While watering plants last Spring, I stumbled upon this fledgling sprout in a hanging basket. I immediately thought it would make a good stock photo, but soon realized how it also taught a great lesson in brand building.
Yes, those mighty maples in my yard have been protecting my home from nature’s sudden turns, much like a well-nurtured brand provides cover from market uncertainties.
And, the same way in which a business should propagate its brand through strategic outreach, those maples were maintaining their own seasonal ritual of proliferation, sowing whirling seeds of distinction within, around and beyond my property line.
If your branding efforts aren’t branching out beyond your customer base, you’re missing an opportunity for them to take root in areas where they can add real value to your business. Potential investors, career-seekers, local media … they each should know who you are, what you stand for, and why it matters.
Your brand and your business should matter to all of them.
If you want to stand out from the rest of the forest, sow your own seeds of distinction as broadly as you can.
Uncover Your Own Path to Greatness.
It’s important to look like you belong in your market. But, it’s more important to promote your own uniqueness. Remember, your brand and identity is about differentiation. It’s not about being like the others.
What Do You Want Your Business to Look Like Five Years from Now?
If your brand cannot adapt to change, you could end up burning cycles recovering what you lost instead of spending your time building on what you have. As Ben Franklin once put it, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
A Story that’s Never Completely Told.
Building a great brand is never once-and-done. It’s more than a name, logo and graphics. It’s a frame of mind — an experience — with a narrative that stays relevant and makes its audience part of the story.
The Tagline: Your Stake in the Ground
The tagline is not about who you are or what you sell. It’s about them: your target audience. So, you better make sure it’s concise, direct and memorable, so they recall it the each time they hear your name.
Start-ups Need to Get Branding Right out of the Gate.
The bankruptcy courts are full of great ideas that were undermined by ineffective branding and promotion. Build it and they will come? No, they won’t. Not unless you make them really want to. Or, better yet, need to.
Brand Identity: A Demanding Task, But One Worth Undertaking
If you’re looking to create a new brand identity or enhance your current one, expect to be deeply involved, regularly challenged and perhaps a bit frustrated. It surely won’t happen overnight. But your patience will certainly pay off.
A Great Brand Requires Enduring Vision
As the year closes, ask yourself how your current challenges and objectives align with your overall vision. Have you lost your way, or are you sticking to your Brand Promise? Is it still meaningful to your customers and prospects? Have you allowed yourself the room to evolve with their needs, or have you boxed yourself in?
What’s in a Name, Anyway?
If your business is like ours, you don’t have a bottomless marketing budget to build awareness of a name that lacks clarity. We have to be more calculated and deliberate.
Three Major Hurdles of Business Naming.
Business naming is the hardest part of what we do. Aside from the creative challenges, there are three major hurdles we have to leap. For every name we present, there are, literally, dozens of candidates that never make the cut. The client never sees any of those.
The One Thing We all Share and What to Do with It.
Even if you’re selling widgets, there’s something more that you offer that distinguishes your business in a positive way. It’s what your customers truly gain from you that they can’t get from anyone else. It’s this frame of mind that defines your business more than anything.