Branding and Logos: What We Are Learning
There are many companies that, when you see their logo, you instantly know who they are and what they offer. Here are some examples that you already know.
The golden arches? McDonald's.
Many years ago, there was "Have a ____ and a smile." Remember that? Coca Cola!
"The Home of the Whopper." Burger King.
And when you see two bovines with misspelled words and drippy paint, encouraging you to "Eat Mor Chikin", that delightful example would be Chik-Fil-A!
These well-known businesses have spent much money and time to develop their branding and logos and they've obviously been extremely successful.
Chances are very good that if you work for an employer, they probably have a logo and branding. Some businesses create a persona that sometimes is bigger than life, like the above referenced companies.
But branding is not equal to a logo. If you own your own business, or aspire to having one, building your brand takes a great deal of work and time, and it doesn't happen instantaneously. It takes months and even years for that to occur.
I remember when my wife and I went to a truck drivers' social media convention several years ago. One couple, as they walked in the door said, "Look; there's Truck drivers Money Saving Tips.com", as this is one of our business's outreach to professional truck drivers.
Because we have been active on various social media platforms, the curve has been lessened somewhat. It still has taken us literally years, much money, and a distinctive logo, to get to be recognized. There are still so many who still do not know of us yet, but we continue to press on.
Our branding statement changed just a couple of years ago, and it reflects our commitment to all professional drivers. Along with that, our distinctive logo was created to help professional drivers know that this is the place to come for money saving tips and ideas. Because we put a great deal of thought into it, it has changed very little.
It's been a long labor of love to make this happen!
So when it comes to branding and logos, think through just exactly what you want to accomplish with your business.
Here are some ideas that we have learned, and are still learning even today.
1. Determine who your customers are going to be. This is your target market. You must perform a great deal of market research to know as much about them as you can. It's not a good idea to say, "Oh, everyone is in my target market." That's much too broad. You're just not going to be effective in reaching them all.
2. What is your mission statement? Do you have a mission statement? It's what sets you apart from your competition.
For our professional truck driver market, our statement is: "Because truck drivers know that no driver deserves to be stung financially." We share that out of our own experiences because it happened to us several times.
Individuals in the trucking community knows they can get information that will work, will help them save time and money, and buy products and services that will benefit them and their financial bottom line.
3. In developing your branding and logo, having a few words is to your benefit. We like blue as a color, so taking YouTube as a small degree of inspiration, we have created our very simple logo with that in mind for our Media Solutions services. Our mission statement shares that we are "Your trusted consultancy providing custom videos & other media solutions."
As we have started reaching out, individuals and businesses have trusted us in helping to provide a valuable service to them, and we will work hard to continue that trend. When it comes to the language that you use, be deliberate in your choice of wording. In other words, think carefully about how you will distinguish yourself from your competitors. This can indeed be a very tall order!
4. Do you have a logo? It's visual branding that helps people get to know you and possibly what you do or offer. Think through your logo carefully, as you're going to use it extensively.
In video creation, there's a term called a logo sting. This is a powerful reminder to those who will visit your business site and watch videos that have been produced. It can have a tremendous impact for your business.
Here are several stings for our own business, with sound effects, that can give you an idea of a logo sting:
5. Use your branding and logo everywhere you go. When you create online content, use that branding and logo!
6. Being consistent in your marketing efforts will pay big dividends. Don't be afraid to reach out to your target market. Will there be times when people say no or ignore you? Yes, of course. But remaining steadfast is vital if you want to be successful.
7. It's not possible to please everyone. Decide that you're not going to be everything to everybody out there. Select a niche where you can excel and help those clients to achieve their goals.
Be the best brand that you possibly can to your target market. Be yourself, be authentic, and don't strive for perfection! If you feel that everything has to be perfect before you start, then you may never start. The key is that you simply must start. Version 1 is infinitely better than Version 0.
8. Create value for your target market. Offering something free that they can use is a great way to start. I created a free video for a college friend of mine. It took much time but I felt that he could benefit from it. He and his wife loved it! That gesture opened the door to offer other options for him.
I offered another video to a young businessman simply as a gesture of good will. He loved it! And when others come and ask about his video, he can refer them to us. Talk about the power of not only networking, but of a thoughtful gesture that can benefit others.
10. Brand awareness can be built with unconventional techniques. It only costs you time to develop, but others may recognize you as an authority. Offering a free product can in turn can lead to offering a paid product.
Podcasts are all the rage today. Can you offer something that someone can download and listen to on their way to work? While you're doing that, your animated logo can be prominently displayed on your website and your carefully crafted logo sting can be part of the video that introduces your downloadable podcast. It's marketing at its best!
When it comes to branding, logos and marketing, think outside the box. You just might be amazed at what's possible.