To distinguish youself from others — whether it be restaurant, consumer products, services — it’s important to set yourself apart from the crowd. How to do this?
Branding is creating an identity that when people use one or more of their senses, they know it is you. Home Depot and Lowes are big box home improvement stores, but
if you see Orange in a square you know it’s the Home Depot logo. They take that orange color and their unique typeface and use it in the stores, the ads, the website, the workers, etc. Royal Blue is the signature color for Lowes and that color is used everywhere as a distinguishing characteristic of their branding.
Color is one aspect of branding and an easy one to understand. When you are a Micro or Small Business how will you stand out from a crowded field?
What is your logo and typeface saying about you? What colors do you use in your branding messages – online and traditional? What products and/or services do you offer that are different than the competition’s? Is your location better than your competitors? Prices? What customer service experience do you offer your customers? Does your overall branding message match your marketing message? Branding is a uniform message across all these channels.
For example, if you are selling luxury goods, you won’t want to use comic sans typeface or ‘silly’ styles or nursery colors. You would go with simple, classic, clean design in traditional colors. In branding a nursery school, comic sans and bright pastel colors signal to the buyer that this place relates to children.
For those in a franchise or MLM model, differentiating yourself comes down to you, personally. If you are a franchise or MLM, you are issued directions on everything - signage, location, product, decor, etc. So the only way your franchise can stand out is by your personal service and attention to your customers. People will go out of their way to go to a place that treasures them, and will also go out of their way to avoid a negative experience. They will buy YOU and keep coming back for a great experience. And to continue that branding of excellent personal service that values the customer that YOU have declared, you must train your entire staff to follow that concept or they can kill the branding. In addition, a national franchise must present uniform product – the same food (for example) must taste the same in Georgia and Tennessee. Beware of Yelp!
Stand-alone businesses have the ability to create fantastic marketing plans highlighting their branding. From signage to newsletters, product tags, menus, advertising, giveaway promo pieces, shopping bags, and even name tags. They have the creative leeway to come up with an exciting logo, a target market, and advertising and marketing programs to build their businesses. They can also create a unique customer experience, creating terrific word of mouth advertising.
Speaking of word of mouth, social media is the new word of mouth advertising venue. Using social media and interacting with customers on social platforms creates an opportunity to expand your brand to a wide audience. Using the new Facebook Timeline cover photo is an excellent way to highlight your location and/or your products. Utilize this space as a branding and marketing tool, don’t let it be boring! Showcase your brand and your business!
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