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In the last blog, we reminded you to consider yourself a true business owner. We hope you used that inspiration to protect your endeavor with the appropriate incorporation, bank account, EIN, trademark, and copywrites. Now, I'd like you to think about one of the most integral aspects of a successful business - BRAND.

What is it?

When you hear the word brand, the first thought that comes to mind may be brand imagery. Don't get me wrong, imagery is a part of branding. Companies that do this well are instantly recognizable. When you see the clean, minimal rings, of a modernized bullseye standing alone or over a dog's eye, you know it's Target®. When you see the ribbon-like octagon in blues and whites, you know it's Chase Bank®. Even more impressive, almost every time I see the colors red and yellow arranged closely, I think whatever it is looks like McDonalds®. That is all representative of VISUAL branding and only represents 1/3 of what I believe to be the simple approach to branding.

Your brand is what distinguishes you from other businesses with similar products or services and is easily communicated from one person to the next (whether you are in the room or not). The three aspects of a brand I focus on are:

  1. Visual Recognition;

  2. Service Reputation and

  3. Product Quality

You can find plenty of books that break branding down into infinite moving parts. But if you are a first-time business owner with limited time and even more limited funds, here is my one-minute cheat sheet for developing and remaining on-brand.

How to Create a brand

1. Visual Recognition

1a. Create a logo or have one created and then register it through the USPTO

along with your entity name. Some people skip this step when starting but

I'll never understand why in this world of copycats and concept pirates.

1b. Create a brand template. This assures that everything associated with your

brand (packaging, emails, letters, invoices, marketing etc will have enough

uniformity to be recognizable. If you aren't a creative that can do this, hire a

vetted professional to create one for you. Here at The Bird House, we use and

recommend Skyler Parker Designs & Isis Taylor Designs. Feel free to check

them out and tell them we sent you.

2. Service Reputation

How you treat your customers/clients will become your brand whether you

want it to or not. Treat your consumers with the respect and grace you expect

when spending your hard-earned money. A couple of ways to avoid missteps

are: a. Have clear, detailed contracts to manage expectations and b.

State any resolution or return policies clearly on your digital platforms. Clarity

is kindness. And in the end, no matter how great your service or product is, all

people will talk about is how you made them feel.

Here's an example. We all know at least one super convenient store regarding hours and location. Yet we will often drive further, spend more, or just put off going because our experience in that store is not pleasant. Either they don't have enough people manning cash registers, which creates long lines, or you can never find an associate to help, or (God forbid) they are rude and condescending when you ask for help. The store might have everything you need at the best prices, but they will never have your loyalty. Their service reputation eclipses their product reputation.

3. Product Quality

Speaking of product - there is no wiggle room here. The quality of your product is inextricably tied to your brand reputation. Cut corners, push out things that aren't ready, or use a cheaper supplier that changes the quality of your final product, and I can guarantee you that your brand will take the hit for it. News like that travels fast. Even if you don't have the lowest prices or can't take on as many clients at a time, remain committed to the quality of your product. People recognize quality, and quality drives value and price.

Branding support is a part of our author services suite. Your success is our business. Happy Branding Authors!


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