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Your Identity Speaks Loudly...What Are You Saying?
Your corporate identity is a graphic expression of who you are as an organization. It plays a major role in what sells your company and its products. Everything that identifies your business, including your logo, color scheme, and tagline, work together to create an image that your customers remember. Building a corporate identity that bolsters your business objectives is a subtle, yet important part of achieving business success.
How do you want your business to be recognized? What image do you want to call forth in people's minds? You may choose an identity that is fun and wacky if you run a family fun center, or calm and serious if you operate a funeral home. The mistake many businesses make is to not think about it at all. Your company has a corporate identity whether you intentionally developed one or not. It can be difficult to turn an unplanned image around. And chances are, it doesn't convey the image you need to boost sales.
The best identity plan is one that is strategically designed to answer the following questions: What is the essence of your company? What message are you trying to send to your key audiences? What kind of name represents your desired image? What is the look and feel of your logo? Will the color and texture of the paper you print your business cards and brochure underscore the image you want to convey? How about the voice you use to do radio advertising? Everything must work together consistently to reinforce your image again and again and again.
There are dozens of ways that you can carefully develop your identity and project your businesses' personality. Specific, intentional creative choices will deliver a desired impact. A professional designer can help take your corporate identity to the next level. He or she can also help you develop marketing materials to reflect your image. Here are some elements to consider:
1. Business Name: Your company name should reflect your business personality. It should also be concise, memorable, unique, and appropriate to your product or service.
2. Logo: An effective logo is visually simple and easily recognizable. It symbolizes the essence of your business. The shape of your logo expresses different meanings. For example, curves can signify an organization that offers supportive services. Straight, sharp lines can represent a company with a technological focus.
3. Typographic Identity: The font that you use should complement your logo. There are thousands of fonts to select from, choose carefully since each offers subtle visual elements that can reinforce, or detract from, your business image.
4. Corporate colors: Different colors elicit different emotional responses and further serve to enhance your identity. For instance, deep blues represent trust, while oranges and yellows are fun and playful.
5. Tagline: What is the most important message you want to deliver about your business? A tagline describes your business in a short phrase that can be included on your letterhead, business cards, brochures, and so on.
If you are just starting your business, carefully think through all of the identity materials you use to promote your company. And, if you have been in business for a while and your identity doesn't represent your level of professionalism, consider revamping it. Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression. What does your identity say about you?
Wendy Maynard, your friendly marketing maven, is the owner of Kinesis. Kinesis specializes in marketing, graphic and website design, and business writing. Visit http://www.kinesisinc.com for more articles and free marketing wisdom.
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What Make Us Unique and Different
Starting a business can take a lot of time, money, and energy. And because we don't want to completely re-invent the wheel, we often want to copy (legally) other techniques, strategies or processes used by others. While copying others has many benefits, namely using tried and true methods as well as saving time and money, the true success of your business will come from your own uniqueness.
Managing the Corporate Brand - a Reputation Perspective
Adored, respected and coveted by customers and organisations alike, corporate brands represent one of the most fascinating phenomena of the business environment in the 21st century. Their importance is unquestionable. Brands, in their various forms, are integral to our everyday existence. This is particularly the case at the organisational level where the concept of the corporate brand now enjoys wide currency in business parlance. There is an increasing realisation that corporate brands serve as a powerful navigational tool to a variety of stakeholders for a lot of purposes, including employment, investment and, most importantly, consumer buying behaviour.
What the Heck is Branding and Why Should I Care?
There's been a lot of buzz lately about branding. But what exactly is it, and who needs to do it? Simply put, a brand is what makes your business uniquely YOU! It's the way you present your business and how the world perceives it. And, importantly, it's the way your clients remember you when it comes time to make another purchase. Branding encompasses your key marketing messages and tagline, logo, marketing materials, image, and your clients' complete experience with you from start to finish.
Branding Your Products Is Important
I was chatting with a couple of friends, all of us are either copy writers or graphic designers?or both?.in the advertising industry, so, naturally, our conversations leaned towards the topic. This one particular friend who works in an American advertising firm is now an Art Director, so, needless to say, he considers himself a notch higher than us mere freelancers and employees. After all, he is the one person who decides on the direction of a whole advertising campaign. He is also in-charge of a couple of large International brands of products. And during this conversation, he told me about this story that inspired me. He says that branding is so important to a product that it can either make or break a product?or even the company.
