Brand Management - May 2020
By Nathan Redelfs
Business Manager, Agent Clean Solutions
Branding is one of the most important aspects of any business, and it’s especially helpful to get it right when you start your business. Successful branding encompasses more than just a good logo - it’s about the customer touchpoints and creating a reputation for quality and professionalism. Branding produces that "gut-feeling" about a company. What comes to mind when you think of the Red Cross? Pepsi? How about a brand that achieved some notoriety, such as Nike?
Branding is important for making a good impression on the customer during the early stages of the buyer cycle. The cycle includes pre-awareness, awareness, consideration, decision, and retention. Great branding affects the awareness and consideration stages of the customer journey. It’s during this part of the cycle that consumers will determine whether or not to use your services. Branding also encompasses the emotional reaction to a business, and a big part of that is getting the logo right.
Logo - Do it Right
While a logo isn’t the only element to branding, it is a large part of successful branding. Think about successful brands that you shop or use, such as McDonalds, Facebook, Apple, or any other name brand. Great logos become synonymous with the brand and are instantly recognizable. There are a few things to consider when designing a logo, or when taking a look at rebranding.
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- Prioritize design. It’s common for small or new businesses to have a DIY approach to a logo. That’s fine if you’re confident in your design skills, or whoever is doing it for you. It’s best to focus on a design that is capable of standing in without words. Think of the McDonald’s iconic "M." You don’t need the words or the slogan to know what the logo is.
- Decide on brand colors. Brand colors should be consistent across all platforms and advertisements. Your logo should also use your brand colors. If you’re setting up your logo and brand yourself, decide on a palette that represents your brand, and record the color code so that you can be consistent. Wondering how to do this? If you’re using Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, when you choose a color there will be a hex code associated with it. Record that code to keep track of it.
- Create more than one logo. It’s a good idea to have a "square" logo and a slimmer, print friendly logo. Be sure to have your brand colors set for each. This is useful for using the logo on social media, websites, and letterhead, and always having a logo that fits properly.
Getting your branding off to a great start means having more than a logo. A brand encompasses the feelings that seeing your brand brings to the customer. Decide on a theme. For us at Agent Clean Solutions, for example, it’s about confidence. Our slogan is Wash With Confidence. A slogan isn’t required, but tone is important in showcasing what your company is good at. Navigating the market means standing out, and being recognized despite competition.
Similarly, your brand is affected by proper spelling and grammar. Consumers notice things like misspelled words and typos, and sometimes that can be the difference between gaining a client or losing one. It’s best practice to proofread any materials or content that will have your logo and brand associated with it.
Unique Selling Property
What is it that sets your brand apart? Standing out from the competition is important, and you need to know what makes your company better than the competition. One way of doing this is finding your unique selling point. What do you do that most of your competition does not? One way to approach this is to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. What things would make you choose your company?
Knowing why a potential customer should choose your company is important, not just for branding purposes, but also for your own confidence. A lack of self-confidence is noticeable, and even if your branding is on point, you might lose a customer if you don’t close the deal in your sales pitch.
Another good way to brand is to have a mission statement. This is useful for developing work culture as well as customer relations. A mission statement is a clear indicator of what your company stands for, and holds you to a standard. It is a commitment to a certain level of work and quality, and it speaks volumes about the integrity of your business.
Keeping track of your brand isn’t something to try to maintain in your head. Your brand guidelines is a tangible book that documents your goals, your unique selling point, your slogan or mission statement, as well as your brand color palette, logo variations and dimensions, etc. Think of it as a "brand bible." While it may go through revisions, having a current version ensures that you maintain brand continuity in your day-to-day business, and helps cut down on content or marketing that falls outside of your brand.
Website and Social Media
Having a well thought out, modern website is an important part of the branding process. With most consumers using mobile devices, having a website that is easy to use, mobile-friendly, and connected to your social media accounts is a huge part of the customer journey. Many consumers use social media and online reviews during the consideration stage, and having great web presence works in your favor.
Branding is a much more in-depth study than one article can relate, but it’s good to understand an overview of how branding and brand continuity affects your business. Even if you’re established and have already created a brand, periodically checking for brand compliance and continuity helps maintain the image and reputation you’ve worked so hard to create.