What do golden arches, a partially eaten apple and Mickey Mouse have in common? This question might sound like the start of a bad joke, but the answer is no laughing matter. These items all represent strong brand identities, which belong to McDonald’s, Mac, and Disney respectively (not that I had to tell you that.) Moreover, these symbols prove that a company name, logo and even a mascot send a message about the quality and consistency of the brand’s products or services.
As Jaime and Kim mentioned in their blogs earlier this week, it’s important to set yourself apart from the competition. The methods you use to attract consumers- offering free shipping, next day delivery or even just a catchy name and Web site design- all fall under the larger umbrella of branding. Business might be booming, but if no one can remember your name, customers will soon be drawn to competitors who offer similar products. Whether you are just starting up or trying to re-brand an established business, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine if you are on the right track.
To start with, who is your target audience? Go beyond just demographics and consider what types of products these people buy and how frequently they make purchases. Your research should certainly incorporate statistical analysis, but never underestimate the power of speaking directly with your customers. Listening to consumers’ needs and understanding their backgrounds will help you determine the most effective way to reach them; proven strategies often include interactive Web sites, social media, and promotional products. At the end of the day, your brand should be able to tell a story- if it doesn’t, you might need to step back and take a revitalizing approach. Does your brand need an extreme makeover? Use promotional products to re-brand.
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