Brand not bland.
Your company’s brand has the power to differentiate its products, services or people from those of its competitors; a strong brand is a company’s most valuable asset. So how do the brilliant businesses stand out when all the rest of us are standing still?
Take a simple idea and a classic piece of design – the original 1940’s spud gun. Compare this with a couple of cheap, 21st century, ‘Made in China’ imitations and at first glance it’s hard to spot the difference.
Professionally blending in with the crowd is the least you can do in business. (Blanding?) But why settle for good when you could be great? (Branding!) Following a few simple tips can help you be brilliant and beat the competition at the spud gun game. In the past we have based our buying decisions on a combination of price, quality and speed. Today we are also influenced by design, creativity and branding. So what does Paul Kerfoot recommend as the alternative? “Aim to be a sparky gun!”
Make sure you hit the target with seven red-hot tips for branding success:
1. Ask around. One voice. One vision? Talk to your staff, from the receptionist (the director of first impressions) to the managing director, and find out how the image of your company affects everybody. Do some branding homework internally before considering external research with a hand-picked selection of your clients.
2. No comparison. By all means look at the competition but be careful about comparing yourself with others. Out-think the people you admire, look at design that inspires and don’t try and outspend the big brands. Use your budget wisely. Be unique and, above all, no copying!
3. Be memorable. Image is everything. Stand out from the crowd and communicate the right message in words and pictures. Keep it simple and remember you only have one opportunity to make a good first impression.
4. Design matters. Good design and a great brand go hand-in-hand. Apparently 98% of our senses are geared to visual imagery; so make sure you create powerful graphics. Does a picture really speak a thousand words?
5. Word power. Content is king. Every business needs a good strapline or promotional slogan. To improve your networking skills also consider, “Would I benefit from perfecting my elevator pitch?” Finally make sure you create online and offline literature that sells through emotionally compelling scripts.
6. Be consistent. Stop looking at the corporate wallpaper! An image that looks tired or boring to you will look fresh and different to someone seeing it for the first time. If you alter things frequently it can also send out mixed signals. A successful brand is built through its consistent usage over time.
7. Frame yourself. Look in the mirror. Your brand is a reflection of you, your products, services or people. Put yourself in the frame and take a good look at yourself, your company values and how you may appear to your customers.
Stand out or stand still – brand not bland.
Maybe you have an original spud gun, a simple idea that works well, but is it enough to smash the competition? And, pound-for-pound, does your latest sales campaign hit the target? Alternatively we could do something a little more creative with the potato. Or consider investing in design and branding – a new sparky gun perhaps?