I talk with a lot of marketing strategists who extol the importance of branding for a company’s success but it’s like pulling teeth to drag most of them down from the conceptual clouds and get specific about exactly what they mean.
Every company has a brand whether you’ve proactively designed it or not. Your brand isn’t just the way you present your company; it’s how you’re seen in the eyes of your prospects and clients.
Most of us recognize the highly advertised brands like Coke, Mercedes Benz, Nike etc., but someone the connection between what those big companies with huge advertising budgets do doesn’t clearly tell smaller business owners what they should do and why.
According to Rob Frankl, “branding is not about getting your prospects to choose you over your competition; it’s about getting your prospects to see you as the only solution to their problem.”
Here’s what I discovered when I went on a quest to clear up my own vagueness about this topic.
There are 3 major components of a brand: content, style, and graphics.
Content derives from your values, beliefs and key messaging you deliver to the marketplace. What do you say about your company or products and services? Why are those things important to you? Do your ideal clients actually care? How do you know?
Style reflects the personality of your brand or firm. Are you intelligent, fun, stodgy, casual, conservative or out in left field? Again, is there a style to market match? You need credibility with your marketplace and the way you ‘behave’ in your market will either attract or repel them and determine how much they trust you.
Graphics is all about the visual, physical representation of your company. It includes colors, font, logos and photography. It is the first thing people tend to focus on and create but really should be the outflow of the first two components.
You must know who you are but if you create your brand just based on your internal interests, you could miss the mark by a mile. You must also thoroughly have and understand your target audience before you attempt to ‘present’ yourself to them.
It your brand is appealing, it will make people want you. Real branding raises your bottom line revenues, lowers customer acquisition cost, increases customer retention and profitability. So review the way you’re portraying your company, check with your clients and prospects to understand how they view you and if you’re confident you’re sending the message you intend, market the heck out of it (in all of the right places, of course)!