Creating and Investing in Your Brand
1. Be Distinctive
You tend to get the most bang for your branding buck when you
generate a powerful contrast with competitors' images. Do something
different. It also can save on the angst when an aggressive
established competitors decides to cause you some legal grief by
claiming an infringement of intellectual property.
The more times your slogans, logo, stories, colors, themes, values
and other elements are presented to your market, the greater their
effect. Generally you're better off creating thousands of small
impressions than spending it all on one blow-out event. This starts
with getting your image right and then reproducing it on elements
like business cards, letterhead, labeling and envelopes, in
addition to promotional products.
Which radio and TV ads can you remember, or annoyingly pop into your
head when you’re thinking about something else? No matter how catchy
those jingles or songs are they wouldn't be inside your head if you
heard them only once. When prospective customers also see your logo
on a sandal at their friends' houses, on visor, on a key ring
they receive in addition to a bit of crossover from your media
advertising you will start to make a branding impact.
Branding works best when you use the same colors, the same musical
theme, the same company name and the same symbols in all company
materials and environments.
This sounds obvious, but even marketing majors like IBM have
neglected this rule. In the early 1990's, IBM had several hundred
different logos and slogans circulating. In mid-1994, it developed a
central strategy and brand management system. Partly as a result IBM
rose to the position of the world's third most valuable brand from
position number 282 the year before.
Those within a company will be tempted to change the image of a
brand way before it's time to do so. Never, never modify or update a
central element of a brand just because you're tired of it. If it's
working, it can continue working for decades.
5. Don't Water it Down.
A brand must stand for something and must be linked with something
specific in the minds of your public. For instance, if you owned a
locally well-known travel agency and inherited a toy store, you'd be
better off keeping the identity of the toy store or inventing a new
brand for it than trying to extend the travel agency's brand to
toys. Brand identities can stretch only so far before they lose all
6. Give Your Logo Away!
The more often people encounter your brand identity, the more you
receive the benefits of familiarity, credibility and visibility.
Giving away imprinted merchandise to potential buyers inexpensively
keeps your brand in front of them. Tens of thousands of promotional
items exist besides the familiar paperweights, coffee cups, T-shirts
and jelly bean jars. Hold them out as premiums for sizeable or
frequent orders, or as prizes in monthly drawings.
Ironically, giving people a chance to win your promotional items
often prompts inquiries from people who are willing to buy them.
Some companies have even turned their imprinted merchandise into a
profit centre in addition to gaining greater visibility. BMW owners
can flaunt their identification with their cars by buying $85
jackets or $195 watches bearing BMW-related insignia.
Harley-Davidson's merchandise for bike owners brings in more than
$200 million a year for the company, not counting the indirect
benefits of having so many branded items in circulation.
7. Word of Mouth Made Easy.
Hotmail and MCI are two companies that grew from nothing by making
it easy or providing incentives to tell friends and relatives about
their company. You can spread your brand quickly on a smaller scale
by, for example, enclosing two business cards or promotional magnets
in a mailing instead of just one, sending two hats when they ordered
one and providing lots of opportunities for people to request
brochures, catalogues or identity merchandise for friends and
8. Be Prepared to Evolve
Brands may need to change when they're perceived as misrepresenting
the current position of a company, or if it looks like you’re out of
step with the times. It is dangerous ground to tread, but every
brand is occasionally updated, and the great majority must be or be
left behind by the advancing market and competition.
Don’t fall into the trap of doing things the way everyone else does
them, or following conservative advice based on the supposed
“industry standards”. Forging your own niche and being seen to be
different in a competitive market is the best way to have a
breakthrough result from a campaign or promotion.
10. Seek Legal Protections
Registering a trademark gives you a measure of legal exclusivity on
your brand identity, including sometimes even a colour scheme, a
product's look and feel or an interior decorating scheme.
11. Talk to Vlin Footwear
If you want to build a brand or increase the attention you get from
your market give us a call and we'll give you a no obligation
assessment of the best way to achieve your objectives.