When to start your business branding

Listen the audio from the class.

People often compare marketing and branding, discussing what is better and why. And I have to tell you — branding is a part of marketing. Sometimes you will need marketing more and the other time you will start to build your brand. But! You are not supposed to start your business with branding. And here is why:

There are two types of marketing based on the business model you choose. You may work with a product and target all the people around. Then you will focus on how to increase your market, increase production and sell more to reduce the production cost to get more profit. Or you may choose a customer-oriented model. Then your business will start with research. You will need to find a segment of the market which may require a product and then create the product based on the customer’s research.

So two types of businesses need two kinds of marketing. One is product oriented other is customer oriented.

In mass marketing, you will talk about features of your product and your brand will be about your product.

In the customer-oriented marketing, you will research the needs and pain points of your clients and then you will motivate them or touch their pain points.

In the initial stages, you will need to focus on sales and generate revenue and data. When your business reaches the profit level, and you have enough data to research you will see who are your real customers and what is their motivation to buy from you and not from your competitors.

That moment you can do a survey to confirm your ideas. And you can start to build up your brand. Till this point you probably not need the site or even logo (unless you print it on physical products)

The branding research helps you to build the image in your customer’s mind. The image which they will digest easily and accept because it created based on their understanding of your brand (it is just far more organised, beautiful and pleasant, which makes them trust you more)

You will start with the core values of your brand, positioning, a tone of the voice, and visual communication. Based on these factors your visual elements such as logo, colours, fonts will be chosen and created. This is the right time to get your central brand document — a brand book. Brand-book is the bible of your business. You must stick to it and follow it religiously.

But this is the moment when your brand has just started the journey. It is fragile yet, just like a little pet. You need to take care of it very carefully so it grows powerful and works for you for the rest of your life.

Be consistent, use the styles and fonts defined in the brand book. Do try to stick to one designer or photographer and be sure the creative team understands your brand well.

Unless you hire an agency, it’s your responsibility to see if they follow your brand book.

Check All Audio Series:

  1. When to start your business branding?
  2. Does your brand know its customers?
  3. Is your brand different?
  4. Your customers need to know what your brand all about
  5.  You need to become your brand

5 Reasons to have a better brand for successful business. The reason No. 5

The brand is an intangible asset. Following the site Investopedia: “An intangible asset is an asset that is not physical in nature. Corporate intellectual property (items such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, business methodologies), goodwill and brand recognition are all common intangible assets in today’s marketplace.” Simply saying —Brand adds value to your business.

S&P 500 index showed that “over a 30-year period between 1975 and 2003, the overall corporate value of intangible assets increased from 17% to 80%.” A study by Interbrand in association with JP Morgan concluded that on an average, brands account for more than one-third of shareholder value.

Does that mean that the value of most businesses comes from intangible assets? If so, then brand must be the most evident of these assets.

Check this table based on information from Businessweek, Interbrand, JP Morgan league table –

Brand Value

You may say, that your business is not big enough, or you are not going to sell it. But here is food for thought. Why is that brand adds so much value to the cost of the company? Do you think they just pay for logo and couple of font/colour combinations? Hell, no. This additional price is given by recognition, trust and love of the customers, in fact, millions of buyers.

A bit of history by Wiki:

“During the 1970s, American cola giant Coca-Cola abandoned operations in India rather than accepting a forced sale of 60% of their equity to an Indian company. Following this, the Parle brothers, Ramesh Chauhan and Prakash Chauhan, along with then-CEO Bhanu Vakil, launched “Thums Up” as their flagship drink, adding to their portfolio of older brands “Limca” (lime flavour) and “Gold Spot” (orange flavour).

In 1993, “Coca-Cola” re-entered India after a prolonged absence, spurring a three-way “Cola War” with “Thums Up” and “Pepsi”. That same year, Parle sold out to Coke for the US $60,000,000. Some assumed Parle had lost the appetite for a fight against the two largest cola brands; others surmised that the international brands’ seemingly endless cash reserves overwhelmed Parle. Thums Up had an 85% market share when sold.”

Even today majority of Indians would prefer to refresh themselves with “Thums Up” (well, it’s marginally less sweet than Coke, so there is no difference in the product). Guess it’s called customer’s love 🙂

Check all 5 reasons to have a better brand:

No. 1 “Branding helps you create a unique impression and gives you a chance to be memorable.”
No. 2 “The brand is in sharing the values and attracting like-minded people to your products and services.”
No. 3 “Good brand motivates your team and customers”
No. 4 “Branding helps you advertise effectively &creates a connection between the product and the customer.”
No. 5 “Brand adds value to your business”

Rock your travel guide or any other product with this formula

Last week, I had some conversation with a very talented girl. She calls herself a writer, writes Travel Guides, and owns a travel agency. But she is losing the traffic to her blog. And, I must say, I heard it many times. Blog traffic is going down; people don’t want to read my texts, less likes, shares — what should I do?

