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Whenever we on-board a new client, we schedule a call to discuss the marketing plan that is laid out, art requirements, handling of databases, etc. This week, I was on-boarding a new client and she said something that struck a chord with me. She had sent us a copy of her logo and it was very important to her that we not only had it, but understood that there are specific ways in which we are to use it.
This is quite a normal occurrence, especially when we are working with larger companies. What stuck in my head though was her misuse of describing what it was. You see, she referred to her logo as her brand. Now I might be splitting hairs here, and she is a little bit correct, but I think it’s important to really drill down to what a brand is.
It is true that a brand is a design, sign, symbol or words that identify a product or service. So that is where you get a logo or a slogan. In addition to those things though, a brand not only differentiates itself from it’s competitors, but also over time becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind.
This company’s logo was very nice, but it did not meet these criterion to truly be considered “a brand”. Based on that, we shifted gears and really drilled down to learn more about this person we were speaking with and her business. We wanted to specifically learn what makes her tick, why her business is well known in her marketplace, why consumers would choose her business above other similar businesses that are in the area, how her business is different, AND specifically, how those differences will benefit the customers that choose to frequent her establishment. Those are the things (along with a strong logo), that are the building blocks of a brand in today’s world.
Let’s face it. As an individual small business owner, most likely working by yourself and/or possibly a couple other people (translation: you don’t have a corporate marketing team at your disposal), you are never going to be held with the same consideration as the Nike’s, Nordstrom’s or Apple’s of the world. That doesn’t mean though that you cannot establish a brand for yourself, and work hard to make it well regarded in your marketplace.
The first place I would start on this is by talking with the marketing agency that is representing you, to discuss how to go about moving beyond simply having a logo, and building your company’s brand such that you become known for in your marketplace. It might sound like a lot to bite off, but here are a few places you can start, to get your head in the right space, for when you meet with your marketing agency to achieve these goals.
- What are your specific differentiating factors compared to companies that are similar to yours in your marketplace?
- How do those differing factors directly benefit customers that choose to work with you?
- What steps are you going to take in your day to day business and in your marketing communications that will foster satisfaction, quality and credibility in the minds of consumers in your marketplace?
Once you establish those things, you have your building blocks for building a true brand.