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1Jul/170

It’s All In the Brand

If you’re an entrepreneur, you may have already witnessed the power of proper branding techniques. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, are you aware that your business most likely took on a brand of its own?

Let me explain. Branding is the impression, feeling, or general association that customers and clients make when they think of your business. While branding occurs within every type of service and establishment, business owners should play an integral part in forming the association. You need to take control of your brand.

For example, a new grocery store opens and the excitement alone lures customers in to explore. The store boasts the best baked goods in town, but the selection of produce leaves something to be desired. When customers enter the store, they first pass through the produce section, creating an instant, negative impression. The majority of customers leave the store thinking about the undesirable produce, without even setting foot in the bakery department. Do you want to be known for your produce or your baked goods?

This type of situation can occur within any business, under any circumstance – you don’t even need a negative factor to come into play. Perhaps you run a computer repair service with a great string of overly-qualified, knowledgeable technicians, who perform repairs with lightning speed. You also follow a “your tenth call is free” motto, although none of your customers are aware of it. When potential clients are browsing ads, every repair service offers a similar list of credentials and services, and nothing in your listing makes you stand out. However, had you incorporated the tenth free call into your ad, most customers would have singled you out. You could have taken control and added the slogan to every piece of business stationery and advertising, forcing clients to associate your business with a tenth free call. This is the strength of branding.

While the power of advertising can’t be disputed, even great ads can benefit from great branding. How much money have you invested in – or plan to spend on – your business’ advertising budget? It’s all about attracting clientele, no matter what the product or industry. Advertising is not cheap and should be used as efficiently as possible, but how do you decide what your “brand” should be?

It can be a slogan, but it might consist of other ideas, too. You may run a spa with the hopes of providing a tropical experience for customers. A straw-hut reception area, the faint sound of ukeleles, and the scent of coconuts greets every customer as they enter, causing them to subconsciously associate your spa with the tropics. Without the use of a slogan, logo, discount card, or outright announcement, you’ve created a form of branding that speaks for itself. As the business progresses, you may decide to publicly declare your tropical association on clothing or through ads to attract potential clients and reinforce what current customers have already experienced.

Ideally, you should put some thought into branding long before your business debuts, but it’s never too late. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or fairly new to the world of business, a branding professional may provide you with some invaluable assistance. Although the top branding firms may charge more than you initially planned, remember what’s at stake: your business. Finding the image that best reflects your products or services may not be an easy task, but it may prove to be a crucial component of your success.

Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

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