BRANDING THAT DELIVERS … a 3 Legged Stool of Support
BRANDING THAT DELIVERS
… a 3 Legged Stool of Support
Now we can make this real complicated and academically opaque, or we can get down to the essence of branding for small businesses. The latter is the chosen route.
Branding identifies a company and its products/services in a way that is both memorable and distinguishes it from the competition. Let’s start with memorable.
Memorable means that your brand successfully positions you to attain and maintain top-of-mind awareness with your TOMA Audience (customers, referral partners & prime prospects). If you are memorable, you will enjoy being noteworthy and significant, plus –
A-1, big-league, bodacious, catchy, celebrated, critical, crucial, decisive, distinguished, doozie, enduring, eventful, extraordinary, famous, great, heavy-weight, illustrious, important, impressive, major-league, meaningful, notable, red-letter, remarkable, stand-out, striking, super, terrific, top-drawer and unforgettable.
If you are not memorable to your TOMA Audience, then you will not enjoy top-of-mind awareness, but you will be:
Forgettable, insignificant and unimpressive.
Distinguish Your Brand from the Pack
The competitive landscape may be described as seeing a large group of competitors all yelling, “Look at me! Look at me!” The chant comes down to each trying to communicate being the best.
Your job is to rise above the noise level and be seen as the vendor of choice … distinguished from your competitors by demonstrating how you are qualitatively different … not just the best.
Three Key Brand Ingredients
In developing your brand, include three critical elements.
- Company name
Ideally, your company name describes what you do. For example, there is a company called Partnership Staffing, Inc. Guess what they do. Yup. They are a staffing company that provides employer’s with temporary and full-time employees.
The Growth Coach Richmond is another example. There is no denying the services this organization delivers.
Your logo is the quick-glance identifier of your business. A symbol or image is usually much more readily identified than text. Viewing the two companies described above, take a look at their logos. Both are attractive plus readily identifiable and memorable.
The Growth Coach logo depicts a graphical representation of an upward trajectory of growth.
The Partnership Staffing logo is memorable in both use of colors and a link of the three initials to the company name.
A tag-line is the third element in your branding strategy. Your tag-line will instantly deliver the message of what you do and what results your customers can expect.
For example, a property management firm named KRS Holdings, Inc. uses the tag-line, “Prudent Management of Your Property Assets”. This is an excellent blending of what KRS Holdings promises and the benefits to its customers.
Building on Your Brand
Small businesses that serve a relatively local clientele have a single branding challenge – creating and maintaining top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) – both now and long-term. That means make sure you are remembered by delivering on what is memorable to your TOMA Audience.
Some key elements of becoming “memorable” to your customers, prospects and referral partners (your TOMA Audience):
- under-promise and over-preform;
- pursue quality, relentlessly, in your offerings;
- train emplotees, continually, in excellent customer service,
- be visible in your contributions of the community;
- solicit feedback from your customers to show your appreciation for both their business and their good counsel on how they want you to treat them;
- communicate with your TOMA audience on a regular schedule using a variety of media.
Your reward: top-of-mind awareness of your brand and product/service offerings.
Protecting Your Brand
Your brand may well take years to be widely recognized. That means a lot of time, effort and money on your part to create and promote your brand. Therefore, a prudent step is to protect your name, logo and perhaps even your tag-line from being copied or otherwise misused. That is accomplished through trade marking.
Your customers and prospects make buying decisions every day. Your referral sources are referring every day. And the decision choice is the same for all: who is the top-of-mind provider. Your challenge is to create and maintain top-of-mind brand awareness. That way you ensure being at the top of the list when the buying or referral decision is to be made.