Last week we started to talk about branding. Branding is a promise you make to your customers about an important quality or attribute they can expect to receive from using your product or service. Take a word of phrase that summarizes this promised quality and start to use it in your marketing materials. In your advertising, repeat it over and over again, or find a way to consistently represent it visually.
Branding can be very effective. For example, when you think of “safety” in regards to an automobile, you probably think of Volvo. The company has spent decades branding that attribute in relation to its product.
A brand is often closely related to other company attributes, such as a logo, trademark, or slogan Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan was a core part of the company’s brand at one time. It associated Nike with a lifestyle attitude. It’s so popular that people used it in everyday conversation. U.S. Army uses Army Strong, which implies strength at a different level.
The truth is a good brand isn’t built overnight, simply by proclaiming it. Entrepreneur, Stelios Haji-Ioaannou notes: “Your brand is created out of customer contact and the experience your customers have of you.”* There’s no need to wait to start thinking about how to brand your company. Start experimenting in your earliest advertising messages.
Try to be original. Do not copy any existing branding words or phrases. Here are some qualities you might want to brand: durable, low prices, locally made or grown, handcrafted, fast, convenient, or professional. These are just a few, and they often can be drawn from your company’s competitive advantages. You may want to pick a theme that you want to brand for the next year or two.
I have recently been branding the phrase “The Advantage Difference.” I have a radio personality introduce me by saying they have used our services personally, and they ask me as the owner, what I think makes our company different. I then begin with one of our differences. I have a list of six that I believe separates us from our competitors. This is just one of the countless ideas you can brand.
*The Economist. (2009). Brands and Branding. (R. Clifton, Ed.) Canada: Bloomberg Press.