Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Building a Winning Brand

Of all brandsStarbucks takes the cake. Starbucks took the rather uneventful act of buying a cup of coffee and turned it into a user experience. By doing so, it created a memorable brand identity: a unique name and a memorable logo that made coffee more than coffee, but a welcoming place to gather and stay a while. The main point: Starbucks created a culture, not just a company. Use the following tips to create the same.

Develop and Craft your Image
Creating a perfect brand identity is almost impossible, and takes a lot of work. What you're ultimately trying to do is position yourself in front of people who don't want to change their minds. Your brand has to be unique and powerful enough to force your target market out of their consistent buying patterns.

It begins with a name. Starbucks has a great name, and with enough frequency of the message, it has become memorable. This can happen with any name. If Integraphix puts its name out there for enough people to see, it will become a memorable thing in people's minds. This method explains why many of the commonly known names like Apple or Ford are known. Who in their right mind would name a computer company after a fruit? Well, as we all know, Apple is a giant now. So there's your proof. Ford is a family name, but with ingenuity and quality craftsmanship, Ford has become well known in the automobile industry. 

Your logo is just as important as your name. Using Starbucks as an example yet again, their recent rebranding has completely removed the name from their logo. But we still know it's Starbucks right? Apple is the same way, and McDonald's can claim that as well. The logo is the first connection the consumer makes with your company brand and it triggers brand perception. What does your logo need to do? There are some practical considerations to make when having a Graphic Design Company design your logo:

1. Can it be reproduced in several sizes and media types?
2. Does it reflect your target audience?
3. Is the message clear?
4. Is it unique and easily recognizable.

Your logo should also convey an emotional and personality connection and the cleverness should definitely spark that 'Aha!' moment with your consumers. 

Become Known
I know, easy right? Branding happens within the minds of your clients. The message behind that brand is what creates appeal, but you must get the word out to bring in customers. Advertising, promotion, trade shows, direct marketing and search engine optimization are the common ways, and can cost money. Search Engine Optimization is probably the cheapest form of marketing you'll find today and investing can get your online presence bulked up so becoming known isn't as difficult and expensive and buying a billboard or doing a massive direct mailing campaign. A few things you should consider if you're starting off completely new:

1. Listen to people. Don't say everything that comes to your mind; let other people talk before joining the conversation.
2. Ask questions. For the love of design, do not force your opinion on someone. It makes you look really bad.
3. Don't be fake. Have a story and behave the way you want your brand perceived. Brand isn't all about the design - it's about how the people in the company act too. 
4. Offer up your knowledge. It adds to the conversation and makes you look like you know what you're talking about.
5. Respond to people. Consumers and business partners really love having a company respond directly to something they've asked for. It solidifies brand loyalty and company image.
6. Say thank you to your followers. Reward repeat buyers or users for their patronage - whether it's a simple shout out or an actual prize. Do what's in your company budget.

Know what your customers want
When launching a business with limited cash flow, the potential for successfully grounding a brand based on pure zeal and a unique business idea is less likely to succeed than following the market trends and going about your business structure intelligently. You need these five things to even begin to succeed:

1. Do you know how strong your brand perception is? What would make it stronger.
2. Look at other competing brands - are their consumer's satisfied?
3. Will your brand create emotional connections with consumers who are not currently using a product or service like yours?
4. What percentage of your target market is likely to switch over to your company?
5. Do you have the ability to garner brand awareness?

Answer those questions and you can determine the chances of success for your brand. You can conduct focus groups and email polls if you need target market information and to find out if your brand would be recommended over another competitor. Ultimately, to succeed, you need to know how people perceive your company and brand identity. Make sure you position yourself where you know your brand can win.


If you need MarketingWeb Design or Graphic Design assistance, give Integraphix a call. We offer a Free Marketing Analysis to all who walk through our doors.

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