Today’s customers think of branding and marketing as that creative thing companies do with the name of a product or service. It is the packaging of a product which includes the visual impression, logo, the jingle or tune that your customer’s mind conjures up when they hear your product name, and the identifiable phrase that keeps your product’s name in front of the buying public. Branding can be as simple as designing a new wrapper or it can be an exciting long-term media campaign for print and television that communicates the brand message.
Today’s customers use their instincts to determine the worth of a product or service, and it is based on visual impressions. Potential customers make the subconscious decision of whether or not they want to do business within the first few seconds of exposure to your company or product. This visual impression comes from the packaging of your product, the impression they have of your web site, and presentation information, such as brochures or business cards. A successful image is the foundation of every successful company. The image of your brand determines your credibility in the mind of new clients, and establishes the value of your products and services. Customers are increasingly more progressive and sophisticated, so branding strategies have to evolve as well. The branding of your company is like the “heartbeat” of your product line, having the consumer ‘understand’ your product, even on a sub-conscience level. Here are a few strategies that I utilize for my design clients.
- Understand your product. Many young companies create branding programs that actually have nothing to do with the core product. Choosing a logo for aesthetic reasons is great, but what function does it serve concerning the product that it represents? Get to know all capabilities of your product(s), subjectively view your product, from a consumer’s point of view, and most of all , assess if your product is has any essential value within the perspective market. Understanding these simple rules, should give you a guideline on how to market your brand.
- Understand your core demographic and product interaction with this particular demographic. Creating a branding program should henge specifically on what your potential consumer needs, and successfully anticipating those needs (product trends). The branding program you choose should ‘speak’ to the potential consumer, their desires pertaining to any anticipated product (including yours).
- Understand the ‘lifestyle’ of your potential consumer. You’re branding program is a ‘visual attempt’ to have the consumer involve your product into their lifestyle (purchase).
- Access the competition. How successful has your competition been with their brands? Studying competition can often save time and money. Learn from their failures, why they failed, and what would you do different. I tell my clients all the time, “There is only one Nike, successful as they are, study their branding/ marketing, and I am sure you will see apparent creative and lifestyle associative ‘loop-holes’ that are as big as a football fields, your job is to fill those ‘loop-holes’, thats how you will gain the trust of their consumer”.
- Diversify is the key product to successfully ‘cross pollinate’ into other unintended markets/ demographics. This is the most important step. So many small/large companies ‘pigeon -hole’ themselves into a targeted demographic (s), then when that trend dries up, product stops selling. Learn to broaden your demographic to include a primary consumer , and an alternative consumer. This simply means, not only diversify your branding and marketing program, but diversification, even on a design level, so that it has a solid foundation in at least 3 different markets. This not only means more money for your brand, but a chance that your brand can build a strong foundation, continuing to sell and prosper for years to come.