Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Basic Branding

Originally Posted on January 9, 2009 on CoachContent Blog:

I often work with entrepreneurs who are developing a brand identity that will enable them to market their business. This can be a deeply emotional process, with the brand becoming intertwined with the individual business owner's self identity.

A brand is defined by as "a collection of images and ideas representing an economic producer; more specifically, it refers to the descriptive verbal attributes and concrete symbols such as a name, logo, slogan, and design scheme that convey the essence of a company, product or service."

Everything that an entrepreneur does with his or her business should reflect their brand identity -- the colors, the images, and all elements of the "experience" of interacting with the owner's brand.

Here are three things to consider when creating your brand:

  1. It should be distinctive, yet relatable. You want to "cut through the clutter." The average consumer sees 600 ads every day, according to Media Matters. You want to be memorable and differentiated, but in a way that builds interest in your target consumer, not offends them or puts them to sleep.
  2. It should be easy to explain. Having a powerful story behind your brand identity is desirable -- it can communicate your firm's ideals or unique services in a way that really connects with customers. However, if your brand name and identity require a lengthy "story" to explain, they may be off-putting or confusing to potential customers. For example, say that you were inspired to start your own coaching practice dedicated to helping women create sustainable businesses by watching your grandmother create great food and long-lasting memories in the family's kitchen. Naming the business Grandma Dolly's Prize Winning Homemade Pickle Business Building Coaching for Women might get lost in translation. A name like Cooking Up Profits Coaching, which uses Grandma Dolly's story in its marketing materials, might be more palatable to potential customers.
  3. It should be easy to duplicate (literally). If your logo or brand identity design includes light colors or blurred or stylized imagery, it may not photocopy well. Also, is your logo legible when it is very small?

Hopefully, you will be working with your brand for many years to come, so spending a little extra time in the planning stages will ensure that you are building a brand that resonates both with you and your customers.

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