When I analyse their blogs, I see the repetitive picture. It reminds me of corporate sites and small blogs. People were talking about the value for such a long time, that they have forgotten about the execution. Their headlines are SEO friendly but generic and meaningless and texts vary from average to good. They try to write for everyone in order not lose customers but get no readers instead.

So what can you do to increase your blog traffic and engagement on social media? Well, there are several ways, and I will focus on two in this post: target audience and authenticity (I know it’s a cliche). I also have to say that there’s no new tactic you need; you only require to change the basic idea and ask yourself “Who is my reader?”.

That sounds obvious, but many bloggers think “Why would I repel my customers?” And, here is the catch. You can’t be a specialist in everything. People know it and trust those who specialise in something. Your specialisation often can be based on the industry segment, and not on human characteristics. So, just analyse if you clearly want to attract a particular target group, you shouldn’t write for all – “all” will not read you. There are many big players with deep pockets who write “for all”. If your content is generic and your products have some common names, you have little chance to win. But you can overcome the obstacles if you take a segment of the big site audience and dedicate several of your posts to it. Same target principle is relevant to your headlines, menu names, and your site sections.

Here are a couple of examples from the real conversation.

For instance, you write for single parents who love to travel with their kids. That’s a direction and if you want to give them a “Travel Guide”, you do not need to call it a “Travel Guide”. Call it: “A Travel Guide, which helps your kids to have an unforgettable weekend in city x”, That way you will target travelling parents, both single and coupled. Or you can narrow the segment and say, “Travel Guide. Have fun with your kids while exploring the city X, even if you are a single parent” (It requires a very specific content, but it makes sense to write it). But if you have such a guide, you already know what to write and where to advertise it and who to target in your ads. It makes your business directed and marketing much more straightforward.
Other target groups also love moving around the world so –“Travel Guide for single executives” or “Travel guide for students’ budget” will attract very particular groups. So as you see, you can take a general thing like “Travel Guide” and transform it into a dedicated product.

If you follow the idea, you would probably understand that you are not narrowing your income, but making yourself an expert, and an authority worth listening to. If your “Travel guide” was useful and unusual, your audiences would share it, and their friends are not necessarily single parents or even have kids, but with recommendations, it may work for them as well.

I also want to add a little bit of my experience on this topic. It’s difficult to find accommodation for a single traveller, and most of the times, you have to pay the same amount of money as two travellers. People who travel with kids need different entertainment than single 30-40 years old executives. Based on this, if you write for all, you miss all.

In conclusion, if you love to create travel guides, here are some ideas which would make me love them or buy. Good professional pictures, fantastic and inviting design, appealing copy; so that I enjoy reading them even on my phone. And, here are a couple of names for your guides: “Secret places of city X”, “Make your Instagram rock with these secret locations of city X”, “The best place where locals enjoy to eat in city X”, and “Magic of local art and craft in city x”.

As you see, I shortlisted the themes which are engaging to me and added the particular location. Such portion guides can be combined in a big project eventually (for city X) and sell well too. So my formula for a good “Travel Guide” is pretty simple – “Excellent content based on Interest, Location, Audience”.
You can make any successful product based on it and win your customer’s heart.

5 Reasons to have a better brand for successful business. The reason No. 4

Branding helps you advertise effectively. We often divide advertisement on the basis of image building or brand advertising and selling promotions. In fact, a brand impacts both of them but let’s see it in details.

The brand advertisement is meant to build the statement. It creates an Image in the customer’s mind and usually uses compelling photography with a clean persuasive copy. Such ads must regularly be posted as they share an excellent quality. They do not sell any goods; they build a connection between the customer and the product/company/brand. Such campaigns require a big fat budget.

Promotional advertisements, on the other hand, may make money faster as they directly talk about your products. Even if they will not have your logo, colours, messages, they may sell. But if you make your brand elements and design work for it, your customers will start building an association between the product and the brand. It focuses on values of your brand and attracts Your Audience, as it wants to be associated with these values. That way you will spend less money and enhance selling ads with additional value.

You may ask why we need the first type of ads at all? Well, promotional advertisements are not created to impress your customer, they sell. So if you will try to shift customers focus from product to brand, people may not react to it and you will lose the advantage of selling advertisement.

So in both cases, the brand creates a connection between the product and the customer. Without branding recognition and trust features, you may end up spending on advertising much more.

Save money, invest in the brand, be consistent and memorable.

