One of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal is brand recognition. No matter what your company has to offer customers, it’s important to understand that people are most likely to buy new products from brands they easily recognize. To help, we’ve compiled some of the best tips for building a better brand!
Here are 10 Commandments of Branding:
1. Know Your Demographic
Determining the target market and demographic is crucial when selecting a brand to which consumers will easily identify. Location, age, and income level of target consumers should be considered before making any big marketing decisions. One example of a brand targeting a specific age group is the Jitterbug cell phone. It’s a name that seniors will remember and identify with and it doesn’t have any negative connotations – in fact, it sounds fun, young, and lively.
2. Be Unique
It may seem like a good idea to make your brand sound similar to an existing brand, but it’s actually a pitfall. No matter how excellent your watches may be, a Folex will never be anything to the consumer but a fake Rolex. To start, try brainstorming to come up with a concise description of what you’d like your brand to be or say or represent; the more specific your idea, the more unique your brand will be. Once you have a specific idea, try to think of what word, phrase, or feeling the idea invokes.
3. Brand Name and Domain Name Should Be Created Equal
A domain name is important for establishing the credibility of your business, as well as building your brand online. When making the final decision about a name for your brand or business, you should check the availability of the domain name for your future website.
If the name of your clothing company is Great Buttons, you’ll lose business if people who search for greatbuttons.com find a completely unrelated company that sells something else. You may want to consider buying all the available similar domain names if they’re available (greatbuttons.com, greatbuttons.net, great-buttons.com) because it’s a very small investment to keep someone else from stealing some of your business (or, you know, just keep from confusing your customers).
4. Avoid Prefixes
While some brands have had success with this (looking at you, eBay and Apple), market research suggests that other brands with a company or product name that begins with a lower-case letter have not found the same success. You can still feel free to combine words or ideas to name your brand, but just avoid the lower-case letter prefix of yesteryear.
5. Stand Out from the Crowd
Some words are so overused that they lose impact and become indistinguishable from the thousands of other brands using the same word. If you provide technical services, consider avoiding words like “global,” “solutions,” and “tech” in your brand name. There are many other words with the same meaning that would get your point across to customers just as effectively and set you apart from competitors. Also, try to leave clichés out of your slogans; don’t bore people with phrases like “ace in the hole”, “take one for the team”, and “whole nine yards.”
6. Use Language Properly and Don’t Assume Anything
As a rule of thumb, you want to avoid incorrect capitalization or using cutesy gimmicks. Of course, for every rule, you have a successful rule breaker; popular blogging platform Tumblr, for instance, does pretty well for themselves. But if you want people to find out about your brand, you should make your message as obvious as you can. And it goes for more than just coming up with a brand name – using good grammar and clear messaging is important in all your marketing and communications to come across as professional and capable.
On printed materials like business cards, make sure that your line of business is clearly stated if it’s not apparent from the business name alone. For example, if your company name is Touch of the West and you specialize in western-themed goods, be sure to specify that in your ads. Otherwise, people could get mixed up and mistake your cowboy collectibles shop for a Tex-Mex restaurant.
7. Keep It Positive
Your customers are your most important asset, and you don’t want to scare them away before they ever get to know you! Confusing, obscene, or other questionable associations are likely to turn your customers to your competition. It’s totally possible to be known as a fun, bold, or even edgy brand without succumbing to stereotypes or being crass.
8. Keep It Simple
Brand and product names should be easy to spell, easy to pronounce, and easy to remember. You should try to consider any tricky translation issues, too. Coca-Cola was first phonetically written in Chinese as ke-kou-ke-la, which means “bite the wax tadpole.” Since then, it has been revised to another close phonetic match, “ko-kou-ko-le,” which means “happiness in the mouth.” What a difference.
9. Make Your Name a Reflection of the Product
If the brand name is also a keyword or search term for your product or service, it will improve your SEO ranking – basically, you’ll be way easier to find on the internet. For example, Quality Logo Products sells promotional products and the company name includes two keywords: “logo” and “products”.
10. Market Testing
Before launching the brand, get some outside opinions from clients, friends, focus groups, and anyone else who represents the target market. Present them with your ideas and strategies and then listen to their feedback. This is an important test run before you bring anything live to your potential customers. Make sure to listen if your test market says something is offensive or confusing, and tweak as necessary.
Branding might be the most powerful part of creating visibility for your business, and it often represents the most significant and lasting investment (of everything from money to time to people) a company can make. So make it memorable and have fun!