Branding Like a Boss:
The indelible Swoosh. The Golden Arches. The bitten apple. Companies with less manpower and lower budgets hope to achieve even a fraction of the brand equity of Nike, McDonald's and Apple. But this kind of instant recognition doesn't happen overnight. A logo is only part of the equation. Think of it as the visual component of your corporate identity. Once you nail this part down, it's time for the next step.
Your business's reputation hinges on effective branding. Unfortunately, it's more complicated than designing a cool logo, handing out some pens and throwing together a direct mail campaign. It requires time, creative energy and a deliberate strategy. Most importantly, it requires connecting with your customers.
According to Ryan Sauers, president/owner of Sauers Consulting Strategies, Stone Mountain, Ga., think of your brand as "the sum total of key ideas, emotions and perceptions that are communicated to your audience and associated with your organization's work." Feeling a bit overwhelmed yet? Check out these five vital tips to start the building process.
1. SET GOALS
First, determine what your company is trying to accomplish in its branding efforts. Are you trying to grow your brand, reward employees or thank customers? Elicit feedback from your team and from those who are more removed. With the help of a reliable supplier, you can then determine which products would best suit your needs.
"Whether it's on the printing side or the promotional products side, your suppliers are key. Be sure to consult with them so you can create tiered options for your customers," Sauers suggested. "I always recommend three levels: one for the lower end of a budget, another for the middle of the budget and one for the higher end of a budget."
Remember, quantity does not translate to quality. "There are companies that go for the biggest bang for their buck to reach as many customers as possible, but in doing so they need to reduce product quality and safety, and that impacts how a customer perceives that product and brand," observed Kevin Burden, director of business development at Lenexa, Kansas-based Gill Studios.