All Business Design Studio articles can be linked to for free. Reprint rights are granted for non commercial use only. Please see our reprint policy for commercial use.
Articles for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses
How to Create a Brand that Sticks
Written by Eileen Parzek, © 2003
Most people, when they hear the word branding, think logos - but in fact, branding is really much more than that. A brand involves blending the image, purpose, and focus of your business, with your core marketing message, and coming up with something which will stick in the minds of people who encounter it. As a business or an independent professional, it is who you are and what you do, packaged neatly, clearly, and memorably. A logo is only a tangible representation that works to reinforce a brand.
So - what kind of personality does your business have? Is it conservative
and solid? Outgoing and fun? Or robust and strong? And, what is your business
focused on doing? Whom do you want to work with? How does your business
differ from the competition? And what makes it so special, after all?
Do not try to name every special quality or unique selling point - you
can actually build a brand on just one unique quality! Once you can answer
these questions, you can begin to create your brand. The question is what
you want YOUR brand to leave behind in people's heads.
Once you determine how you want to be remembered, your image and your message will need to communicate that. The image can simply be a consistent look used in all your correspondence, a logo that marks everything that comes from your business, and the identity you use on your web site and brochure. The message can be a tag line, your 30 second "elevator speech," and woven through the content on your web site.
A logo is only one manifestation of brand identity, used to create a memorable impression, but it is useless if you have not clearly defined your audience and the focus of your business. There are plenty of clearly branded businesses using only consistent fonts or colors in their marketing collateral. But whatever you decide chose one image to stick with through all your business communication, and make sure that image is professional. In other words, if you do not have the resources or finances right now to have a professional image developed for you, work with less, rather than using badly formatted clipart or a layout that makes you look amateurish or cheap. That approach can only hurt your business and your brand, so find the level that works for you without a negative effect.
Once you determine what brand you want to create, and have developed an identity to accompany it, the work has just begun. You will need to vigilantly reinforce your brand every moment you are in business. Your brand needs to affect everything your business does, everything you and your employees say, and every bit of information that comes out of your office. Letterhead, invoices, proposals these should all consistently promote your brand. In your voice mail, in your email sig, and every time someone says, "What do you do?" your brand should come out to shine. Domain names and web site content should, again, reinforce your brand. Everywhere you use your brand with consistency, you are communicating with the voice of your company.
Be aware, though, that this does not happen overnight - your brand will
need to build over time. Develop a strong brand, and use it consistently,
and more and more often, your brand will pop into people's minds when
they have a need that you can provide.
Eileen Parzek is a graphic designer and writer providing marketing and web design services. Always found at the intersection of information, creativity and technology, her business, Business Design Studio (www.businessdesignstudio.com) specializes in helping big thinking small businesses market and grow with technology.
|ABOUT - GALLERY - SERVICES - RESOURCES - CONTACT - SEARCH - HOME|
© Copyright 2003-2005 Business Design Studio ®
All Rights Reserved. No portion of this site, including this web page, any sub pages, and any of the graphics, may be copied, retransmitted, reposted, duplicated or otherwise used without the express written permission of Business Design Studio