Branding is a hot topic that comes up frequently in marketing circles, but many small business owners aren’t sure what “branding” means. No, it’s not about hot irons, cows and the Circle K Ranch.
The American Marketing Association defines brand as a name, term, sign, or symbol, or any combination of the latter, intended to identify the products or services of one organization, as well as differentiate them from the products or services of other organizations.
Simply put, branding is the whole picture—how others perceive you, your product, and your business. It’s about recognition and reputation.
What product is this? If I had to venture a guess, most of you said this was a Hershey’s Kiss, and you’d be right…it is a Hershey’s Kiss. But that’s not the product; that’s the brand. The product is CHOCOLATE while the brand is Hershey’s®.
What made you think Hershey’s Kiss? Was it labeled Hershey’s anywhere? Was it the unique shape of the candy? The foil wrapping? The Kisses® tag?
The Hershey’s Kiss® is one of my favorite examples of outstanding branding. Its unique shape and packaging help it stand apart from other chocolate product brands. The Kiss is easily recognizable and immediately associated with the brand Hershey®.
Don’t you wish branding your business could be as simple and as effective as Hershey’s Kisses®? It can be if you start with a little KISS!
K: Keep it simple.
Branding doesn’t require spending thousands of dollars on designing complicated logos, taglines, colors, or images. Understand your customer and how you want them to perceive your business when building your brand.
I: Investigate your competition.
Spend a little time looking at your competition. What elements of their brand do you like or dislike? What seems to work with their buyer base (if it is comparable to your own)? How can you leverage their learnings while still differentiating yourself?
S: Start small.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your brand. Good branding takes time to develop and grow. Before you even get into logos and fonts, start small by establishing or reevaluating your Company’s mission and determining the characteristics you’d like your Company to exhibit. Doing some market research to learn more about your customer base and how they like to be communicated with will also help you establish a brand goal and direction. If your brand has been around for a while, a simple refresh may help bring you to the front of the crowd without abandoning the legacy your brand has already built. A solid brand refresh based on customer research, color psychology, and image perception can be more powerful than a complete rebrand.
S: Stay consistent.
If your brand’s primary colors are a specific shade of blue, use them consistently. If you have a logo, use it in on every piece of customer-facing collateral (digital or print), and in the same way every time. Brand recognition only happens when you are consistent with the brand’s appearance and application.
Branding is a critical element in building your business, and it can be challenging. I hope you enjoyed this installment of Marketing Bytes and we look forward to sharing more about branding and building brand awareness in future blog posts.
Remember, if you have any questions – feel free to comment below or shoot an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Oh, and make sure to bookmark this page and visit often for more tasty Marketing Bytes!
No cows were harmed in the authoring of this post. Hershey’s® and Hershey Kisses® are registered trademarks of Hershey Chocolate & Confectionery Corporation. Hershey Chocolate & Confectionery Corporation is not affiliated with AFC and is not a participant in or sponsor of this blog.
"AFC" refers to Automotive Finance Corporation, Automotive Finance Canada Inc., and AFC Cal, LLC in their respective jurisdictions. All California transactions are through AFC Cal, LLC. California loans will be made pursuant to Department of Business Oversight California Finance Lenders License. Canadian transactions are through Automotive Finance Canada Inc.
© 2017 AUTOMOTIVE FINANCE CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.