What impact does branding have?
Let's start here: When you hear the word ‘brand’ what do you think of?
It may be a company like Nike, or Apple, or Target. You might picture a particular product that a company has advertised or that you’ve come across that impacted or spoke to you.
You may recall a commercial, a jingle, or a catch phrase. Or maybe you think about a personal experience you’ve had with a company which left you raving, or even unwilling to spend your money at their store again.
The thing is… no matter what you think about when you hear the word ‘brand’ - you’re right. A brand isn’t just a swoosh, fruit, or a bullseye. A brand is known for the experience and feeling it evokes or leaves with you.
No matter what the image is, while it should be memorable, it will never be impactful if it doesn’t spark emotion.
I’ve heard it explained that memories are established when an emotion pairs with a moment or an experience. Since that would tell us that brands are only remembered when an experience triggers emotion, I’m validating this notion.
If you recognize, identify with, or relate to a statement, an image, a scene, or the music associated with a brand’s advertisement or marketing campaign, they have succeeded by speaking to you. They have touched their target. Score, right?
In your own business, the same is true. The words, visuals, representation, and sound that any person experiences from your business is the memory they will have of working with you.
To spark your brand, you must make an impact.
Your Brand Has A Reputation
How you handle your business is how it will be known. Your company’s brand will be known for your communication, service, quality and standards, honesty, commitment, and follow-through.... in one way or another. How you take care of any one situation will establish trust and respect, or the exact opposite.
If you are interested in receiving referrals from clients or associates you know, it’s a good idea to keep your reputation in mind. With each communication point you are expressing who you are and you’re being evaluated by the recipient who is trying to determine whether they can trust you.
When you follow through with a promise, overdeliver on a service, or raise the responsibility bar, people notice and your brand (logo, name, etc) will be graded by your performance. It’s just the way things are.
Every Brand Speaks
The communication that comes from any point of your business presence, whether email, text, phone calls, virtual meetings, social media, marketing materials, e-newsletters, blogs, speaking or teaching should be consistent across the board. Consider your target market and what language and verbiage they use or would respond to. Set your brand apart by giving it a unique personality, but always be consistent.
Keep in mind, it’s not just what you say on social media, on your website, or in email marketing, but what your colors, font selection, imagery or graphics say, too.
For Propel, I’ve always kept a high standard on maintaining a professional profile. I may be humorous in some posts, but you won’t find foul language, inappropriate imagery, or political conversations on my profiles.
Likewise, the font and colors we chose when we branded the company needed to be classy, modern, and received professionally by both male and female entrepreneurs. Our success over the years along with feedback from many confirms - we nailed it.
My Brand Story
When I started Propel in April of 2009, I decided to test the waters. The economy had crashed and I knew small businesses needed help. After registering Jamie Teasdale, LLC with the state of Oregon, I took the first ten months to determine what small businesses needed, what they were willing to pay for, and what I was skilled at and really loved doing.
In July of 2010, after 5 long months of brainstorming and rebranding with a local company and friends at Think Fiction (@thinkfiction on Instagram), I threw a relaunch party and announced my new brand, Propel Businessworks. Deciding on a name, logo, and tagline was an incredible process, but one I knew I needed to get right, so I took the time I needed without rushing through decisions.
We went rounds on words and their meanings, followed by name options.
How did it sound?
What did it convey?
Was it easy to spell and read and type?
Who did I really want to be in the business world?
How did I want to show up?
Once the name was chosen, the design direction hit hard and fast. While I could easily overrule some designs, others were a ‘maybe’ and a few were magnetic. We sat with all the options, invited a few key people to give input, narrowed it down, and finalized the marks.
Here are a few recommendations I make when choosing a business name and brand:
- Make sure the name is easy to spell, read, and say. It can be a “misspelled” version of a word, which will make it unique, but it has to be memorable.
- Check with the Secretary of State to ensure the name isn’t already taken. In Oregon, visit filinginoregon.org.
- Check on the availability of the URL and social profile usernames, or a version of your name. If you can’t have the exact URL, or it would cause confusion with another brand or company, consider going a different route.
- Consider the services or product you’ll be providing and plan for the future. If you know you want to offer copywriting now, but you could see the possibility of offering email marketing and/or social media in the future, consider a name, brand and tagline that will encompass those service options.
- Run your idea past a handful of trusted mentors or business people you respect, but be sure to take all feedback with a grain of salt and go with your gut.
Once your brand is ready, consider securing all of your social media accounts using the same username across the web. Even if you don’t have a plan or strategy for using Twitter right away, “owning” the username helps keep your brand yours by securing your name as your intellectual property.
It’s also wise to represent your business and brand wherever you can using your new logo and marks. For example, in your email signature, on proposals and invoices, and on any marketing materials you create and use. Brand recognition starts with the consistent use of your brand marks, so use them everywhere you can.
In 2011, I decided to go after the trademarks for my brand. In the end, I wasn’t able to secure the ‘Propel Businessworks’ name because there is another marketing and media company who got to the ‘propel’ word use first. However, I do own the trademark for my propeller symbol (the ‘o’ in my Propel wordmark logo, and my tagline “Plan. Promote. Prosper.”.
Ultimately, trademarking affords you the ability to increase brand asset value and to own a piece of your market so that if another entrepreneur decides to start a similar company under a similar name, you have the right to ask them to cease and desist.
Enjoy the Process
Starting a business isn’t easy, but it is exciting and should be fun.
I’m a firm believer that having fun and enjoying what you’re doing should be priority. If the stress of decision making, name selection, and deciding ‘on all the things’ is keeping you up at night or causing the process to be a chore, take a break and reset your perspective. There’s no reason to rush through life just to get to the next thing. We only get one shot at today, we can’t go back to yesterday, and we have no guarantee of tomorrow. So, slow down and have fun with it.
Wishing you inspiration and joy as you evaluate your brand and make plans for it in the future!
Related Articles & Resources:
- Get Propel's Branding Checklist and the final (6) resources being offered throughout 2019. Sign-up for our enewsletter by 6/25/19 to start your subscription to our giveaways and inspiration.
- How to Find Your Brand Voice
- Establishing A Brand Voice
- 4 Questions You Should Ask Your Brand Voice
- How I Took the Fun Out of Disneyland
- Connecting Your Name With Your Face
2019 Articles from Jamie:
- How To Self-Start When Motivation Is Low [January]
- 4 Team Building Areas Solopreneurs Need to Understand [February]
- Small Business Communication: What Every Entrepreneur Should Keep in Mind When Communicating [March]
- Always Remember Your Why, Entrepreneur [April]
- 40 Self-Care Ideas To Keep You Balanced [May]
- The Impact of Branding (it's not just about a logo) [June]
- The Customer Experience: What Good Customer Service Really Looks Like [July]
- Small Business Organization: Where Should An Entrepreneur Start? [August]
- Business Planning Happens in Various Ways [September]