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A small business blog featuring tips to help entrepreneurs succeed in the small business world. Topics include family business, human resources, marketing, money, networking, operations, ownership, startup, taxes and technology.
Establishing Your Brand
With the success of a company comes the success of a brand which can stand on its own. For example, the Coca-Cola brand is worth about $65 billion, McDonald’s is worth $29 billion and BMW, $21 billion. Those number are for the brand alone – that does not include the actual product, the patents or any other part of the business.
While most businesses will likely never reach the billion dollar range for the worth of their brand, there are some things you can do to make your brand better known and more strongly associated with the product/services your provide.
This is where is all begins. Your logo will become the number one association with your product/service. When designing it, you need to consider the perception of the product you want the logo to convey. This can be done through colors, fonts, graphics . . . every aspect of your logo reveals part of what your product/service is. It should be something that is so closely associated with your product, that people can pick it out on store shelves, even if they couldn’t read the product name.
Your advertising and product label (logo) must cue the consumer in to the concept you want to convey through your brand. For example, if you’re in the soft drink business, you want your branding cues to be of refreshment and quality taste. If you own a car company, you want those cues to convey safety and that the car handles well.
Ask yourself the following questions when trying to determine your branding cues:
• Why do consumers buy your product/service?
• What rational benefits do you want consumers to associate with your brand?
• What emotional benefits do you want your brand to convey?
The cues should become an automatic association with your brand. When they see your product on the shelf, there should be an automatic association: Snickers – satisfies hunger; Wii – gaming experience for everyone, Burger King – have it your way, etc.
Keep in mind that there are many features and benefits of your product that, though they may be innovative and ahead of the competition now, may become part of the standard for the entire industry later. Take automobiles for example. CD players and side-curtain air bags are included as standard features now, but that was not the case 10 years ago. Even On-Star, which initially was only available in a small number of GMC vehicles, has began to expand it’s availability.
While it is fine to associate such features with your brand when they are above the norm, as they become more the standard for the industry, you’ll want to rethink your focus. Branding cues are always adapting and changing. When you look back at slogans and packaging for products like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s hamburgers, you’ll find many changes along the time line of the business, as the brand adapts to the consumer and the industry.
If these tips seems somewhat vague, that’s because the process of establishing a brand is rather complicated and takes a lot of time. Hopefully this will get you off to a good start.
• BusinessWeek.com: Building a Better Brand
Related Small Business Buzz Posts:
What is Branding?
Effective Logo Design for Small Businesses
The Importance of Branding
Elements of a Winning Brand
The Importance of a Logo