Coca-Cola, Nestle, Starbucks, Pepsi…what do these companies all have in common? There’s a high chance you consume at least one of these products and it’s not just because they taste good. The products are highly successful because they have mastered the art of branding.
Take Coca-Cola for instance. Their ads seem to always evoke feelings of warmth and optimism. In the commercials, you see families and friends gathered, bottle of Coca-Cola in hand.
In one the most famous commercials of all time (1971 Coca Cola commercial), we see a group of people singing “I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.” Coca Cola has always relied on the marketing approach of evoking a positive, carefree vibe for its customers. It’s an effective approach as it is a beverage of choice in many family gatherings, parties and restaurants.
In our increasingly competitive business market, we all want our company to stand out and be recognized in a sea of other businesses offering similar products and services.
You’ve probably heard the term “branding” used frequently to describe a company’s brand style, but what exactly is it?
Entreprenuer.com defines branding as “The marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products.”
Put into simple terms, a brand is your company’s personality: who you are and how others perceive you. It is what sets you apart from your competitors. Your consumers develop a sense of what to expect from your product or services based on the values and qualities you choose to communicate in your design, slogan and marketing campaigns.
For instance, if you are a daycare provider, you may opt to style your marketing material with bright colors, playful fonts and simple illustrations to characterize your business as a place for children. Your slogan is “Providing a Safe Place for Children to Grow.” Naturally, you will make it clear to your prospects that your daycare teachers are CPR certified and provide continual video monitoring to ease the concerns of the child’s parent.
On the other hand, if you are an attorney, you will likely go for a more sleek and professional look using neutral colors like gray, navy or crimson red.
In branding, your goal is to solve a problem or fulfill a need specific to your target audience. There are multiple ways and styles of doing this. Do your research and decide what approach will work for your unique clientele. Remember Corona’s “Find Your Beach” commercials? They offer their consumers a much needed escape from work. Then you have the famous Nike swoosh “Just Do it” intended to motivate you to workout and purchase their line of athletic apparel. Different approaches work for different companies.
Effective Branding will..
Make a clear statement about you
- Make you appear trustworthy
- Provide an emotional connection to your customer
- Motivate your buyers to make a purchase
- Promote customer loyalty
Ready To Get Started?
Here is a step by step process to help make you a branding rock star…
Step 1: Identify your business objective. Be as specific as possible about what you wish to accomplish in your business and develop a company mission.
Step 2: Research, research, research. Who are you competitors? What are they doing right? Don’t reinvent the wheel, but also keep your brand unique.
Step 3: Decide your marketing style. Is your jewelry line going to have an elegant, upscale look to appeal to white collar professional woman? Or are you an up-and-coming video game store appealing to college students with an edgy grunge look?
Step 4: Write out your goals. Decide the step-by-step process of how you will create your brand. Do you have a logo? What social media accounts will you primarily use to market yourself? Does the style of your website reflect the style of your brand? What are your budget goals?
Step 5: Maintenance Mode It’s easy to get off track and focus on your immediate tasks, but it’s vital that you keep on top of your brand strategy. You may have to take a step back and re-evaluate your current marketing approach. Decide what’s working for you and what’s not.
This a great starting point and should be reevaluated periodically to ensure your business success. If you are unsure, you may want to consider hiring a professional to help you work out the details. As tempting as it may be to jump into the launching of your brand, it is wise to plan strategically so that you have a firm foundation.