Your brand means everything to you and is how you’re recognized by customers. We have even known a client or two to tattoo theirs on certain body parts. Therefore, we take developing your brand very seriously. We think big and create ideas strategically. We don’t settle and understand the devil is in the details; details that lead to increased awareness, top-of-mind recognition and instinctive, ninja-like customer response on a frequent and consistent basis.
From SMART Marketing Solutions’ website; branding services
My agency was recently retained by a new client to provide branding, among other, services. This branding project included not only logo and tagline design/development but also product and company naming—our favorite types of branding projects to work on, where we can add tangible value to a company, from the very start. It’s true that even before you have a working product (or even a prototype) and a pretty and/or compelling business plan, that a good brand can add significant (investor) value. Understanding the importance (as per above), we got right to work…
The first part of our branding exercise, as the case with most other marketing tactics, was the strategic marketing exercise. In this exercise we interviewed the management team and asked key questions about the business, product and other points of relevance. Extra attention is always given to the customer audience(s), benefits (in order of priority), key message, hurdles/challenges and tone/manner. The feedback was documented in a marketing brief; a pseudo playbook for creative and copy direction going forward for not only this project but for mostly all other marketing executions. A few extra questions were used in this exercise, specific to branding. These included:
- Who exactly is Company X? And ,what do we promise our customers?
- What is our business? (Keep in mind what is most obvious might not be your business at all. For example, if you asked this question about McDonalds, the most obvious answer would be “Fast Food” when in fact it’s “A Family Dining Experience”)
- What is the dramatic difference or key differentiator of our company/product/brand vs. the competition? (We try to squeeze out the most defendable one of the bunch here. Customer service is not very defendable)
- What is the tone/manner of our brand? (i.e. professional, fun, attentive)
- What are some hurdles or challenges we may need to overcome? (Is there a past event or incident like a customer service issue that should be acknowledged. It’s likely that with a simple word or image, most of that can be squelched in advance)
- What are some words and images that should be/should not be used?
- What images and colors do we associate our brand with?
This information was comprehensively documented, reviewed, edited and then approved with consensus by the management team. From there it was carefully translated by a team of thinkers, writers and designers into a name, logo, and tagline via some back and forth with the client. The process cannot be rushed. It works. And, it has not failed us to date…
What Goes into a Good Brand?
Laura Lake in her About.com article “What is Branding and How Important is it to Your Marketing Strategy?” suggests that a good brand will achieve the following objectives:
- Delivers the message clearly
- Confirms your credibility
- Connects your target prospects emotionally
- Motivates the buyer
- Concretes User Loyalty
I like to add to that by saying “A Good Brand…”
- Tells a unique and interesting story
- Adds value
- Communicates what business you are really in and how well you know that
- Shares/conveys your promise
Essentially, a good brand does not merely describe a business, but rather connects a business/product or service with customers via their emotions. Lake goes on to say that a good brand is “the sum total of their (customers’) experiences and perceptions, some of which you can influence, and some that you cannot.” The brand lives on in the hearts and minds of those customers and has deep value and expectations, much like any relationship.
The RITE Brand
We completed the project and the client was well satisfied. Check out the brand (finished product on home page and branding portfolio page) for RITE Coffee Experience. See if it passes the test of being a good brand if you can answer the following questions:
- Can you tell what business RITE Coffee Experience is really in? What do you think they promise?
- Does this brand tell an interesting and unique story? If so, what is it? Are you curious to find out?
- Does the RITE Coffee Experience brand connect with you on a personal, perhaps a religious or emotional level? Does it remind you of anything or take your mind to a special event or setting?
- Can you tell the corporate tone/manner from this brand? (hint: check out the CEO’s title in the business card)
- Does the brand motivate you in any way? Why and what elements (perhaps the tangerine tango color or stars) move you particularly?
- If you were pitching RITE Coffee Experience to friends or investors, without tasting the product or service or knowing anyone that worked there and what type of company it was, do you think this brand would add value to generating interest?
How does your brand stack up? It’s never too late to improve your brand or simply re-do it. Remember the devil is in the details; details that lead to increased awareness, top-of-mind recognition and instinctive, ninja-like customer response on a frequent and consistent basis.
About the Author
Angelo Biasi is General Manager of SMART Marketing Solutions, LLC, a leading full-service integrated marketing company in Florida and New York since 2001. He has helped create and execute marketing plans and integrated marketing solutions for companies such as Playtex, Bic, Rogaine, Tauck, and over 35 colleges and universities, to name a few. Angelo has an MBA in Marketing from the University of Connecticut and teaches Marketing at New York University where he has for over six years. He has been quoted and/or featured in USA Today, Mobile Marketer magazine, Mobile Commerce Daily, Luxury Marketing magazine, BNET TV and Business Currents magazine, to name a few. For more information or to learn more, email him at abiasismartmarketingllccom (abiasismartmarketingllccom) , visit www.smartmarketingllc.com, call him at 239.963.9396 and follow him on Twitter @angbiasi.