Take a moment and look at your company’s logo, its ok, I’ll wait…
Now, ask yourself some questions. Does this mark communicate my company’s focus? Do I even have a focus? Does it define the company and showcase my points of difference? When you picture your company in your head, do you see your mark? If your business was a noise, what would it sound like or if it were a texture, what would it feel like?
If you can’t answer these questions, then you most likely have a logo and not a brand. A brand transcends basic identifiers and transforms one’s company into an industry-leading icon, filled with reason, purpose and worth. Branding is just as vital for a small business as it is for a fortune 500 company. It’s what defines your company’s focus and builds the framework for all future marketing to hang on, no matter your size.
If you’re ready to make your company stand out and become ingrained in your customers’ mind-space, then here are the steps to turn your logo into a brand.
1. Find Your Focus
Ask yourself, what do you want to be known for? What do you want in the heads of your customers when they think of you? What do your customers want from you? Take all these answers and narrow them all down to one word or a two-word phrase. This is brand focusing. This focus will be the framework that we will use to create and validate our marketing efforts. This is one of the most vital steps in the branding process, because it defines why potential customers would pick you, why current customers would keep supporting you and how you’re different from your competition. It’s not an easy task, but we’re here to help you find your focus.
2. Create Your Brand
Now that we have your brand focus, let’s create communication tools that will help get the concept into the heads of your customers. We’ll define the brand focus in a short, clever tagline, in your logo and in your color palette. We can also explore and define other sensory parameters that will help strengthen your brand when we explore the creation of the customer touch-points. Throughout this process always have the question in the back of your mind asking, “Does this reflect our brand focus?” If it doesn’t, let it go… if it does, then keep moving forward.
Here’s a helpful hint in judging logos. Quickly glance at the logo for three seconds and put it in your memory bank. Then later in the day close your eyes and see if you can see it in your mind’s eye. If you can, you’re doing well. I’m sure if you think about Nike, Pepsi, Apple and Enron, you can see their logos in your head without even trying, whether it’s pleasant or not, it’s there. With small businesses, it’s even more important to have a distinctive mark that stands out in one’s mind, because you do not have the huge marketing budget needed to make a bad mark memorable.
3. Build Your Brand Touch Points
This is where we fall back again to Step 1 and use our defined brand focus to help us create our customer touch points. A touch point is any point where your customer comes in contact with your brand. It could be the sounds heard when a customer is waiting on the phone or the feel and shape of your business card, the events you sponsor, the clothes you wear, your office aroma and even what gifts you give out during the holidays. Every one of these touch points is an opportunity to strengthen your brand, not only with your customer base, but with your employees as well.
To build a strong brand a company needs to look at every touch point that a customer and/or employee comes in contact with and ask one simple question, “Does this touch point communicate our brand focus?” If it doesn’t, then think of ways you can change it so it does. Every branded touch point will bring you closer to creating an unforgettable and rock solid brand.