Branding is the cornerstone of any successful company or marketing launch.At Creative Raven, we’re passionate about branding and helping firms of all sizes create and establish branding imagery that is memorable, favorable and reflects the company’s desired image.

Branding goes beyond logo design, company colors and labels. It is the total embodiment of what your organization stands for, how it is perceived and where it is positioned within its respective market. Let us help you create a brand that is memorable and helps your firm generate positive market awareness and greater marketshare. Contact SuzanMarie Chin @760-325-3317 for details about our custom-tailored branding and repositioning programs.

The following article issued by NASE several years ago sums up the concept of branding beautifully and still rings true today.

Branding—It’s NOT Just  for Fortune 500 Anymore

Republished courtesy of NASE

Your brand, what does it say about you? Branding is something business owners often think of as being reserved for major corporations such as Sony, Microsoft and Coca-Cola. Branding is just as important for small to mid-size firms and exists whether a business owner is aware of its existence or not.

What do customers and your industry think about you and your business? What is the thing that comes to mind when your company named is mentioned? What is the commitment you make to your clients? The answers to these questions are your brand. If you aren’t sure, your brand could stand to be a bit stronger but a brand still exists. The CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, puts it simply, “Customers must recognize that you stand for something.”

Think about it: How many people actually know you and your business personally? If you are like the rest of us, the answer is “not many;” far more people have heard of your business. What they know, what they associate it with (if anything) is your brand.

How important is it to create a strong brand? Consider Oprah Winfrey. What is her brand? Honest, strong, savvy, inspiring, empowering? That is a strong brand. What about Starbucks? Hip, expensive, comfortable. Another strong brand. What about K-Mart versus Wal-Mart? One is known for low prices and the other for well, what exactly? Strong brand versus weak brand. I would venture to say that the last presidential election turned on branding — the Bush campaign being better able to brand John Kerry as weak than he was able to brand himself as strong.

So branding is about creating a desired impression in the minds of people. This is more important for small business than almost anyone else because there is so much competition out there. But if you are able to do it, the benefits are many. For the small business, a favorable brand carries with it:

  • More income potential
  • Consistent business
  • An aura of success
  • Credibility

So, how do you go about creating an identifiable, strong brand? Here are the steps to take:

  1. Understand how you are perceived: How do people perceive your business now? Is that how you want to be perceived?
  2. Decide upon your Unique Selling Proposition: What makes you or your business unique, different, special? What niche is available that only you can fill? Can you be: The sedation dentist?, The inexpensive lawyer?
  3. What are customer expectations? What do your clients typically expect of you? What unique attributes do you offer that best fit client expectations?
  4. Make it personal, if possible: Who do you trust more, a corporation or a person? Whom would you expect to give you better customer service – a corporation or a person? What about honesty – whom do you think is more honest? The answer to all three, of course, is a person. That is why, if possible, it is often a good idea for a small businessperson to tie his or her own name/personality in with the brand. People like and trust people more than businesses.
  5. Put it all together: A great brand will offer something unique, something that people want. It will be based on honesty and integrity (a great brand cannot be a lie), it will both attract and repel customers (you are not trying to be all things to all people; some people like Starbucks and some don’t), and finally, it will offer perceived value.

Once you decide what your brand will be, you then get the word out consistently and repeatedly using your website, business cards, signage, stationary, newsletter, e-mail, adverising, marketing, and public relations.

The result is that you will create a memorable business that stands for something.