How to Make Your Brand Uniquely Your Own
A brand doesn’t just consist of a logo and specific design elements. What defines a brand is the way customers perceive your business
On the same token, a brand that is vague, bland, and unmemorable means that your customers will perceive your business in the same way. Keep in mind, too, that a brand does not have to be related to a specific company. As a business woman, you can create a personal brand, one that will accurately portray your defined image to potential employers or clients. You can then incorporate this personal brand onto your personal business cards, letterhead, and more.
Have you ever seen the flashy commercials on TV, usually during a big game or event, that grabbed your attention, but at the end you weren’t sure what brand was being advertised? It’s possible to pour millions of dollars into advertising a brand that has no connection with customers. But by contrast, you can look at iconic brands from Coke, Apple, or Nike.
No matter where the public sees a big brand logo, an advertisement, or a product, they associate with that company immediately. These big brands are uniquely their own and instantly recognizable. However, they didn’t start out that way and neither will your brand.
You must take certain actions to make your brand uniquely your own. Of course, this takes time and money. If you start slowly and on the right track, though, you will eventually gain momentum and your brand will become one with which customers gain a special association and attachment.
Reduce it as far as possible
Strip everything you can away from the brand. For example, if you’re working on a logo, take away as much as possible. Remove all the text, all the color, all the shading. Does what’s left still communicate you and your business? Is there still something left of who you are within that minimalistic representation? Do the same for your words.
Take your mission statement and distill it down as far as possible. Nike was able to get it down to three words: “Just do it.” Coke did even better than that: “Enjoy!” You may not decide to leave your brand this minimalistic, but this exercise will give you a much clearer view of just how well your brand elements represent your company.
Love your brand
Passion begets passion. If you don’t love your brand, then your customers won’t either. But, if you are crazy about your brand, this excitement will rub off on your customers. They’ll see the care you’ve put into it, at every level. This means that your brand isn’t sterile, democratized marketing fodder, but a reflection of your soul poured out into images and words. You can’t rush love and you can’t hurry the creation of a brand. Let it emerge from doodles on a page, aimless thoughts while you’re mowing the lawn, or a “Eureka” moment while you’re sitting in the tub.
Cross over from your personal life
To keep your brand from becoming an anonymous, forgettable pile of marketing, let your customers see you. If you are passionate about your French bulldogs, think about including it in your brand. If you sail every chance you get away from work, incorporate that into your brand. Take opportunities to show your customers that they’re dealing with a real person, and you’ll begin to achieve what every brand wants: recognition. Follow this advice carefully, however. If your French bulldogs cannot not be made relevant to your industry no matter how hard you try, do not force it. The public must be able to EASILY make the connection between your brand design and your type of business.
Know your target customer
Sit down with a pen and paper and create a description of your ideal customer. Who are you trying to target with your brand? Will middle-aged suburban housewives be your largest customer group or will retired white collar executives be your target market? Knowing your audience will help you better decide what elements of your brand will appeal to them and what elements will speak negatively to them. For instance, sailing may appeal to retired white collar males but housewives more than likely will not be able to make even a remote emotional connection with a brand based on sailing.
Take it slowly
Coke has been around for over a century. Apple and Nike have been in business for over 30 years. It takes time to develop a brand and shape it into something that is instantly recognizable. Work at it, reduce it, love it, and make it personal. Then your brand will reflect who you are and connect with who you want to target.
About the Author
Tara Hornor has a degree in English and has found her niche writing about marketing, advertising, branding, graphic design, and desktop publishing. She writes for PrintPlace.com, a company that offers color printing for business cards, catalogs, posters, brochures, professional postcards, and more printed marketing media. In addition to her writing career, Tara also enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.