In ancient times kingdoms, tribes and various groups needed ways to distinguish themselves from other factions. We can see this in different ways such as writing styles, language and clothes but more specifically through colors and symbols. Flags and the use of a family crest are examples of these. Through using a memorable set of colors, symbols and the spoken word; you are leaving an imprint on the minds of others. Today this very same concept applies to marketing and more importantly branding.
There are many arguments that branding isn’t necessary, that having a logo or that having a professional image to represent them is not important. I’ve been presented with such statements as, “we have xx amount or viewers/customers already, we don’t need one”. I’ve also seen many small firms as well who only have a simple letterhead and business card. They seem to be fairly successful but I, like many others feel that a branding strategy can help make a much larger impact on an audience. Part of the purpose, whether it is a clever design of the company name or an actual logo, is to have a long lasting imprint in the minds of people. Another aspect to this, is upon leaving your location of business, you are bound to find other companies with the same name. Sometimes you’ll find that the company is even using a very similar font.
4 Simple steps to standout among the clones and the masses are:
- Color schemes- the simplest of these and probably the most noticeable. Color schemes are the basis of making anything stand out. Think of McDonalds or Walmart. Instantly at least 2 colors will come to mind.
- Font choice- This varies from the simple to more complex and creative types. A font choice can help project the atmosphere of the company. For instance, a company oriented around children will often use bubble letters with bright colors.
- Tag lines & Mantras- both tag lines and mantras are similar in respect to being a short set of words to voice the company’s mission or vision. A tagline is a way of selling yourself as a brand, while a mantra captures the essence of the company in 3-4 words.
- Logos- can refer to several things such as a simplified font choice which uses only one letter or can be a symbol related to the company vision. Such is the case with Louis Voitton and Maserati. LV is the simplified company name, while the logo of Maserati which also appears to be the letter M, is a very powerful symbol striving for grandeur.
More seasoned marketing professionals know the importance of branding and stated they felt branding should be done as soon as possible. I had a discussion with a few people to find out when, why and how others view the topic of branding. Ideally, the decisions should be made before the launch of your company for a couple reasons.
- Identity- it gives you an identity for letterheads, business cards and especially a website and the color schemes can become the starting point for all of these. Having an identifiable image allows a company to have a more well defined voice.
- Traction- Having an identity also helps to build traction. You now have something which will stick in the minds of those who see it. As your company grows, there needs to be a way for more people to remember it and associate your products or services with it. This also becomes a way for customer referrals especially in today’s digital marketing age.
Here are a few quotes from the responses I received:
- “Branding is occurring regularly, whether or not we are aware of it. From integrated website(s) presence to our networking and our credit ratings, cell phone records and application navigation, we are tracking and being tracked. So it is really a matter of whether we wish to manage our professional image or have that image manage us” -Kenneth Larson [retired Aerospace Contracts Manager]
- “You should begin working on your branding -or- professional image – before you even launch your company. Branding tools such as your website,logo, color scheme, slogan/tagline, mission statement, business cards, email signature and all of your social networks should all be consistent and convey the message you want to deliver” -Elizabeth Wagoner [Cloudberry Social Media]
- “A logo/wordmark is just one small piece of defining a startup’s brand and voice. This is an important part of launching a successful startup and not something that should be relegated to the intern in the corner” -Robert Lendval [6s Marketing]
In summation, as a company you should put a good deal of thought into how you want to define yourself and your vision. Part of leaving a mark on the world involves how you choose to brand yourself, meaning what impression you send to people and how you’d like to relate that to a visible image. Once the visible image is in their minds, it will help them to associate your vision and company values to that visible image. The point of all this, To Stand out in a Crowd and leave a lasting impression on your audience for a long time to come.
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This entry was posted on Monday, January 30th, 2012 at 2:43 pm and is filed under Business Education, Entrepreneur Inspiration. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.