Branding. How many books and articles have been written about marketing and branding? My soapbox for entrepreneurs includes "branding is a symptom" and is the result of consistently over-delivering products or services vs. what is promised. A small business owner does not always have the resources or foresight to create a high impact image like larger companies do. Which comes first? Will it be what people say about your business? Or is it the result of a marketing plan which specifically decides the brand identity?
What is the trick to knowing what to do and say to be remembered and yet be taken seriously?
Keeping an open mind is essential to business success. To that end, we have invited Tim Millett to write an article about marketing basics in regards to identity and branding. Sticking with the basic points of marketing, Tim Millett's article is below:
Marketing Basics: Creative Identity and Branding
Your identity is part of your market profile. Imagine you’re looking for a very common product in a highly competitive commercial sector like business mobile phones- What attracts your attention is simply the identity and branding of the phone suppliers. The more creative the presentation of the market profile, the more likely you are to notice it and respond.
This is why you need to be particularly careful about your own market identity and branding. Consider the term "creative identity" for a minute. Your perceived market identity is, quite literally, who you are to people looking at your products and services. This is an extremely important issue, because it directly affects customer judgment and decisions.
Best practice in brand creation and market profiles is to create a truly unique market identity. This is roughly the equivalent of a "unique selling point". A classic case of creative identity is Coca-Cola.
Coca-Cola started off with the critical criteria for a creative identity:
- A unique name
- A unique form of packaging
- A unique logo
These are the absolute basics of creative identity. "Coca-Cola" literally meant a unique product. This market identity effectively established a one of a kind market presence.
There are other legal and intellectual property issues involved in market identity, too, and it's important that you understand them:
Brand identity is highly sensitive. Many companies go to great lengths to protect their logos, name and any other identification related to their products. It's a very good idea to steer clear of any visual or textual resemblance to any other product, particularly in your sector. This area is Litigation Paradise, and it’s best to avoid any possible issues.
Brand identity must be well structured. Market visibility really does mean making your product visible through promotions, advertising and merchandising. Whatever industry you're in, you'll have your own equivalent of these basic promotional vehicles. "Visibility" equates to "recognition". To be effective, a market identity must be easily recognizable.
Intellectual property is extremely important in market identity and branding. If you're aware of the process of registering a trademark, that's how tricky intellectual property issues in creative market identities can be. Whatever imagery or other branding methods you use, it's a very good idea to get professional assistance to ensure that your market identity is secure in terms of intellectual property rights.
To stand out from the field, your market identity must use creative elements to distinguish it from your competitors.
Consider these two names, for example:
- ABC Mobile Phones
- Good Times Business Mobiles
Note that Good Times Business Mobiles also has the good sense to tell people that it’s a business mobile phone company. Market identity has to be functional.
Good Times Business Mobiles is also a positive identity. ABC Mobile Phones is pretty uninspiring as a business name. It literally screams, "We're just one of the crowd", and that's not where you want to be in terms of market perception.
A good creative market identity will always outperform the herd. Stand out, and you will succeed.
About the author:
Tim Millett is an Australian freelance writer and journalist. He writes extensively in Australia, Canada, Europe, and the US. He’s published more than 500 articles about various topics, including business mobile phones and business mobile.