Branding is an important piece of any business’ strategic plan, but only if you are able to do it right. You don’t have to be perfect right out of the box, but you should follow a couple very simple but uber important rules of the road.
Consistency Is Key
Branding doesn’t matter if…it’s not consistent. The purpose is to make people think of you when they are in need of your products or services.
Let’s say you’re a REALTOR® and I am a person that goes to the same websites every day. You advertise on one of these websites. Every once in a while I see your advertisement, but truthfully I usually don’t notice if it is there or not. I am not in the market to buy a new home so it doesn’t occur to me to even concern myself with an ad for a REALTOR®. Fast forward six months and I’ve got a new job and a desire to buy a new home. Who do I turn to? Not you. I don’t even remember that your ad showed up on my favorite website.
Change the scenario now to include consistent branding. For six months your ad displays on the website I frequent every day. I don’t always notice it, but when I do it grabs my attention for a quick second. I get my new job, I’m ready to buy a new home and I think of…you and that ad. I call you and you represent me in the buying process.
This is why branding campaigns don’t work if they only give you a percentage of an ad spot on a website. If a site is offering you 10% of the ad space in a particular location on their site, it’s not worth it. Don’t spend the money. If you get 100% of that spot, now we’re talking. It may be a little pricier, but in the end, for branding purposes, it is 100% worth it.
Keep Your Message Clear
Branding doesn’t matter if…it’s not clear. A branding campaign is not about this week’s sale or how many fluffy red pillows you have in stock, it is about your business and the problem you solve for your clients.
Sale items and product specific messaging should be saved for weekly ad campaigns that you’ve specifically laid out in your strategic planning process to drive business for that particular product/sale. Muddying up your branding message with sales/product specifics will hurt your business in the end even if it drives some immediate sales.
Clarity is paramount to a successful campaign. A great example of this is Nike. Ask just about anyone to tell you what the Nike brand is all about and they will inevitably give you some variation on the Just Do It slogan. This is their brand. They have been using this slogan since 1988 and have undoubtedly had many sales events throughout that time, but they have never strayed from that one simple message, Just Do It.
Speaking to the importance of simplicity and clarity, the Just Do It slogan was actually suggested to Nike by a 4th grader. So much for marketing geniuses on Madison Avenue.
Branding doesn’t matter if it’s not clear and consistent. If you can keep these two things in mind when developing your message, you’ll find yourself running a very successful campaign and even on the most local of levels, you’ll develop a recognizable brand for your business.
If you need help defining your brand messaging, drop us a line and let us help you start building your dreams today.