Putting You and Your Company in Position to Own Your Market
Americans have always liked their coffee hot. But then Starbucksmade hot coffee desirable, in demand, and extraordinarilyprofitable. And then Starbucks made coffee "cool" with itssuper-popular iced Frappucino drink -- just as trendy,fashionable, and universally appealing.Starbucks is no doubt one of the greatest marketing stories ofrecent history. How this company turned an unassuming beverageinto an icon of sophistication and taste is no mystery, however.It's all about a marketing tenet called positioning.The coffee company started out in Seattle's Pike Place market in1971 as a single gourmet coffee shop, and by 1995, the chain'searnings were $26.1 million. Marketing experts agree thatStarbucks' skyrocket to fortune centers on its aesthetic sense.In other words, the public's perception of Starbucks has to dowith how it appreciates this company's style. Sure, Starbucksfilled a need and created unique product brands, but whatattracts coffee drinkers again and again is the experience ofthe Starbucks environment and its products. Smooth,sophisticated, artistic: These are seductive qualities even fora business based on a little brown bean.The Starbucks story illustrates at least two powerful marketingprinciples. Both help us to better understand effectivepositioning, or the process of finding a "place" for ourselvesin people's minds:People buy for their own reasons, not anyoneelse's.The stronger position is found in the experience, outcome,or benefit you provide as opposed to the methods you use forproducing those outcomes.Starbucks shows us that it's not about packaging -- it's aboutpositioning. The environment of Starbucks creates an experiencethat invites us to come study for exams, hang out andphilosophize with friends, or get the day started with a warmcup of java and the morning news. Starbucks is an invitation tolinger, not just get your coffee and go.When you are assessing your own position and considering how youmight improve your image and thus your market share, rememberthat there are essentially four winning positions: better,different, faster, or cheaper. You can certainly positionyourself as one of these, perhaps even two; capturing a positionas three of them is tough and probably not desirable, andcornering all four is just about impossible.Not everyone is up to the task of creating another Starbucks.It's tempting, with price wars so rampant, to believe that aperception of being cheapest is easiest to establish. Yet intruth this is the most difficult because of fixed costs. It'slike doing the limbo: you can go only so low, and then you'reoverextended or flat on your back. Definitely not the easiestposition to be in.How about being better instead? Contrary to popular belief, thisis perhaps the easiest position to take, since making animprovement or simply creating the impression of greater qualityor ability has no constraints. One tip: when you capture thedifferent category, you may get the better category as aby-product.Starbucks capitalized on this technique, as did Dennis Rodman,the oddball of basketball. He came up with a way to take twopositions in fans' eyes: both different and better. Okay, maybehe wasn't actually better than his teammate Michael Jordan, whowas unbeatable, but certainly he was perceived for a time asbetter (cooler, trendier) among those who were captivated by hisstyle. His fashion and fascinating antics made him so unique thathe became unforgettable. And because he was also an excellentball handler, he became famous and highly regarded in hissport.BMW has also taken the better-different approach. Until fairlyrecently, Mercedes-Benz had the better luxury car market sewnup, so BMW -- a competitor with a parity product -- simplyrepositioned itself. Its tag, "the ultimate driving machine,"appeals to a younger crowd and gives them luxury with power andhandling. This is "hip luxury," which is different from theMercedes position, which could be summed up as "elegant luxury."And voilà: BMW became as hot and desirable as a cappucino on awintry morning.BMW marketers had both a strong sense of the position theywanted to hold and precisely defined their premium clients, thecréme de la créme within their target market. You can do this,too. Once you've figured out what position you can successfullygain in your business, ask yourself the following.Who is my premium client? Who would be the most enjoyableand rewarding to serve?What are this client's unique desires, needs, andchallenges? How can I best serve this client?What do I (or can I) provide in a unique way to help myclients achieve their business outcomes?How can I position myself as an expert in this market?With this information, you can tailor your marketing efforts --everything you say to people, any support materials you use,even the way you dress and act -- directly to this audience tohelp establish your position. This is the first step to "owningyour market."Positioning is like popularity: You have to be seen in the rightplaces and with the right people. This is more than socialclimbing: You learn more about your clients and they learn moreabout you when you frequent the same places, attend the samefunctions, join the same associations, be published in theirperiodicals, and develop products and services specifically forthem.Positioning is as much about who you are not as it is about whoyou are. Starbucks is not a cheaper and faster cuppa joe; it isan upscale, gourmet coffee experience. BMW is no old-styleluxury; it is stylish performance. Dennis Rodman is no gentlemanforward; he is the outrageous, extreme athlete who is arecognized celebrity even for people who don't know basketballfrom billiards.Do you want to win big? If so, have the courage to answer thesequestions clearly and define your own game: Who are you? Who areyou not? Who are your clients? These are the essential decisionsyou must make if you want to not only understand but own yourmarket.
