HOW WILL YOU STAND OUT?
Step-by-step instructions for creating & refining your brand image.
The purpose of branding is to define who you are and what you stand for. Branding is important for small businesses because it is what sets you apart from your competition and makes you unique and different. You can learn more about to determine your What, Why, How, & Who.
Take a look at the top 5 reasons of the importance of branding with examples below.
You need to build brand awareness for your business. This is your name, logo, and colors. People don’t remember things if they see it once or twice. You have to stay in front of them, often and consistently.
For example, think about bigger companies that you see and how they are consistent with their look, feel, and message. How about these top recognized brands: Google, Coca-Cola, Disney, McDonald’s, Starbucks, & UPS?
When you see a brown van driving down the road, you automatically know it’s your UPS driver dropping off a package at your front door. When you are on a road trip and see the golden arches at the next town, you know you can go through the drive-thru and get a Big Mac, fries, and Coke and know exactly how it’s going to taste.
I am using bigger companies as examples because they are more obvious and easier to understand the overall clarity of branding. Remember, they once started off as a small business, too. Their brand clarity is a big part of the equation that helped them grow and have the brand recognition they have today.
McDonald’s Branding Example
Logo: golden arches
Colors: red and yellow
Tagline: “I’m Lovin’ It”
Personality: fun & cheerful
Identity: fast & consistent (you know what is on the menu), family-friendly (Happy Meals & Ronald McDonald and gang)
Image: their actual practices vs. marketing. Do they keep their promise?
Brand Recognition is so much more than just a logo, name, and colors. People recognize their business identity because over time they built consistency with their promise of what they delivered and how they did it.
Brand recognition supports your marketing strategy and efforts. You must always keep your customers in mind when developing your branding. Do you have a clear ideal client avatar to help you with this?
How do you want people to perceive your business? Are you a budget or luxury company? Will you have sales and promotions? Are you fun or serious? Do you have a charity you support and donate a portion of your sales to? What is your message overall?
Perception will create an impression and remember that first impressions are within 3 seconds of someone seeing your brand. You want to create a message that will attract your ideal client/customer and something that you can keep your promise on.
It also creates expectations. Just as you expect your customer to complete tasks that you provide them, they in return expect you to deliver the solution to their problem as you promise you will.
Not only is perception important for your clients/customers, but it is also important for growing your business. This is what will attract good employees and keep them motivated to achieve results. It is important to define your vision and mission and set goals so everyone is clear on the future of the business.
Perception of Starbucks
Luxury: You can make yourself a cup of coffee at home for under $1, but Starbucks is a luxury that people will splurge on for the doubleshot espresso.
Logo: With the green logo, even though the coffee may not be the healthiest, it shouts lifestyle. It has become a part of life’s balance for many people as a way to kickstart the day or an afternoon pick-me-up.
Charity: The Starbucks Foundation focuses on giving back to local communities.
Consistency: You know what to expect on the menu as well as taste. Starbucks customers find their favorite blend and can expect this to be replicated every time they visit.
Your Brand Evokes Emotion
It is your story. People are drawn to a story they can relate to what speaks directly to them. Your business is about solving a problem and providing a solution. People need help and when you find your ideal client/customer to help, they are going to feel it emotionally and be relieved you have found them to help them. (Even if it’s just a fast bite to eat from McDonald’s to satisfy their growling tummy)
The first thing people see before they get to know your brand is the logo and colors. Colors are psychological. When you are creating your brand, keep in mind how you want someone to feel when they see it.
McDonald’s uses golden yellow and red. Yellow is perceived as warm and positive and red invokes energy and stimulates the appetite. Why do you think you see red on so many restaurant and food logos? McDonald’s, Chick-fil-a, Coca-Cola, and Dairy Queen for example.
What emotions to do you want your client/customer to feel right away. What will draw them in to take a closer look for what you have to offer?
Colors Creating Emotion & Examples
Red: bold, urgency, energy, invokes hunger. Examples: Coca-Cola, Nabisco, Lego, Nintendo, Avis, Pinterest
Orange: friendly, cheerful, confident. Examples: Nickelodeon, Payless, Harley Davidson
Yellow: warmth, positivity, clarity. Examples: Subway, BestBuy, Post-It
Green: health, balance, growth. Examples: Whole Foods, Starbucks, Tropicana, Animal Planet, Spotify
Blue: trustworthy, strong, secure. Examples: Intel, Dell, IBM, Lowes, Facebook, Ford, Nasa, American Express, Wal-Mart
Purple: creative, royalty, wise. Examples: Hallmark, Yahoo!, Cadbury, Wonka, FedEx
Black: classic, power, serious. Examples: Gucci, Chanel, Prada
Branding is important to build trust. You must deliver what you promise. Once you can prove that you will deliver what you promise, your clients and customers will trust you for more.
How do you build trust?
- Quality products and services with fair prices
- Excellent customer service
- Good reviews (social proof)
- Transparency, honesty, and integrity
- Building relationships with your client/customer
Example: How Does Southwest Airlines Build Trust
What separates Southwest from the other airlines is the way they do business differently. They are known for their fun-loving vibe, no assigned seats, no first-class, and no extra fees for luggage.
Customer Service: They are known to be friendly and cheerful and they like to have fun. They don’t serve meals, but you do get a drink and snack. They keep it simple & consistent.
Reviews: Even though they are not a luxury airline company, they get great reviews. People like their dependability, friendly customer service, and fair prices. They have great social proof & recommendations of why you should fly with them.
Values: Southwest Airlines core values are Warrior’s Spririt (stive to be the best), Servant’s Heart (treat others with respect), and Fun-LUVing attitude (be passionate, but not too serious).
Southwest airlines have built trust with their customers to deliver the same fun and unique service every time they fly.
Branding is Important for Creating Loyalty
Loyalty comes from customer satisfaction. Think of a business that you follow and buy from often. What did they do to make you a loyal customer? What key things can you take away from your experience that you can implement into your business strategy for branding?
I am going to use Disney as a personal example for this one because my family and I are very loyal Disney followers. How did we become so loyal? Because of their strong branding. We love the customer service and our quality family time spent together making memories whether it’s at a park, on a cruise, or watching a movie.
It’s important to see how all of the above plays into loyalty. It costs you more in time and money to create new clients/customers than it does to keep the ones you have.
Example: How Disney Creates Loyalty
Customer Service: If you are taking a family vacation to Walt Disney World, they send you information and mail saying how excited they are you are visiting. When you go back home, they send you a thank you and sometimes a gift and tell you to visit again soon.
Emotion: When you arrive at a Disney resort, they say “Welcome Home”. They always make sure to do something special if you are celebrating anything, even if it’s a button and lots of best wishes. The music and smells they pipe into their parks, resorts, and stores even if you aren’t paying attention create emotion.
Perception: Family fun. Disney is about escaping reality and creating memories. Even the movies always have a hero and happy ending based around family. Disney is family.
Image: The marketing and practices are aligned. What you see is what you get.
Consistency: Every time we visit a Disney park, resort, cruise, store, or even watch a movie, we know exactly what to expect and what we are going to get. Disney fans will pay more for a Disney vacation because they are loyal to the brand.
In the end, when you put this all together, you can see why branding matters. Truly, when you do it right, your branding will generate new revenue from sales and provide your business growth. Part of this is from loyal clients/customers that give you good reviews and referrals.
If you need help identifying your client/customer or time to revamp your brand to make it stronger, grab the Branding Guide below.
HOW WILL YOU STAND OUT?
Step-by-step instructions for creating & refining your brand image.
You Got This!
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