You hear everyone talking about companies branding these days–from individuals trying to brand themselves to celebrities trying to take brands global to companies big and small. But whoever is trying to brand whatever, the key today to standing out is creative branding.
“It’s important to be creative in your branding because people want to be entertained. Remember, you’re in the business of people, not products. Find a way to connect with people and they’ll be more than happy to invest in your products,” life coach Cheyenne Bostock of AskCheyB and author of Break Every Chain: Hope For Our Men, points out. “No matter what industry you are in, there will always be competition. What your brand represents and how it represents will be the thing that sets you apart from everyone else. Your brand should have a niche that allows you to target a specific group of people, solves a specific problem and meets a specific need,” he adds.
Don’t get too fancy with your branding. Keep it simple. “Your branding materials should be simple and effective. Measuring the success of your branding materials will require you to test the market and do regular assessments to make sure that you are still reaching your target audience,” says Bostock. Simple can be creative. “Creativity is a distinguisher. You have to stand out from the competition and the best way is to creatively communicate who you are and what you’re about. But it’s important to always be true to your brand and not be too creative just for the sake of being creative,” advises Kailei Carr, an advisor to professional and executive women on their image, presence and personal brands. She also hosts the podcast Beyond the Business Suit.
And once you start branding, you can’t stop; it has to continue and always be evolving. “It’s important to continually brand yourself because your story will change as you evolve as a person, as a business and as a recognized brand. If you lose weight, that’s a re-branding opportunity. If you cut off all of your hair after growing it for years, that’s a re-branding opportunity. If you’ve gotten married and now have a family, that’s a re-branding opportunity. Remember, branding is about creating a memory in the hearts and minds of others. As your story shifts, changes or grows, bring your target audience along with you for the journey,” notes Bostock.
When branding, think outside of the box. Try not to overlook some branding ideas. “Some individuals overlook their image and packaging–online and in person. Many people feel like their work should speak for itself, but their image and presence is what tells people what they’re about before they speak. Corporate brands, especially smaller businesses, often neglect how their online image and branding impacts how people perceive them. A poorly designed website can make a business appear unprofessional to prospective customers,” says Carr.
Be patient; your branding will not be an overnight success. It takes time. “Branding is a long-term strategy and campaign. It’s not developed and marketed overnight, which is why consistency is the most important factor. Besides logo, color theme and other elements which are mainly connected to design, branding is also built on a corporate legend, storytelling, customer relationship strategy and more,” says digital marketing expert Larisa Aslanyan of digital marketing and branding agency iNexxus. ”These are the fragile, sacred pieces which should be in the core of the brand. Unfortunately, it’s also very hard to keep this consistency, often because of temporary trends, weak story, or even changing your branding agency/expert (unless you’re up for re-branding). Based on our experience here at iNexxus, we’ve come to recognize a success pattern; the longer our clients continued with their strategy, the stronger they became.”
Don’t make the mistake of overlooking branding. It is an important aspect of growing your sales and reputation. “Branding is as important as public relations, marketing, and even sales. Branding is art; it’s like drawing your self-portrait and hanging it in one of the top galleries in the world. It’s your business card, your ID and your DNA,” concludes Aslanyan. “It helps your target audience know you, your values and goals. It can unite your customers/friends/personal contacts/clients around an idea and even grow into a movement! And that’s the guarantee of success for any person or company.”