The purpose of branding is to create a certain positive and appropriate emotion in the client, and to consistently remind the client of that emotion as often as possible. It may seem small businesses can’t compete with nationally known brands, but small business has an advantage if they use branding properly. Most people are far more emotional about small businesses they frequent than they are the big chains. Branding does not have to be expensive or complicated. It simply has to be used correctly and consistently.
Understanding your own corporate image is the first step to branding. Outline your own thoughts. Ask other staff, family and friends for their opinions as well. Consider words like friendly, reliable, cool, tasteful, practical, exciting, fun, dignified and professional. Which words best describe the goods and services you plan to offer? Which words do not apply?
2. Consider What You Do
As you consider your image it is important to consider the type of services you perform, and the way clients expect those businesses to market themselves. A game shop should sell the idea of fun, but a mortuary should have a more dignified approach to marketing.
3. Consider Who the Clients Are
Establishing your target market is vital to good branding. Will your business appeal to everyone, or are you targeting a certain age group or gender? Will you be trying to attract a certain subculture? Study your target marketing demographics before you decide. Make sure your target market is large enough to support the business.
4. Internal Communication about the Image
All management and staff should be aware of the corporate image at all times. The image should dictate the prevailing mood and atmosphere in the website, store, corporate office and sales literature. It is important to hire people who fit the overall atmosphere of the business and remind them of that culture through training and seminars.
5. The Logo
The logo will set the theme for all print and web driven artwork. It will dictate the décor of your locations and offices. Hire a professional graphic artist to design and execute the perfect logo for you. Inform them of your desired image and the target market. Express any ideas you have about the design.
One of the most important aspects of a logo is color. These colors will be used generously in every aspect of your business. It is important to know which colors fit which type of businesses. Warm colors encourage hunger so restaurants should use pleasant shades of orange, peach and yellow. Cool colors such as green and blue are popular for professional services. Traditional businesses may benefit from neutral colors like sepia on cream or steel gray on sharp white.
7. The Importance of Logo Use and Consistency
Your logo should appear on all company literature, websites, signs and products. It should be displayed prominently in all locations and it should look exactly the same everywhere it appears.
8. Scent Marketing
Your business should have its own scent. Scent marketing can be easily established with the consistent use of air fresheners or incense but professional scents can also be formulated for the purpose. Keep it consistent, hypoallergenic and light. Scent marketing is among the most effective forms of point of purchase marketing available.
Using these tactics on business cards, websites quick print flyers, promotional gifts, imprinted paper products, tee-shirts, sticky labels and business stationary are all inexpensive ways to build your brand. If you sell products made by other companies, be sure to put your own label on the packaging before it leaves your store.
Featured image on home page courtesy of http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/166171
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