Check all 5 reasons to have a better brand:

No. 1 “Branding helps you create a unique impression and gives you a chance to be memorable.”
No. 2 “The brand is in sharing the values and attracting like-minded people to your products and services.”
No. 3 “Good brand motivates your team and customers”
No. 4 “Branding helps you advertise effectively &creates a connection between the product and the customer.”
No. 5 “Brand adds value to your business”

Make your Freebie Rock

Last week I did a little research on freebies, even created some for some super talented coaches. And here are a few thoughts which came to my mind.

Freebie represents your brand more than anything. It’s usually the most downloaded piece of content. If you have an online business and especially info business, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a freebie. And if you are already thinking how to create or re-design your old giveaway material, check these tips.

How to name the page where you locate your free products?

Many people ask about it. They don’t want to use the word free not to underestimate their services, but they still need to have some free stuff to build their mailing list. Here’s the thing to know. People love gifts; they are free, fun and somehow useful, and they give pleasant emotions. The word “gift” is a great substitute for the word “freebie.”

Make it personal.

Most of the people love the personalised stuff. They put their pics on the mugs and t-shirts, they like to see their name in e-mailers, etc. Who doesn’t? So when you create a name for your page with gifts (sometimes it’s your landing page, but it’s not necessary), think about minimal personalisation. Call it “Your Gifts” or “Gifts for you” or similar. It sounds simple but does make a big difference.

Be Consistent

For most of the people, “consistency” is a rule which they don’t know how to follow. So let’s have a quick look at how “consistency” works for your brand. When your free content is following colours, fonts, and the tone of the voice of your brand, it prepares people to a particular experience. Let say you have a sophisticated brand for successful ladies entrepreneurs, the words “ladies” and “successful” would predict our freebie look and feel. When they buy your program, or read your blog they know what to expect and that make them feel safe and happy. Consistency shares the confidence and as a result the trust.

So remember, a freebie is not just a random piece of content to add subscribers. It’s your manager, your PR agency, your visiting card. So make it look and feel like your brand and let it be magnetic and result-driven stuff. Your future buyers will eventually say thank you for this.

What Brand Elements You need? Logo

Most of the brand experts will tell you that brand is not a logo, and they are right. The logo and the symbol (sometimes, they are also called ‘logo group’) are vital elements of the brand, but not the brand itself. The Visual Identity of the brand isn’t based on the logo; it rather reflects the deeper aspects such as philosophy, values, etc. Yet, the logo is often a starting point where many businesses begin their way to an exceptional brand.

So, let’s talk about challenges first.
The main mistake that many newbies make is being overexcited about the fonts. Secondly, they choose on the basis personal likeliness, not by logic. Let’s say you like pink colour and a very complicated calligraphic font — that doesn’t mean your logo has to look pink in colour and a non-readable disaster. However, in many cases, it looks exactly this way. If you want to have a good logo, no matter from the designer or DIY, put attention on these few things:

  • The logo represents your brand’s values and promises (think of them before you run to a designer).
  • The logo has to be readable and recognisable.
  • When it’s printed on a pan (super small size) or when it becomes a sign on your shop/company/office (super big), it still has to look similar. You may have several logos for different occasions (a bit bigger, a bit smaller, vertical, horizontal versions). But better stick to one.
  • You must have a single colour option of the logo! And a black/white version as well.If you choose two colours for the logo, it is good, don’t go above four. (some gigantic enterprises have seven colours in a logo and if you have a couple of billion dollars to spend on ads then go for it. If not, stick to two. The Lesser the better).
  • The symbol has to be recognisable with the text and without text (if you decide to use the symbol). Otherwise, your text logo may transform into a symbol eventually (take HBO or Sony).
  • All parts of the logo have to have a printable or squeezable size. So when you re-size the logo, nothing is lost and the logo still makes sense. (If you choose fancy font with thin part or tiny text, it may be difficult to resize). Once again, avoid super complicated calligraphic fonts with gaunt parts.

Here a few world-known brands which managed to get a very recognisable identity.

Let’s start from those which use a text logo without the symbol.

What Visual Brand Elements You need? Logo

Here are some symbols which can speak without any text. By the way, most of the software identities are built and based on the icon recognition. The icon is not always a symbol from the logo group. It’s an individual element. However, sometimes the icon and symbol may look the same.

What Visual Brand Elements You need? Logo

Here some logos which we know as a group. They evolved with time, but the colour scheme makes them memorable, so people could easily recognise them even after re-branding.

What Visual Brand Elements You need? Logo

Did you notice fancy fonts from the free font sites? No? Me either. What you probably noticed that you reacted to many logos emotionally. All logos would evoke some sentimental connection if you ever bought something from these companies.

So when you create a logo with a designer or by yourself, remember this: “The logo indicates an emotional connection between the customer and your brand”. If it’s readable, easily recognisable from the first sight, and translating the brand values — your business wins a buyer’s heart. If not, well, many businesses like to think that the brand and a logo are the same things.