Are you committing the five branding sins? Would you like to know what they are and how to avoid them? Then let me begin with some of my business branding tips. Lets start with some basics it is important to keep on brand use clear branding messages and understand how brands can put off the gate keepers to buying decisions.RPK Tramplin
Branding is more than just a logo or a slogan, for me branding is about the things people remember about you the way you make them feel about your business. These things can help you to retain them as customers or entice them in to begin with. When I work with small business owners we often discuss brand and what they want their brand to say and do for them. These are some of the branding sins small business owners make time and time again.
If only it was that easy. The logo, colours, web site and all the trappings are what I call the “fru-fru” of marketing. It isn’t that I don’t think they are important I do. A good logo, image, web site and strap line are all important but I do think they can become a distraction. For many people they are the fun and exciting part of business and can often become distracted by them, fixating on developing the branding you can see rather than building a good solid business people will naturally want to connect with.
I get this it is lovely to work on this stuff, heck I love my brand and I have taken time to develop it over the years. But if all my brand came down to was a picture of a pair of red shoes then you would question why you would buy from me, what does it say about me and the way I work? My red shoes brand stands for something bigger than just the shoes. It is about standing out, being what you want to be and doing what’s right for you. There is a story behind the brand and I link the images and colours with my passion and belief in developing others.
You see for me the “fru- fru” element (colours, logo etc) should all link to the behaviour and feelings related to your business. How would you like your customers to feel about you? How do you want them to talk about you and your brand? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you develop a brand based on more than just “fru-fru”.
Think before you spend and when you do spend do so wisely for good results. In my experience of working with failing businesses having a big re-brand only serves to highlight that there is something wrong. I also find that when small business owners take on a big re-brand it says more about them and their relationship with the business and brand than it says about the brand.
Again I have done a re-brand in the past, changing the name and colour of my business back in the 90’s. At the time I had changed from a one man band to a business with staff, offices and large contracts. The name wasn’t appropriate and the branding had been amateurish. The re-brand took time, energy and money. The results were great but did they bring in more business, not really. Did it help add to the brand image, yes. It showed that as a quality supplier of management training we valued who we were, our image and the way we spoke to others. When I changed the business seven years ago back to being just me, I kept the new brand for some time while I considered and developed my new work and brand. My customers wanted my brand and business knowledge and valued my business ethics, no one questioned if the logo really connected to the work I did.
Be careful when you do a re-brand, think why am I doing this, what will it achieve and does it add to the messages I currently put out there about my business?
By all communications I include networking, social media, your personal image and brand and the image all parts of your business portray from e-mail and web sites to signs and vehicles, forms and contracts to the way you and your team behave. The reality is this, people will form views of you from what they see of you and your business even when you hadn’t thought they would notice. Someone always does.
What message are you putting out there with your business name.
Business owners often forget to share what their brand means with their staff and even worse not communicating their brand to customers and potential customers. You need to be clear what your brand means to you and how you want others to remember it and view it. It is then your job to explain this to people and also demonstrate it in all that you do.
Getting your staff to embrace your brand is key to embedding them into your business and connecting them and your business values so that they can continue to deliver them to your customers.
I know it’s your brand and you love it. Maybe you spent hours and days working on it but if we don’t get it then we don’t. Sorry. Be aware of some of the following mistakes:
It’s OK to be different, make changes, do things in unusual ways but understand that this can effect your brand and how others connect with it. I’m guessing you don’t have huge marketing budgets in order to bombard people with marketing messages so keep things simple, use good clear branding images and messages.
Overall understand your brand and what it means then keep on brand.
Need some help with your brand and small business – I work with a handful of business owners as their mentor and I currently have some spaces available for 2015. Drop me a line with your telephone numbers, e-mail address and details about your business and what you are currently struggling with and I will be in touch with ideas of how I can help.
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