There are thousands of pages of information on the importance of Brand Marketing and Brand Awareness and how it is critical for the success of any company. These articles go on to discuss large studies conducted by universities and huge marketing groups how to build brand awareness using multi-faceted campaigns across the internet, social media, broadcast TV and Radio, and on and on as the key to success for any business with tag lines like “you must sell yourself before you can sell your product” and recommending huge percentages of your advertising budget to do this.
This is all really interesting and good advice if you are a multi-million dollar company with 6 digit advertising budgets and resources to hire media consultants, focus groups, and public relations specialists. What about the rest of the business world?
What Does Branding Consist of?
Since most small to medium size businesses do not have a percentage of their advertising budget specifically geared towards brand awareness and image, the only way to achieve these goals is by integrating it into all of the day to day activities in the workplace and integrating it into their other advertising campaigns. This is done by deciding on some basic formats to be used by the company in everything they do and rigid adherence to these guidelines. The top considerations for branding are –
- Name – self-explanatory as there must be something you are building an image of in a customer’s mind when they hear the name.
- Tagline–the short catchphrase that is so closely associated with a business name is often substituted for the name. It is a repetitive reminder to the customer of why they should choose the business. Examples of famous taglines might be-
- Don’t leave home without it (American Express)
- The quicker picker upper (Bounty)
- Have it your way (Burger King)
- Save money. Live Better (Walmart)
- Logo – A graphic or visual that customers will associate with your business. Pictures and visuals are more recognizable than words alone. The golden arches of McDonalds has been said is the most recognizable sign in the entire world.
- Colors – Any company you think of has a standard color scheme on everything they do.
If you can create these four items and integrate them into everything you do with your business then you are well on your way to gaining brand and name recognition and establishing an effective branding campaign without having to set up a separate budget.
Making Branding a Part of Everyday Business
Once you have these items identified for your business the key to making them effective is in integration. They must be part of everything you do to include all advertising, internet sites, social media, and mail outreach. Even the simple things like answering the phones with the business name and tag line instead of just the name becomes part of your campaign. All business signs and even the small signs in the stores in aisles should have the log and tag line and be printed in the appropriate colors.
The most important piece of this branding process is the inclusion of all of these elements in direct customer contact. Emails should be based from a template that include the same colors and logo as your advertising and signage. Conventional mail is often overlooked in today’s world but it should not be. Whether it is a mass mail advertising campaign (and with the modern spam filters and email blockers conventional mail is once again regaining significance in the marketing world) or individual correspondence to customers and clients never overlook the opportunity to promote your business brand and image.
It is often estimated that less than half of mail sent by a business ever gets opened. This means the best way to talk to your customers when using mail is to make sure you can send a message that does not require the envelope to be opened even. This means using custom envelopes as opposed to bulk business envelopes will more than double the amount of people that you impact on any mail campaign. With the cost involved with postage and printing of mailed correspondence it will actually cost your business money to not use branded envelopes from a place like 1stclass-envelopes to double the impact of a mail campaign.
Why Bother At All?
The reason a business needs to be concerned with branding and name recognition is simple. It allows for top of the mind awareness and recall by association whenever a potential customer comes into the market for your product or service. Most advertising is blind. It goes out towards all people equally and without discrimination.
While there may only be a handful of people looking to buy new shoes on any given day, a shoe store is paying to show their shoe advertisement to every person watching TV at a particular time or that picks up a newspaper that day. Even with slightly more discriminate digital advertising, it is only a guess if they are looking to buy shoes or if they typed shoe into the search bar to find the video of the actress that broke their heel on the Emmy awards last week. If an advertising medium could offer you the opportunity to advertise ONLY to the people ready to buy new shoes then they would of course do that.
That is the precise reason to emphasize brand awareness and name recognition. If you do an adequate job of promoting your business and product, then the day a customer wakes up intending to buy the product or service you sell then they will think of you. When trying to think of where to go make this purchase you will be easily recalled by visual memory of your logo and colors, the tag line will remind them of why they should purchase from you, and the name will tell them where to look for your location.