Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen . . . CAN “Spoil the Pot” and Spoil Your Brand Impact
Small business owners — especially solo-preneurs — tend to ask everyone they meet for an opinion when it comes to marketing. They fall prey to the DELUSION that the more people they ask, the more they will learn about how to market their business. Trick is . . . for every person they ask, they are guaranteed to get a different opinion, which quite often leaves the business owner even more confused.
Unfortunately, this DELUSION leads to brand DILUTION.
Avoid the Dilution of your Brand Message through Visual, Verbal and Virtual Consistency.
If you are not comfortable in making marketing decisions, hand that responsibility over to ONE trusted partner. Having one primary marketing partner to help you craft your overall brand strategy will create a clear and consistent marketing message.
- Visual Message. Scattering your design projects among several designers will do just that — scatter your image and create confusion. Develop a visual brand strategy that supports your brand message and stick to ONE professional designer that understands visual brand strategy.
- Verbal Message. There is so much more to writing marketing copy than stringing words together into a sentence. Your consumer is more likely to remember you when you have a consistent tone and message written by ONE professional writer/editor.
- Virtual Message. Not all web designers are web developers (and vice-versa). If you are lucky, you’ll find one that does both. The same goes for SEO and/or Social Media — trust ONE expert to set you up with a customized plan.
Resist the Delusion of Getting Something for Free.
Barter is not always best. Smarter is best. Everyone is on a budget and looking for ways to stretch a dollar, yet if the outcome of your “trade for services” brings about chaos and confusion with your consumer, then you have essentially gotten what you paid for (nothing), and you’ve wasted everyone’s time (which by the way, is valuable). Choose “smarter” — and make decisions based upon what is best for your brand message.
Trust Your Instincts.
At your gut level, you know what is best for your business. Learn to trust those instincts. Avoid the temptation to “collect” a cadre of disparate designers, writers and web developers — find a few key players whom you trust to help you develop your “big picture” brand and trust them to help you craft a consistent brand message. Creating a clear and consistent Visual, Verbal and Virtual message for your consumer serves to clarify and solidify your brand and strengthen your client/consumer relationships – and will cost you less in the long run.
Secret of Self-Publishing: SUCCESS
By JEFFREY A. TRACHTENBERG | October 31, 2011
Self-publishing these days is increasingly a tale of two cities.
There are established authors, like Nyree Belleville, who says she’s earned half a million dollars in the past 18 months selling direct rather than through a publisher.
LOGOS & COLOR
As Leatrice Eiseman executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, explains in her book Color Messages and Meanings, “While it is a given that a successful brand logo is a happy marriage of shapes, symbols and colors, it is truly the colors that evoke the emotional message.”
Many leading brands are so linked to specific hues that they are primarily recognized by their color or colors.
Think Tiffany blue, Coke red, American Express blue, Kodak yellow and red, or DeWalt black and yellow. “Tiffany Blue” is the colloquial name for the blue color associated with Tiffany & Co., the New York City jewelry company. Tiffany Blue is a specific shade of light blue; it is very similar to the blue of a robin’s egg. The color is produced as a private custom color by Pantone, with PMS number 1837. As a trademarked color, it is not publicly available and is not printed in the Pantone Matching System swatch books.
When a color and design “signature” is established, it becomes the brand identifier that reinforces the image in the marketplace. This includes print and collateral materials, websites, packaging, point-of-purchase displays, signage, as well as the product itself, creating what is termed a “total brand experience”.
To your customer, when joining your “tribe”, color becomes a subliminal part of the brand experience. Whenever they shop or seek information about your brand, color serves to reinforce your brand and helps to establish that they will receive the same quality and service across many platforms.
In the 1990’s, we had “IDENTITY”. In the 21st century, the word “Brand” has become the buzz-word – the “catch-all” phrase – for marketing one’s business. At it’s core, it begs the answer to the question, “Who are you and why are you here”? Brand Experts can be found on just about every corner of the Universe – each defining “brand” in their own way. SO, how DO you identify the best branding counsel for you/your business?
- Experience – Rely on those who have worked in branding and marketing for more than a “few years”; avoid those who have added “branding” as a means to expand their other core services
- Effectiveness – Whose identity do you admire? – Ask them for a referral. If you admire a national brand, it’s fine to follow their example – emulate, but don’t copy.
