October 06, 2009

Have A Brand You Can Be Proud Of

Driving to work you will see sign-after-sign with a business name written in COPPERPLATE font. If you actually read a few of them, chances are you will see a business you drive past every day but didn’t know existed.

This article is for the owners of all those non-descript businesses. My message is simple. Get yourself a nice looking logo, and create a brand you can be proud of.

What is a brand?

The concept of a brand itself is somewhat abstract. There are many great books out there on this subject. A favorite of mine is Brand Simple.

To me, the brand of a small business consists, at a minimum, of:

  • A name
  • A logo
  • A consistent look between your website, business cards, signage, etc.
  • A consistent experience for customers and prospects

What’s in a name

Since most of my readers are already business owners, I won’t go into much detail here. However, if you are looking at starting a business, consider the following points:

  • Include what you do. For a new business, including or at least alluding to what you do will help. Do you think in 1972 people asked, “What is a Nike?” (Actually, it is Greek goddess of victory).
  • Check availability of domain names, 1300 / 1800 numbers, business names, and trademarks.
  • Google the proposed name, and similar names, to see what else it is used for.
  • Make sure it is unambiguous – can it be spelt multiple ways? When you write the domain name out and the words are added together does it form other strange words?

A good brand needs a good logo

A few reasons a good logo is essential to a creating a memorable brand:

  • Serves as a memory aid – a picture is worth 1000 words, remember? Chances are, you instantly associate the Golden Arches with McDonalds.
  • The logo can tell a story. In Woolworth’s new logo, we have a picture of an apple to confirm they are the “The Fresh Food People.”
  • Businesses with a cheap and nasty logo will be assumed to provide a cheap and nasty product or service. If Godfrey’s gave out pens that broke in a day, what would you think of their vacuums?

For the sake of a few hundred dollars, be sure to get a clean, professionally designed logo if you don’t already have one. It is essential part of the branding exercise.

Does it work? At 1300 Web Pro we regularly find people thinking we are a large national company. Why? Because they’ve heard of us and seen our logo. Our branding has been so successful, we now need to focus on another element of our branding – that we are a local Toowoomba based company.

Consistency in look

Most of the points made about logos apply to all types of marketing collateral as well, from business cards to websites. When a businessperson approaches me with a nicely designed business card, with a matte finish on heavy cardboard, I immediately think, “Okay, these guys are professional.” Likewise, when I get handed a homemade ink-jet printed slip of paper trying to be a business card, I think, “Hmm… Will their product be this flimsy? Will they not invest in 500 business cards because they are concerned they might not exist long enough to distribute them?”

The main thing with consistency is that customers and prospects see businesses as a join the dots picture. The logo, the website, the products and services themselves, the customer service, and the staff are all connected (and the list goes on!). If any of these dots are out of alignment, the customer or prospect’s perspective on the entire business changes.

A consistent experience

If you ring 1300 Web Pro at 7PM, we’ll probably answer the phone. It’s always diverted to a mobile. If you visit our office, you’ll probably leave with pens, rulers, and stubby coolers, and we’ll probably have offered to send you a restaurant gift certificate on your birthday too! Hopefully you’ll feel a part of the 1300 Web Pro family.

In our business, in every decision we make, no matter how large or small, we try to remember to ask, “Is this the 1300 Web Pro way?”

Get in the habit of constantly asking, when walking around the office, factory, and sales floor, “Is this decision/product/policy/etc consistent with the business’ brand?” If not, maybe you need to experience the 1300 Web Pro difference and get your branding in line today.

Wrap Up

Last week, Mark Jocumsen of Better Business Outcomes added a great comment on Marketing without Money. He suggests using a risk reversal guarantee. If you have any comments on today's article, please be sure to post them!

James Deck
1300 Web Pro
Web: www.1300webpro.com.au
Twitter: @1300WebPro

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