Branding 101: How to Make Your Business Stand Apart
July 19, 2020
You’ve heard of branding, but you’ve never really given it a lot of thought. Is it something that you really need for your business? If you want resounding success, then yes. Getting started with branding can be confusing, even for the most seasoned business person. That’s why it’s important to do your research prior to starting and branding should always, always, always, be at the top of your list when it comes to starting a new business or venture.
What Is Branding?
If you’ve ever looked at a product and know who made it without having to dig deeper, you’ve successfully recognized the company’s branding. For some, it’s very subtle — think Louboutin shoes with their trademark red soles — and for others, it’s in your face. It should absolutely be part of your ecommerce strategy, especially if you sell directly to consumers.
Branding is the art of making your products recognizable through a trademark look, logo or slogan. It sounds easy, but it requires a lot of thought prior to enacting because once you set your brand, it’s difficult to change it. This is especially true if you’ve already been actively selling products or services for quite some time. If you change it down the road, you may cause confusion with your customers and that can lead to fewer sales.
How To Incorporate Branding
If this is your first venture, you might be confused as to how to establish branding . The first thing to think about is your color scheme. Is this going to be prominent on your website and packaging? Then, start there.
A catchy slogan never hurts, neither does a recognizable logo. Be sure to do due diligence here, because you want to make sure:
- You’re not infringing on another company’s design — believe it or not, this is easy to do, even unintentionally.
- You’re not using elements that are under copyright. For example, you can’t take the Nike swoosh and use it in a design, even if you change it up.
Your branding should be reflected in your packaging, your website and any marketing materials you distribute. Put it in front of the customer’s face as much as possible so they remember you.
Trademarking and Copyrighting
Here’s the thing: you want your business to succeed and the only way to do that is to protect your intellectual property. Trademarks and copyrights are your best friend in this endeavor. It’s important to know the difference between the two and which protections you need to safeguard your branding. This is where a lawyer can come in handy.
You can certainly do the process yourself to save some money, but it’s always good to have an attorney look over your application to ensure you’ve crossed all your Ts and dotted your Is. This is a finicky area of law, and without the proper protections in place, you can lose all you’ve worked hard for, and that’s not what you need.
Protecting Your Reputation
One of the major downfalls of intellectual property theft, other than lost revenue, is that it can damage your reputation. If someone tries to piggyback off your logo, for example, they’re likely not making products with the same quality. Then customers, who think they’re buying your goods, are likely to complain about this drop in quality, thus damaging the company’s reputation. This happens so often in the business world, which is why protecting your company, logo, color scheme, etc., is extremely important.
Branding on Social Media
Social media is by far and away where you need to be as a business. Facebook and Instagram, in particular, are the two biggest platforms for connecting and networking with customers. Set up shop here, but don’t forget the branding. There’s not too much you can do page-wise, because you’re limited to the site’s constraints, but you can create an eye-catching cover photo and icon that identifies your business. You want visitors to clearly recognize and trust that this is your company. Also, be active. If you don’t have time, hire someone who will interact with customers on your company’s behalf. You’d be amazed at how much it improves relations and sales. some branding companies offer services such as management, market research, and integrated branding.
No matter what type of business you have, branding is essential. Do your research and really play around with different elements from packaging to graphics, and don’t settle. If you have to outsource some of the work, do so, but make sure you hire someone who’s on par with your vision, or you’ll be finding someone else and wasting valuable resources.