Branding Basics

Company Culture vs. Brand Personality—Does Your Company Measure Up?

03.25.2014 Brand Presence
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Your brand is the whole package. Or is it? We talk a lot about brand alignment on The Branding Spot blog. A great brand must be consistent across the board to be unique, memorable, and thus: effective. This means your website, your marketing collateral, your logo, your brand colors—everything that says HEY! This is my company! needs to be uniform to get the full effect. Heck, at Spot-On Branding, we even offer our popular Brand Alignment Package to help business owners create a consistent look, feel and flow to their brand online and off.

But what about your company culture? Does your company culture actively represent your brand personality, inside and out? Not sure? Here are some areas to focus on:

Your Team Members

Aside from providing excellent customer service (which can truly make or break a brand), is your team actively representing your brand every day, in everything they say and do?

If your business strives for a professional by-the-numbers appearance (let’s say you’re an accounting firm) and your logo, colors, look and feel illustrate these themes, be sure that attitude extends into your each of your team member’s attitudes. Each of your employees should have a standard, professional phone greeting and voicemail, and a standard, professional email signature. When it comes to their company’s financial future, your client is going to want that consistent reassurance that their money is in good hands.

Whatever your industry, your company handbook should outline how your team members are expected to interact with your customers. This might include always mentioning signature services under their full trademarked name, or, for example, always listing three amenities when a potential customer calls to book a stay at your hotel.

Your Office or Store

When a client, customer, or potential customer enters your office or brick-and-mortar shop, are they greeted with an atmosphere in line with your branding? Let’s say you run a surf shop. You want to be sure your brand extends to your store, creating a fun-in-the-sun feeling with every customer, even if they’re just browsing. If your shop prides itself on custom-made surfboards, be sure your shop environment offers potential buyers every opportunity to ask for more information about your sweet custom boards.

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6 Super-Expensive Products…and How To Knock Your Biz Up a Notch with Perceived Value

03.11.2014 Better Branding

While most of us aren’t billionaires, many of us have spent more than the average price on a product or service because we believed the investment (or indulgence) was well worth the cost.

But how much would YOU really pay for the following super-expensive products?

1. Domain Name

In 2007, VacationRentals.com was purchased for $35 million. Next up on the list? Insure.com at $16 million and (of COURSE) Sex.com comes in third at $14 million.

2. Dessert

Serendipity 3 Restaurants offer a $25,000 sundae, the Frrozen Haute Chocolate, made with the world’s finest chocolates and served in a baccarat Harcourt crystal goblet, complete with an 18 carat gold and white diamond bracelet, plus a $14,000 jewel encrusted spoon. Too pricey for your tastes? Try the Golden Opulence instead—a steal at $1,000.

3. Beer

Back in the mid-1990s, a Cambridge archeological team helped recreate just 1,000 bottles of Queen Nefertiti’s 3,250 year old recipe, dubbed Tutankhamun Ale. The brew originally sold for $7,686 a bottle, but the price eventually dropped to $75. Soon after, King Tut’s curse struck again and the brewery closed its doors.

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New Year, New…Brand? Launch Your New Brand in 2014

01.28.2014 Better Branding
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With the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, you may be inspired to reconsider or better establish your company brand. After all, football season means stadiums packed to the brim with team colors—everything from official team apparel right down to each player’s mouth guard is colored to signify allegiance to the team.

Plus, with advertising priced at an incredible $4 million for 30 seconds of ad time, you’d better believe the best brands are going to be out and about strutting their stuff!

When you brand or rebrand your business, you’re either breathing life into a new business or you’re breathing new life into your current business. Maybe you’re starting from scratch, or maybe you’re ready for a change. Either way, sometimes it’s hard to know where to even begin. Keep in mind, brand improvements are an ongoing process–so if you think it’s time for a change, you’re probably right, so it’s time to get ready!

Before You Brand

Before you get down and dirty, ready to update, establish or perfect your brand, you should work through the following exercises for best results (if you haven’t already):

  • Define or redefine your company goals for the year.
  • Complete your market research. Think about WHO will most benefit from your products and/or services and define your target audience. Has this target audience changed over the last year?
  • Define or redefine your positioning. Ask yourself: What makes my company unique? Why would my target audience choose my company over others?
  • Do your research to be sure your new business name is available and not already a registered trademark http://ndrichardson.com/blog/2012/09/18/protect-your-brands-value-trademark/. Good to go? Secure your new domain name and social media accounts.
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Why You NEED a Business Plan for Your Brand—and Where to Start

01.14.2014 Better Branding
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It’s pretty much common knowledge these days: having a business plan for your brand will help you not only set goals, but it’ll also help you reach your goals successfully. In fact, the MOST successful brands out there very likely have very detailed business plans. They may have rewritten their business plans several times throughout the course of their business. They may even be creating a new business plan right this very moment!

Point being: to even think about reaching brand and business success—you NEED a business plan.

But before we delve into exactly how to develop your all-encompassing business plan to build up your brand, let’s take a look at why many new business startups tend to miss the mark, and sadly, trip themselves before they can even get out of the gate.

Why Startups Fail

Startups most often fail due to a lack of demand for their product or service. Makes sense, right? If there’s no market for people to buy the product you produce or no reason to purchase the service you provide, then why would any customer spend money at your company? How will your company make a profit?

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Branding Basics from ‘Breaking Bad’

09.17.2013 Branding Basics
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Back in 1996, when I started my freelance business, I rarely ran across a small business owner who actually understood the meaning of the word “branding.”

“I don’t need any branding. I don’t have any cows.”

Yea, I’m not kidding. I’ve heard that.

I believe it was around 2008 that I began to hear the word “branding” used in certain “in the know” circles. Nowadays, the word—and especially the concept—are understood well enough that even mainstream entertainment is teaching us lessons on branding.

Who’s a Fan of Breaking Bad?

Did you see last week’s episode? Did you catch the branding references?

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Branding: What’s The Point?

08.03.2010 Branding Basics
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Branding is always a hot topic in the business world – but why is branding so important? Branding (n.): the promoting of a product or service by identifying it with a particular brand. –Merriam-Webster Your Brand Tells Your Story The state flag of South Carolina is blue with a palmetto tree and a crescent moon.  […]

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What is a Brand and Why All the Hub-Bub?

02.19.2010 Branding Basics
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A form of the word “Brand” is everywhere, but do you know what it really means and why it is important to your company? Let’s start by defining some industry terminology so everyone starts on common ground. LOGO: A logo is not a brand. A logo is only one element that can be representative of […]

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