- Expertise – If the wheels on your car are out of alignment, you take it to a car care professional; if your brand identity is out of focus, you seek out a reputable brand professional
Brand. Identity. Imprint. Stamp.
When we get an envelope in the mail with a fancy stamp, our curiosity often prompts us to open that envelope first.
When we want to attract new business, we are really asking for a “Stamp of Approval” from our new customer. Our “brand” is our business identity . . . our unique imprint . . . our one-of-a-kind STAMP.
How do we Develop a Distinctive S.T.A.M.P.?
S = Focus on how to best SERVE our customers
T = Instill TRUST with our customers and our employees
A = Make it easy to ACCESS our business and products
M = Tailor our MESSAGE and MEDIUM to reach our audience
P = Honor our PROMISES with a commitment to excellence
Bezos, Branson & Buffet on Brand:
“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” – Jeff Bezos
“The brand is only as good as our products, so . . .
if people have a good experience . . .
then they’ll try the next product that we launch.”
– Richard Branson
“Your . . . brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business.” – Warren Buffett
HOW CURRENT IS YOUR BRAND?
Staying Current. Going with the Current. Current Events. Current Status.
If you’ve been following this blog, you may recall the discussion regarding the 3 C’s of Branding:
I’m now adding a 4th “C”: CURRENCY. Not necessarily in the traditional sense of CASH — but rather in the sense of Brand Currency, AKA: Brand Current-cy . . .
Everyone knows Heinz Ketchup. But Heinz brand aficionados can also stock up on Heinz Mustard — a direct response to consumer feedback to develop product options for sandwich lovers. Heinz stayed CURRENT with consumer demand.
If your Brand defines who you are and how you and your business is perceived, how CURRENT is your Brand?
- How current is your logo, tag line and overall messaging?
- Is your current message aligned with current media?
- Are you current with your commitments — personal AND financial?
- Are you current in returning phone calls and following up with emails?
- How current is that list (or stack) of TO-DO’s?
- Are you currently addressing the needs of your consumer based upon their needs TODAY (vs. when you started your business 5 or 10 years ago)?
It doesn’t matter whether you offer consumer products or professional services, paying attention to your Brand Currency (and Current-cy) has a direct correlation to the flow of currency in your life.
Conscious Color Choices.
Ultimately, when developing a new brand for our clients, we have the “color” talk. Whether designing a new logo, website graphics, store signage or collateral marketing materials, we find ourselves in the role of “Color Psychologist”. The colors you choose to represent you and your business are vital in crafting the response you want from your consumer.
Color Defines Us.
What does color say about your business?
The success of your brand logo lies in a cohesive combination of fonts, shapes, symbols and colors.
Color helps to define the ultimate emotional message and long-term recognition of your brand.
- Think “Coca-Cola”, and you see RED.
- Think “AT&T”, and you see BLUE.
- Think “John Deere” and you see GREEN.
- Think “Home Depot” and you see ORANGE.
4 Steps for Choosing Your Color Identity:
Appropriate color choices serve to reinforce and embed your brand image in the marketplace.
Just because you love the color red does not necessarily mean that it is the best choice for your business identity. Consider these four essential elements of choosing colors for your business identity:
- Research your competition. Differentiating your brand is vital to creating an independent, successful identity.
- Reflect your purpose. Know your company’s mission, vision and values and let that come through in your visual, verbal and virtual message.
- Consider your audience. Consumers react subliminally to line, shape and color – be aware of what you want your brand to say about your business.
- Know your color psychology. Let color define the emotional connection between your business and your consumer.
Emotional vs. Rational Purchasing.
As consumers, we make most purchases based upon perception, not logic.
As much as 95% of our shopping decisions are dictated by our subconscious. Conversely, only 5% of decision-making is rational. If most decision-making is intuitive and emotional, the appropriateness and first impression of color is critical.
and develop a strong, compelling image for your business.
DEFINE your business focus.
· What are you REALLY selling?
· What is your customer REALLY buying?
DESIGN your business image.
· What does your graphic image say about you?
· Does your graphic image help to sell your product/service?
DELIVER your business message.
· How are you communicating with your customer?
· What marketing tools do you use to reach that customer?