We all have brands that we identify or associate with, especially growing up.
Think back to those early days when you loved Hot Wheels, or the latest Barbie. It didn’t matter if you could find an identical product at the $2 shop, it wasn’t special unless it was from the brand you saw on the TV, at your friends house or in the junk mail catalogues.
Let’s face it, branding is everything and if you do it right, it can forever sell your product through the good times and the not-so-good times.
Take McDonalds for example, how many of us can vividly recall the smell of the french fries and the taste of their fluffy white hamburger buns? Even though the company has come under a lot of flack recently and is losing sales, the golden arches has still managed to remain memorable.
Establishing a brand can take time, but understanding who your customers are and how they perceive your business is a good place to start.
Both employees and customers develop a positive or negative view towards a company based on how it conducts itself and what its overall objective is. Keeping this in mind will help you establish your brand in a holistic sense- from the inside out.
There are five main factors that go into creating a successful brand:
1.) An Understanding of Your Customers: Who are they, want are their needs, what are they looking for?
2.) Support: Do your products and services support your customers needs and deliver a desirable service?
3.) Kindness: Do you supporting not only your customers, but also your employees and contractors?
4.) Honesty: How does your company presents itself and what the overall mission of your company?
5.) Bigger Cause: Go beyond the surface of your products and services- what do you stand for?
“Your brand is what people say about your when you are not in the room”- Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon
On the logistical side of starting a brand, you need to pay attention to:
Having a catchy and clever name for your company is crucial when it comes to establishing a brand. Typically, one to two word names do best and your name should also reflect what your company does.
When it comes to the name, it really comes down to what services you intend to offer. Some of the more popular and traditional business names often contain the surname or first name of the business owner.
Alternatively you can a also use these techniques:
Alliteration: This creates a flow that makes your brand quick and easy to remember. For example, Shelley’s Soaps or Freaky Friday are perfect examples of quick an easy to remember business names.
Sounds: How do the words sound when they are paired together? One study actually found that the rhythm of “Cellar Door” is rated as one of the most beautiful sounding phrases in the world.
Letters: Studies have found that the letters- J, K, Q, V, W, X, Y and Z are the most memorable of the alphabet. This is because they are the least used letters of the english alphabet and therefore, consumers are more likely to remember them.
Look of the Words: The way certain words look when placed next to each other can also play a role in picking the perfect name. How does your company name look aesthetically? A good example of this would be the food product company OXO. The overall look of these letters is appealing and memorable.
Relatable: The more relatable the name of your business is to your products and services, the more likely your customers are going to remember you and what you stand for.
Visualisation: What visual imagery does the sound of your company name make? Studies have found that the more physical and tangible the word is, the more consumers are actually more likely to remember it.
Logo’s are a ay to create presence and a connection to your audience. A good logo should be something that is easily understood and easily recognised. There are three different types of logos:
– Symbol Logo: A good example of a symbol logo would be Apple. You don’t need to see the text “Apple” written across a laptop to know what brand it is. The iconic apple with the bite out the side and the single leaf on top is very clearly a logo symbol. Car manufacturers also adopt this practice. Rarely will you see a BMW car with the words “BMW” written across it. The circular blue and white symbol stands alone for the brand and is instantly recognisable.
– Text Logo: This style of logo uses text only to grab audiences attention. These days, this type of logo branding is quite rare however, that doesn’t mean it is not effective. Take Kleenex for example, it has a text only logo but the typography is instantly recognisable. The same goes for eBay, their logo is uses bright and colourful lettering and font sizes to instantly set them apart from others.
– Symbol and Text Logo: This is the most common type of logo and is seen on most products and services. It relies on both text and a symbol in order to attract customers attention. This type of logo allows for great versatility as you can switch up whether you use just the text or the symbol on different products and services. A good example of this is Twitter, we all know what the little blue bird means, but the company also has recognisable and matching text to use as well.
When it comes to designing your logo, whether you are going with a symbol, text or both, bring it back to the overall message and theme of your brand. Sit down and map out what you are attempting to offer your customers and what the meaning is behind your company.
Here are a few questions to help stimulate logo ideas:
– What do you want your brand to be known for?
– What do you want customers to receive from your company?
– How do you want to help your customers?
– What is your bigger vision or scope for the company?
– What is your tagline or mission statement?
– If you were to sum your company up in three to four words you would say-?
Example: Say you run a real estate company and you decide that your mission statement or values for the company is to help people feel safe and secure when making one of the biggest decisions in their lives. Maybe this realisation will lead you to a graphic of a house which is being supported by a hand.
Your logo need not be expensive either. There is the famous story of the Nike tick logo which was purchased from a student for just $35. If you are creative, you can also come up with a logo design by yourself.
Once you have established your logo, use it on your packaging, letterheads, emails and more. The more people that start to see your logo, the more likely you are to establish a brand.
You may also want to consider protecting you brand with a trade mark license or copyright notice.
Picking a colour scheme is extremely important when it comes to starting a brand. In fact, over 92.6% of consumers claim that the overall look and appeal of a product or service is what tempts them to actually purchase.
Look at the similar colours in your industry and what your competitors are doing, but don’t be afraid to step out of the crowd either. Your colours should also match the overall look and feel of your logo.
Here are some examples of how colours can effect your customers and business on a psychological level:
Yellow: optimistic and positive, often used to grab audience attention.
Red: energetic, increases heart rate and urgency, often used during sales.
Blue: trust and security, often seen with banks and businesses.
Green: wealth, helps create a relaxing and calm feeling.
Orange: aggressive, creates a strong call to action to buy, sell or subscribe.
Pink: romantic, feminine, often used to market towards females.
Black: powerful, sleek, used to market high end or luxurious products.
Purple: soothing and calming but also luxurious, often used to target an older demographic.
Once you have determined your colour scheme and your logo, the next steps to creating a memorable brand really begin with the people behind the company.
Promoting a healthy and compassionate office or working environment is paramount if you want your employees to commit to your vision and your brand.
What do your want your employees to say about your company behind your back?
Companies like the Container Store in the US and more, have begin offering their employees a much higher wage and better conditions in order to increase employee and customer satisfaction. Customers also pay attention to this and studies have shown that consumers are more likely to purchase from companies that support creating a more conscious world.
When you are just getting your company off the ground, it can be hard to justify huge employee salaries or charitable donations however, there are small things that you can do to get your brand noticed in your local community.
Beyond supporting a bigger cause and looking after your employees, consumers are also more likely to remember a brand that remembers them. It can be as small as a thank you for your order card in their delivery or a positive experience with your customer service representatives.
The bottom line is that personalisation sells and customers continue to purchase from companies that they feel valued and respected.
At the same time, there are some definite no-no’s when it comes to establishing a successful brand such as:
– Remaining stuck in your ways and not updating your products or logo according to the times
– Too many degrees of separation between your customers and a real person (we all hate those automated customer service calls)
– Not listening to your needs of your customers or not growing with their needs
– Becoming too well know: this is something that can be hard to change but take a company like Weight Watchers for example. They are a huge company however, too many people know how it works which leads to a lack of excitement and reduces the appeal to join. This has definitely increased since the internet as so much information is now available.
– Not updating your products or giving your existing customers something new to get excited or interested about
– Not living up to your promises or mission statement or losing sight of your initial goals and values
Many companies view establishing a brand as the overall success or goal, however this way of thinking can be detrimental. Even if you have a brand, you still need to work in order to make it relevant and applicable for your customers.