Beyond the Logo, Understanding Branding

Small business owners often remark that one of the hardest things to do when starting out is finding a memorable name. The second hardest, of course, is then trying to find a logo to match. This, they believe, is part of the all important branding process. Truth is, while a catchy name and striking logo forms the basis of a visual identity – it does not materially contribute to creating brand equity.

Let me explain.

Put simply, a brand is not flashy graphic or a play on words. Rather, it is a promise to potential customers. One that if consistently delivered upon, will become credible, widely spoken of, and an asset when marketing. It is reliance on this promise and not the recollection of a fancy typeface that will drive sales.

For small businesses, this realisation is particularly important as they do not have the financial resources to rely on advertising to build market awareness. Instead, these businesses must ensure that their value proposition (the unique benefit of their products or services to prospects) is confidently communicated whenever they have direct or indirect contact with their customers.

What is your promise?

Are you in the business of providing the cheapest prices, or finest quality? Once you have decided, embrace this approach and communicate it clearly. Price orientated firms, for example, will often use simple and ‘cheap’ looking packaging even when it is the same price as a stunning design. Why? Because it clearly demonstrates to customers that your business does not spend a single cent unnecessarily in order to keep prices low.

Remember, making a promise is only half the job. If you want to build a loyal customer base, which remembers your name for the right reasons, you will need to consistently deliver on your promises – every time!

If you’re starting a new business, and are still hung up about not having a name – don’t stress! There is plenty of other work that can be done while you allow your ideas to ferment. The best ideas will often come to you when you are relaxing and thinking about something completely different. While you’re waiting for that apple-on-the-head moment, concentrate on talking to potential customers and suppliers.

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