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, labelling 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 fridge magnet at their friends' houses, on tote bags, on a pen 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 meaning
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 colleagues.
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 ZhongYi Promotions
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.