Guest Blogger, Barbara Widerman
Branding… quite possibly the most important aspect for any successful small or large business. Without a brand identity, no one would know who you are. Think of it as the “face and personality” of your business. When you think of Target, you think of a red bulls eye and a chic, value store. When you think of Tiffany’s, you think of their sea foam green boxes and simplified elegance. When you think of Coca Cola, you think red soda can and white, happy polar bears. (Coca Cola is one of the best companies at branding. Absolutely genius of them to make what I know will be a multi-million dollar grossing movie about their mascot. Just genius!) These companies among others, have established an excellent brand identity with their consumer. Successful branding is when clients know who you are and how you make them feel without having to verbally tell them. And this is what gives you a major edge in increasing competitive markets.
To accomplish a brand identity goes way above and beyond a logo and a brochure…beyond picking a corporate color scheme and placing some ads. You have to ask yourself, “Do all of these elements in your brand have the same message? Do they evoke the same emotion out of a consumer?” Yes, emotion. Not only must it all look the same, but it must feel the same.
My passion for understanding branding has drawn me to expand my knowledge about consumers’ desires. Through this journey, I realized that marketing and design should be one in the same. I firmly believe that marketing and design departments should work as one. I have yet to see a company use these two tools (their marketing and design departments) to their fullest capabilities. You can not design a brand for your company until you know who your company is and who your client is.
We are taught about supply and demand in our marketing classes in college but this is old school. Understanding your consumer and branding your company to engage those consumers directly can create a demand they had no idea they knew they had. For example, Starbucks! Wow! The idea that millions of Americans pay $5 for a cup of coffee every morning in a hurting economy is outrageous. But Starbucks makes it feel comfortable and personable each time you visit their store. Their interior decoration is cozy and inviting and they allow you to sit for hours on your computer with free wifi while preparing you a grande latte and then calling you by name to retrieve it. They have successfully reached into the lives of their customers and persuaded them to believe they need this $5 cup of coffee, when in reality they do not.
It all stems from how your brand engages with customers. How does your brand respresent you? How does it make your customers feel? A strong brand is what makes your business stand out from your competition.
Now think about your business and ask yourself, “What am I doing to connect with my customer?” And ” How can I get my consumers to believe they need MY $5 cup of coffee?”
We’d love to hear your thoughts on how you use branding to successfully position your company.