How to Develop a Brand for a Business

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How do businesses commercial brand names become household names--whether locally or internationally? They do it by developing something consumers immediately identify with their particular business, something that sets this business apart from its competition, something that positions the business in its niche in the marketplace. They do it by developing a brand for their business.

  • Create a logo for your business. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. So is an icon or a symbol. Webster's Dictionary describes a logo as "a graphic representation or symbol of a company name, trademark, abbreviation, or the like often uniquely designed for ready recognition." Most consumers can immediately identify certain well-known logos--for instance, the golden arches that symbolize McDonalds (R) fast food restaurants or the IBM (R) logo. Nearly everyone recognizes the MasterCard (R) symbol. Generally, the simpler your logo, the better. It must also be easy to reproduce. If you don't have the artistic ability or vision to create your own logo, hire an expert to create several sample logos for you to review and select from. Be sure, of course, that your logo does not infringe on the rights of any other trademarked or registered logo. You don't want a logo that can be easily confused with any other business's logo.

  • Decide what you want your business to be best known for. No business can be all things to all people and there is no better recipe for business failure than to try to be. Most businesses succeed when they identify a niche in the marketplace that sets them apart from some of their competitors. Consider your unique approach to business and why you think customers should come to you. You might have the best price, service, value or selection or offer products that are handmade, organic or made in the USA. Whatever sets you apart is what you want to capitalize on as you seek to position your business in the minds of consumers. When they think of that particular attribute, you want them to think of your business.

  • Articulate the overall goal and vision of your business by developing a mission statement. This should be a short synopsis of why your business exists and how it will accomplish what it was created to do. This statement should become a measurement tool against which everything your business does can be measured. For instance, if your business is considering adding a new line of products or making some other change, you should be able to ask yourself: "Does this activity or change or decision support my mission statement?" If you can answer "yes," then the change is probably a good one. But if it does not support your mission statement, you should either revise your mission statement or reconsider that change.

  • Develop a tag line that clearly states what you want your business to be known for. A tag line should be short, pithy and catchy if possible. It also needs to be something that is easy to remember. It must be unique to your business and not infringe on any other business's rights. Some examples of great taglines include: "Ace (R) is the place with the helpful hardware man," "Trust the Midas (R) touch" and "You're in good hands with Allstate (R)." Great tag lines stand the test of time, but they also require that you invest your time and energy in getting them out in front of the public. Once you decide on a good tag line, stick with it! Like the mission statement, everything your business does should support your tag line.

  • Incorporate your logo and tagline into all of your marketing materials and advertising promotions. Let these two elements help create your brand and identify your niche in the marketplace. Use them often and regularly. Include them on your business cards, put them on promotional materials you give away, put them on all of your signage--from the big sign on your building to the magnetic signs or lettering on your company vehicles and use them in print, radio and television ads as well as direct mail promotions, brochures, folders, pens, company uniforms and other products that represent your business.

  • Consider creating a jingle that incorporates your business tag line. Many businesses have experienced great success with catchy jingles listeners just cannot get out of their heads. You want consumers to remember you, and a jingle helps them to do just that! Many advertising agencies can help you create a unique jingle that attracts attention and conveys your company's message in a professional manner.

  • Be sure all of your marketing materials, your advertising campaigns and the day-to-day operations of your business are consistent with the image you want your business to present to consumers. Branding a business is a great thing, but it is only a tool to use in the promotion of your business. And it won't help your business at all if a consumer's actual experience is inconsistent with the brand and image your business portrays. Make sure your business is known for what you say it is and does.

Tips & Warnings

  • Get a group of people together to brainstorm ideas for logo, taglines and advertising campaigns. Remember that in a brainstorming session, no idea is thrown out. Every idea is listed for later consideration and evaluation.
  • Sometimes the very best ideas--and the ones that develop into phenomenal brands and tag lines--are the ones that spring from the oddest or seemingly strangest ideas tossed out in an initial brainstorming session.
  • Don't try to do it all yourself. Consider enlisting expert help or resources to develop an appealing brand that meets a need in the marketplace.
  • Don't rush to come up with something. You're better off taking your time and coming up with something really good! Remember, you're going to have to keep this logo and tag line for a long time,
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