The MOST Expensive Mistake You Can Make
Most people who own a small business have a huge passion and talent for the product or service they provide. Some people have a business degree. Some even have MBA's or PhD's. But, most who own their own business just have a passion for what they do.
Having been in the franchising business all my life and understanding how hard it is to build a brand, I have probably read every other popular book on the subject. Some are good and most are excellent, as each one helps give you ideas on setting the stage for your brand marketing objectives. Branding on the Internet is somewhat new as before 1995 there was little if any Internet to speak of. One book I can recommend is:
Revealing the Roots: The Process of Building Brand
How is branding different than marketing?
Counterfeit Branding - Representing True Globalisation!
From cigarettes to fashion accessories to food products to medicines, more than 50% of the global market are filled with counterfeited products. Do you realise that the Nike t-shirt that you are probably wearing right now may not even exist in the design portfolio of Nike Inc. It may have been produced by a small time designer who sits in the busy lanes of New Delhi in India and charges less than $1 to give you the swoosh in any colour, any form and any design as requested! A true form of 'customisation'.
Build Brand Identity - Brand Identity Guru
Successful Guru marketers have a secret weapon that they use every single time they communicate about their businesses. It's one of those intangibles that are easily misunderstood. It's the ability to generate excitement about what you have to offer. And when your prospects are excited about your services, marketing becomes a whole lot easier. You get more attention, more response, more sales and more referrals.
Logo Design Tips
Logos can be described as visual icons that provide a unique identification element to a business or product. Logos provide quick visual recognition of a Company which in-turn builds branding. Business owners and overly enthusiastic artists can often go astray in their efforts to design the perfect logo. There are too many examples of logo designs that look uninspired, overtly abstract or seem to be nothing more than whimsical art. Many of these logos are designed without forethought into usage, application or even cost impact upon a business. So how do you create a logo that makes business sense? Consider following a few simple guidelines:
Corporate Logo Design ? 6 Keys to Success
A corporate logo design should be highly instrumental in building your corporate identity and should successfully exude the company's attitude. The viewers must have some idea about the disposition, character, or fundamental values of your company through your logo.
Eye On The Pie: Branding From an Investors P.O.V.
When building a business as a brand it's important to avoid a myopic view and consider another important aspect of the business game as well-- investing. After any amount of toil and hard work to create a valuable product, service or company the big game is when you go public-- when money-minded people want more, they want a piece of your brand pie.
Product Positioning for Enterprise Software and Information Technology Companies
Good marketing positioning is like good lying. No, we're not suggesting that you lie when creating your company and product positioning. Anything but, in fact. But, it's remarkable how much the properties of good positioning resemble the properties of a good lie.
Branding Your Business To Make More Money
Branding your comapny should be the first thing a company does. You have to convince potential customers to buy from you. Very few people have a monopoly like Microsoft or Ebay, Everyone else need to steer business to their company or product. When people think about your company, what is their impression. For my company, Solutions Ink, I wanted to portray a fresh, professional, ease of use type of company whoose product meets their quality needs while helping their business. I wanted to portray Solutions Ink as always on the fore front of the printing and promotional product industry's.
Personal Branding: Characteristics of a Strong Personal Brand
How many times have you been at a networking function and been lost for words when asked "what do you do"?
Brand Love, Part 2
Last issue, I talked about increasing your Brand Love-- meaning to increase the affection that prospects and customers feel toward your business.
Logo Design - Corporate Identity Branding - Brand Identity Guru
Like it or not it's who you are. Your corporate Identity touches all aspects of your business and plays a vital role in your customer's overall feeling with your organization. Having a strong integrated identity throughout your marketing communications is the first step to building your company and a solid brand image. Your Web design, brochures, ads and all other collateral should be developed to enhance the corporate identity of your company and enable customers to instantly identify with your organization's spirit and messaging.
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