Updated: Apr 16, 2020
This baseball season, we want to make sure you have everything you need to take your business from the minors to the big leagues! (Who knows, maybe soon the Tigers will join you there! We know it’s not this year…)
The big play of the game: BRANDING.
It’s important to know the difference between branding and advertising. Branding is the glue that holds all your marketing and advertising together: the colors used in the ads, the emotion the campaign evokes, even a spokesperson can all be a part of your company’s brand.
Think about some big names like Starbucks. When you think of Starbucks, you expect that specific color green. There have been parodies of the Starbucks logo and it’s still recognizable. What if you could get your name out there like that? Something so unique to your product or service that people can recognize it anywhere. The key is consistency.
There are 5 key steps to building your brand:
1. Find your brand’s voice
This step should be the very first step you take. It will shape everything else you do from here on out. How do you find your brand’s voice?
Consider your target audience – which generation do they belong to? What do they do for fun? What are their wants? What are their needs?
Once you’ve landed on a target audience, ask yourself: what is the problem that you solve for them? How do you solve that problem better than your competition?
Let’s look at Meijer as an example. Their mission statement reads: “As the pioneer of the “one-stop shopping” concept, we offer excellent customer service, low prices, quality foods and a broad selection of national and Meijer brand items.” One-stop shopping was the problem that Meijer solved for their target audience, but they didn’t stop there. How would they make their experience better than their competitors? With excellent customer service, low prices (notice it doesn’t say LOWEST), and with lots of high-quality choices.
These concepts drive everything Meijer does with their brand -- from the colors they use all the way to how they advertise, where they advertise, and what feelings their advertising evokes.
Need more guidance? Try a word cloud – put the words you would use to describe your company in bubbles, then ask yourself what else those words make you think of? What describing words would you use for them? Perhaps even one or two colors pop out from this activity!
2. Decide on a color scheme
Colors are a huge part of your brand. Baseball teams are a great example of this – you see that particular shade of blue and orange and you’re likely to think “Tigers.” Change that orange to red and all of a sudden, you’re cheering on the MN Twins instead!
Your colors will be everywhere – your logo, your website, your social media.
Try this: Look up the Instagram account of one of your favorite brands. Scroll through the photos. You’re likely to see post after post using their colors. Toyota uses mostly red and silver or white cars in their posts to tie back to their color scheme. A local boxing gym, CKO, uses their signature black and yellow in nearly every post. When the post isn’t in those colors, it starts to stand out! You can use that to your advantage.
Choose your colors wisely: maybe they are colors you enjoy wearing, colors that describe your product, or bring out a certain emotion like calm or hunger. These colors will be used in the next big visual step: your logo!
3. Design a logo
Once you’ve got your color, it’s time for the logo.
Check out the logos of other small businesses. It’s usually easy to pick out which logos were created by a graphic designer and which were, well… not. What does an unprofessional looking logo do? It hurts your brand.
If your company is all about making life simple, that should come through your logo with clean lines. In other words, make sure your logo matches your company’s voice. Just because it “looks cool” doesn’t mean it’s the best logo for you!
A great logo can be used in a lot of ways. Check out Kroll furnace's logo. We wanted to provide a logo that was clean, friendly and portrayed experience. We updated their colors, fonts and added services underneath their name. We also integrated the KF to stand out, along with the Fahrenheit symbol as a creative piece.
4. Create a catchy tagline
We could go on and on about catchy taglines. They don’t have to be complicated (Got Milk?), they just need to remind the potential buyer what problem of theirs you are solving. For example, a consulting company that helps take the complex parts out of running your business: “Running a store isn’t easy, but it should be simple.” This tagline expresses the exact problem being solved and it is easy to remember!
You may not hit a home run with the first tag line, or even the first fifty. Having an experienced guide or marketing firm will help you choose the best tagline to get your name out there.
Now that you have your voice, and you have the ways your customers will see, hear, and feel that voice, it’s important for your brand to be consistent. Your brand needs to show up in as many places as possible: your website, social media, videos, ads, swag, etc. The more often people experience it and associate it with your name and your product or service, the closer you will be to replacing the generic name for what it is you are selling (Kleenex, anyone?!). Try starting with your employees, if you have them. If they love you and your brand, they will use their swag and advocate for you!
Branding can be a lot of fun. It should be a time to reflect on why you started your business to begin with! So, finish up your Meijer run, grab a Starbucks, and reach out to us at CIS Agency so we can guide your vision and build you your best brand possible!