Branding in today’s competitive marketplace means setting yourself apart from your competition. Miriam Webster defines branding as “the promoting of a product or service by identifying it with a particular brand.” Although business owners will agree, branding is a much more complicated and involved process. While getting your company seen by your target audience can be a complex and lengthy process, there are a few “rules of the road” to help get you to where you’d like to be.

The first step in building your brand and getting it into the market place is to take a step back and understand your target audience. What need does your product or service fulfill? Whose pain point do you solve? What do you offer that your competition can’t? Knowing your key customer is essential when beginning the early stages of the branding process. You need to first define why you’re in business so you can then build a brand that successfully communicates that message to your customers.

Once you’ve outlined who your brand needs to reach, evaluate how your brand can communicate your product or service in a concise manner. Your brand is after all, a representation of who you are as a company. Making sure your brand represents your business to the best of its ability is paramount, but there is also a fine balance of ensuring it doesn’t get muddied with too much detail. A great example of a company that started off on the wrong branding foot is Apple. Do you remember the original Apple logo? Most people don’t. It was a detailed drawing of Isaac Newton under an apple tree with “Apple Computer Co” in an elaborate banner border. Steve Jobs quickly realized his brand’s logo was too busy and hired creative designer Rob Janoff who came up with the sleek Apple logo silhouette that we still see today.

The evolution of the Apple logo

To create a sense of loyalty, your brand should also appeal to your customer’s emotional side.  Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Tapping into your core customers emotion through your brand is the most effective way to make a long-lasting impression. While this may seem daunting you can get started by asking yourself, “what do I want to make my customers feel about my product?” Writing down a list of anything that comes to mind is a great way to get the branding juices flowing. Once you’ve exhausted your list, take a step back to work on something else. Return to your list intermittently throughout the day or week. Highlight the emotions you believe in the most and cross out ones that are not as important. Soon you’ll be on your way to understanding the one or two feelings that are critical to your brand.

The last piece of the major branding puzzle is to understand how to make your brand motivate your customers. Creating a sense of urgency to purchase you and only your product or service is critical in today’s competitive environment. If your brand can successfully communicate and emote what you want, but cannot motivate your key market to purchase, your customers will be left without the urge to buy. While several companies use short term sales and markdowns to create a sense of urgency, it’s key to understand that your brand itself should encourage your key customer to purchase.

Establishing a successful brand is akin to fitting pieces into a puzzle. The key is knowing how to merge your customer interests and emotions while creating a clear and concise message. By making sure your brand is speaking to your target audience and creating a sense of loyalty, you can set yourself apart from competitors.

To find out how GrandMark Signs can help with your branding journey, contact us today!

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