A brand is the identifiable characteristics that consumers associate with your company. In some instances, these characteristics become more important to the public and actually supplant the company name as the organization’s identifying characteristic. For example, the brown delivery truck is an essential part of the UPS brand. The truck and logo are almost universally recognized as a delivery service-but if you ask a random group of people what UPS stands for, only a small percentage will be able to tell you United Parcel Service.
Having a strong brand helps customers identify you and reinforces your position in the public eye. Building your brand requires careful thought and planning. Here I’m just going to hit on the one overriding principal of branding and explain the five elements that make up a successful brand.
To work, your branding must be consistent. Consistency is the overriding principal of branding. Advertising campaigns may come and go. Your company may change direction. You may introduce new service offerings or scale back. Throughout every change your company makes, it is imperative that your branding remain consistent.
Here are five basic elements that to build a successful brand in your niche market:
1. Logo: A logo should be visually striking, easy to read, and memorable. Simple designs often work best-but just because something is simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. Consider working with a graphic designer to create a logo that is unique and effective. It’ll be money well spent.
2. Color: Color is a very powerful tool. Some colors evoke feelings of calm, while others rouse stronger emotions. Select a palette of up to three primary colors. These colors should be used in your logo, on your stationary, in advertisements-in fact, anywhere that your name reaches the public eye. Stay simple. Any obscure or unusual color is likely to raise your printing budget. Just like your services, the more specialized, the more it costs!
3. Typeface: Typeface, or the font used in the creation of your logo and literature, may seem like a subtle point. Yet, your font choice can dramatically alter the look and feel of your brand. Pick one you like, keeping an eye on readability and consistency with your image. Be advised that some fonts are proprietary, requiring a fee for their use. This is when it’s best to consult a graphic designer who understands your needs and what would appeal to your target audience.
4. Language: Language choice reflects your company image. Make sure you use language that is consistent with the image you want to present. For example, if you’ve branded yourself as a hip-hop gastroenterologist, you want to use the language to which your audience expects and relates. This would be totally different if you’re presenting yourself as a family-friendly attorney.
5. Imagery: Any time a photo is used in relation to your business, it should reinforce the image you want to portray. This may be as simple as ensuring that images of your office show a neat, attractive space, and that photos of staff and clients feature friendly, welcoming people. Avoid static, staged shots of your practice, or people smiling that obviously look fake.
To build a successful brand, just remember the basics.
Susan Friedmann, CSP, The NichePreneur Coach, is a niche marketing expert who helps small business owners, entrepreneurs and service professionals, find and capitalize on a niche market. Author: “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market,” “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Target Marketing,” and many other titles. For more great information on niche marketing strategies that work, and for a complimentary copy of “The NichePreneur Mindset: How to Find Your Niche to Success,” visit http://www.richesinniches.com. Click to download the “Riches in Niches” app. Sign up for the Niche Marketing Success 7-Day Mini Course