Identity. It’s at the heart of every human interaction. It’s how we distinguish ourselves. It’s how we communicate with one another. And what goes for individual interactions, goes for any business segment. A brand communicates both reputation and consistency– a brief but unmistakable summary of the underlying message and whatever associations they elicit. McDonald’s is as much of a brand as Kanye West is. And like it or not, so are you.
But chances are, you’re not spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to define your brand.
Nor do you necessarily have to, even if you’re operating a seven-figure business. What you may not know about corporate branding is that it isn’t just a memorable logo or a catchphrase. It’s the overall impression you make on your customers. And it can develop almost overnight, even when you’re least expecting it.
For the average Fortune 500 company, brand recognition is largely dependent on what’s typically considered full scale marketing: advertising, logo development, promotions and wide scale reputation. But for a smaller startup company, corporate branding is just as dependent on customer service as it is on the distinction between your product and your competitors.
One of the chief reasons for Amazon’s success is the fact that there was nothing like it before, neither physically nor virtually. It distinguished itself overnight by offering a fresh, vital and novel approach to retail sales. Amazon’s services soon grew from novelty to necessity for millions of global consumers. While you may not be considering scaling your business to reach Amazon’s figures any time soon, it is still imperative that you consider how you’re distinguishing your services from your competitors. Think about the following points in particular:
Aside from what distinguishes your product or service, most consumers are just as motivated by visual appeal as they are by your strengths. In fact, more so. Recent studies have indicated that consumers are just as likely to base their inferences about a product’s attributes on design as much as they will on its context. Without a visual mark — whether it’s your logo, your site design, or image and video-rich content — you won’t stand a chance in developing that context.
But more importantly, visual branding is what establishes your business. It’s what helps give it shape. Visual branding gives your product recognition and value. It’s what makes you stand apart to customers; and that memorability is what can give your company leverage, no matter what industry you’re in. Corporate branding is what gives you an entirely new market share and value. Don’t think of it as simply your promotional material. Think of it as an investment in your long term success.
Marketing strategies can be one of the most time-consuming and costly processes for your business. They demand constant visibility, awareness and optimization in order to be effective. These strategies need to be constantly measured, audited and refined based on their past success and their relevance to trends and new developments.
Visual branding is more than just an indicator. It’s an anchor. It’s what can help give your company a coherent identity, no matter how ever-changing and sometimes incomprehensible the marketing landscape can be. By establishing a recognizable visual aspect, you’re effectively minimizing the need for expensive campaigns as your operation grows and continues to refine itself. This doesn’t mean your business shouldn’t adapt to those changes and shifts when they occur. On the contrary, adaptation is a key component of survival. What it means is that much of the legwork will have already been done by establishing brand reputation, which will free up two of your most important business resources: time and efficacy.
Success doesn’t just come from product strength alone. It comes from reputation. To see how I’ve been helping thousands of businesses optimize their brand and their message for over twenty years, visit me at michaeltasner.com.