The first article in this series explored the importance of determining your Unique Selling Proposition, which we defined as the trait — or combination of traits — that sets you apart from your competitors and provides consumers with a compelling reason to do business with you. Now, we’re going to delve a little deeper into the branding lessons learned from the Tru Vue Retail Makeover of Fourth Corner Frames.
Because the terms brand and branding are used quite a bit in marketing these days and have acquired different meanings to different people, we will start out by defining our terms so we’re all on the same page.
Brand: Think of your business’s brand as its reputation — the sum total of how it is perceived in the marketplace. As such, the quality of the work you provide, the professionalism and friendliness of your staff, the layout and appearance of your shop, pricing, community involvement are not just important factors that contribute to your brand…they are the most important factors.
Branding: If a brand is a business’s reputation, then branding consists of the deliberate efforts of a business to shape that reputation in the hearts and minds of consumers. Though the best way to elevate your brand is to ensure that every customer experience is delightful and satisfying, for the purpose of this article, our initial focus will be on shaping the perception of your business through marketing communications.
Unlike word of mouth, customer reviews on web sites, or your competitors’ marketing materials, you control the content of your communications…and frame the way your business is perceived. And your USP must be at the heart of all of your branding communications. Whether your USP is your design aesthetic, expertise, experience or value — this is the reason consumers come to you and the message you must reinforce at every opportunity.
Developing Your Business Identity: Logo And Tag Line
As you recall from our first article, we introduced two hypothetical stores:
- Shop A consistently creates great work and satisfied customers. But like Fourth Corner Frames, little attention has been directed toward branding and marketing.
- Shop B is also a high-quality framer — and has some elements of branding in place — but may benefit from some tips and insights in order to uncover additional branding opportunities.
For Shop A, developing a logo and tag line is the starting point for creating and managing its brand.
The most recognizable expression of any brand is its logo — a unique symbol that should visually communicate your business name and what it does, as well as reflect the level of quality you offer to consumers.
Working in conjunction with your logo is its tag line, a brief summation that should convey any or all of the following: the benefits of doing business with you; your USP to differentiate you from competitors; and, the personality or attitude of your brand.
Though it seems like a Herculean task for a logo and a few words to communicate so much, bear in mind that you have a lot of tools in your belt — type fonts, colors, artistic style and language are all drenched with meaning. For instance:
So once you have a logo and tagline that capture the essence of your business, where do you use it? Everywhere…every time consumers see your logo and tag line — on your outdoor signage, indoor displays, letterhead, advertising, email, web site — it helps burn in your business’s identity into their consciousness.
“Nothing should be in your shop — or leave it — without your logo on it,” says Kirstie Bennett, owner of The Framer’s Workshop in Berkeley, CA. “Use it on your aprons, uniforms, slip sheets for ready-made frames, price stickers — anything that your customers can see, touch or take with them.”
The Virtue Of Consistency
Whether you’re Shop A or Shop B, maintaining consistency in your brand is where most businesses have the most trouble. If you’re not consistent in the way you present your business, it’s not a fresh, creative or innovative approach — it’s chaotic. Consumers react positively to familiar messaging and are more likely to remember your message and associate it with your business when you maintain consistent messaging.
“It’s important to be thoughtful about your brand,” says Meg Glasgow, Tru Vue Retail Makeover consultant and owner of The Gallery At Finer Frames in Eagle, ID. “You need to make sure that the inside of your store matches the outside, your website, what customers see online and their experience working with you.”
Good branding practices require consistency across all facets of your business — including signage, websites, e-newsletters, social media accounts, brochures — so be sure to:
- Maintain visual consistency in your use of fonts, color palette, image style and layout.
- Use the same voice in your copy — through tone, language choices and messaging.
- Create a seamless customer experience — ensure that your shop fulfills the expectations you created in your marketing communications.
This last point is where marketing communications and your store operations intersect. If your advertising is elegant and uncluttered, your shop should be, too. If your web site promotes the professionalism of your workers, their interaction with the customer should reflect that. If your brand is synonymous with a particular design aesthetic, your staff should be proficient at walking a customer through the design process.
In the next article in the series, we’ll cover more on how to put branding into action through websites, social media and other marketing outreach initiatives.
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This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.