, he could recognize the logo of every major fast food restaurant, LONG before he ever learned any letters or started the process of learning to read. Your logo should excite your dream client just as much as it excited my 2 year old son. Your logo is the cornerstone of your brand.
2. Marketing & Advertising – In all marketing materials you should always include your company name and logo. Radio advertisements should use your business name at least twice, once when it starts and once at the end. Television and displays ads (Including online banner ads) should always make sure you business name or logo is always included. Display ads will include online banner advertising as well. Contextual advertising always use your company home page in the visible URL section to simplify the viewing of your business name. The extension of the URL should not be present as it will distract the eyes from the home page name.
4. Voice mail – Every company, big or small should have a voice mail for when you are unavailable to answer the phone. Make sure you use your company name in the voice mail twice. Once in the introduction and secondly in the end.
An example might be “Hi, you have reached the office of 1.) My Awesome Business!. I’m sorry but we are unable to answer your call at the moment, please leave a message after the tone and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you for calling 2.) My Awesome Business!. Have a great day.” This reinforces your company name, building recognition to help consumers remember your name above other businesses.
5. Phone Numbers – Whether local, national, or toll free a custom number can help do wonders for your brand recognition (Think 1-800-FLOWERS). Be creative and you may find some easy and fun ways to implement your company name or niche into an easily recognizable phone number.
6. Mail Communication – This section also applies to email communication. Use your business name and logo at the top of all letter heads. Reinforce your company name in the signature area after your messages as well. Example:
President, F.L.A. Creative Group, LLC
You will find that a good branding strategy can carry your business a long way and strengthen your company for future endeavors. Remember that every mention of your business name and every view of your logo is another way to reinforce company image. There are many other ways branding strategies into can incorporate into your marketing plan. So anything that involves business communication to consumers, businesses, employees, press, peers, etc. should always be branded.