A type font does not a brand make

Over-used type fontsQuite often I see a local retailer or service provider adopt a type face that’s fairly unique as their logo. There’s quite an array of these semi-obscure faces available through sign companies and printers.

They sometimes masquerade under alias names, but these insidious fonts have proliferated until they are no longer unique. Incidentally, the reason for the same font being named differently from different suppliers is that type face designs cannot be copyrighted or patented, but font names can be copyrighted.

But these faces, when presented to the untrained eye as samples in the printer’s list, do appear unique. Continue reading A type font does not a brand make

Branding begins as a strategic process

Branding workshopHere’s the first question I ask when I do a branding workshop: “What’s your definition of a brand?”. The answers are as varied as there are people in the room.

“Branding is your corporate image.”

“Branding is your good name.”

“Branding is a unique logo.”

“Branding has to do with what your facility looks like.”

“Branding is a memorable slogan.”

“Branding is your company’s personality.”

“Branding is advertising.”

“Branding is buying ad specialties with your name on them.”

“Branding has to do with building customer relationships.” Continue reading Branding begins as a strategic process

Brand differentiation: price doesn’t cut it

A low-cost providerThere are several approaches to differentiating your business, product or service. As mentioned previously, looking inside at your strengths, your corporate culture and your vision, mission and values is a good place to start.

Then overlay that core with a look at competitive activity and consumer perceptions to see what positions are already taken by competitors and which may still be open and attractive and a fit for your offering.

Many companies take a different approach. Continue reading Brand differentiation: price doesn’t cut it

Branding on the Internet: the benefits

The maze of Internet brandingIf you’re doing commerce on the Internet – either direct sales of merchandise or information, or promotions to gain customers for your services – branding does count.

It may be a little different. The emphasis may not be the same as in a brick and mortar emporium. The perspective may be slightly skewed from “normal”. But branding does count.

And although search engine optimization is not very much affected by branding, most certainly branding can help drive traffic and induce linking in the era of Web2.0 social media. Perhaps those two benefits will persuade Internet marketers to examine their approach and design of web sites.

Add to that four more areas where branding helps marketing communication efforts. Continue reading Branding on the Internet: the benefits

Differentiate or Die: recommended reading

As I spend some time discoursing on brand differentiation, I thought readers might like an authoritative source on the subject.

The best I know is the book, Differentiate or Die. It’s written by Jack Trout, the co-author with Al Ries of the ground-breaking book, Positioning: the Battle for Your Mind. For Differentiate or Die, Jack teams up with Steve Rivkin.

If you go to Jack’s web site you’ll also see he has recently updated the book.

The book is an easy read even though it covers some complex issues and concepts. It attempts to demonstrate both the necessity and possible approaches to developing a differentiating strategy.

Since I’ve gone out on a limb and suggested that differentiation is the most important plank of a brand platform, I’ll write several blogs on the subject, and I’ll use Differentiate or Die as a jumping off spot. In fact, I’ll quote their words frequently.

Martin Jelsema

Make branding a priority when hatching something new

Hatching a business?Many entrepreneurs say they aren’t ready to spend time and money to brand their new bootstrap business. Not yet anyway.

Instead, they believe in doing “first things first”. To them that is procuring working capital, recruiting key personnel, developing product/service, building a distribution chain and launching the product or service.

Their approach to branding is “we’ll do it once cash is flowing and the important huddles are behind us.”

They never consider that an integrated brand aligned with the company goals and values might help them interest savvy investors, recruit top performing people, produce a product/service based on meeting corporate and consumer expectations, establish first-rate distribution partners and motivated suppliers. Continue reading Make branding a priority when hatching something new