Coca-Cola. Nike. Apple. Microsoft. Amazon. We are all aware of these big companies, their brands and what they stand for. What about your company? Can your customers identify your brand? Do you know that no matter the size of your business you have a brand?
What is Branding?
Simply put, your brand conveys your promise to your customers. It is how you distinguish yourself from the competition. It’s the image that you want to come to people’s minds when they hear about you and your company. Are you a luxury brand, or are you the low-cost leader? What makes you stand out, and why should someone use your products and services over another company?
Usually, the foundation of your brand is your logo. Your logo will appear on all of your marketing materials – your website, your business card, brochures, packaging and all other types of promotional collateral. For this reason and this reason alone, you need to make sure that you get your branding right the first time.
Branding Right The First Time
On the surface it may appear that coming up with a logo for your brand should be fairly easy. You’ve probably seen those sites that can generate free or low-cost logos, so you can have it done in a snap, right? But think about it…if you are using one of those logo generators or a site that claims to develop your logo cheaply, what are you really getting? Could that logo you just produced or paid for be attached to someone else’s company? And does that logo really reflect the personality of your company? Have you, in fact, thought through what you want your brand to portray and how you’ll get your customers to connect with your brand? Here are a couple of things to consider to start creating the kind of brand that will last and be remembered for years to come:
- Know your customers. Your brand is a reflection of you and your company. Find out what is important to your customers. Identify their pain points or challenges and the solutions that your company provides. Understand their personalities and how they fit in with your corporate image. If your customers are more casual and easy-going, you want to make sure that your branding reflects that mood.
- Research the competition. You want to stand out from the competition, so find out exactly how they are appealing to their audience and figure out what you will do differently. How will you incorporate that into your branding message? Are your values different? What about your mission and goals? Your brand is your unique statement to your audience, so make sure you know who you are and why they should choose you.
- Invest the time and money to create a great logo. Find a graphic artist that specializes in creating brands. Talk to them about your audience, your vision and the image you want your logo to project. Ask questions, and make sure they understand exactly what you are looking for. A good graphic artist will spend the time with you to understand what you are trying to create, and will work with you to ensure that the design they create makes sense for your brand.
Rebranding: When is it Appropriate?
For businesses starting out, branding is one of the first steps to ensuring your success. But what if you have been in business for a long time? How do you know if it’s time to rebrand? And what does that really mean? Is it just an update to your logo or is it a complete makeover of your business? The answer is: it depends.
Rebranding is serious business, so it should not be entered into lightly. There are several reasons why you should consider rebranding, including:
- Your core business has changed. Are you serving the same customers as you were when you started your business? Has your vision or mission changed? If, so, it’s probably time to re-evaluate your company’s branding strategies.
- Your logo is outdated. Does your logo look old and tired? Maybe it’s just time for a facelift. But be careful – you still need to do your homework as mentioned above to avoid missteps.
- You’ve taken on a partner or merged with another company. This is an excellent time to fuse your brands together into a new corporate image that will unify the two companies.
- You’re not attracting the right types of customers. It may very well be that what you thought would work for your company didn’t, so it’s time to regroup and rebrand.
When you do decide to rebrand, make sure that you have a communications plan in place to ensure that your transition is smooth and successful with both your current and potential customers.
Is Your Business Struggling? Consider Rebranding!
One of the reasons for rebranding that we haven’t discussed is when your business is struggling. It could be that you’ve lost customers, you’ve had some bad publicity, or a host of other reasons. Whatever the case may be, rebranding may be a way to breathe new life into your company. It’s an opportunity for a fresh start, to change your audience and the overall impression your company has made in the past. It is, however, more than just changing your logo. You need to develop an overall plan that outlines exactly what your goals are with your new branding, how you will communicate it to your customers and what additional strategies you will implement to move away from your old brand toward the new.
Need help with your branding or rebranding strategy? Give 21-13 Impact Graphics a call at 855.438.2113.