Non-marketing professionals are often put in a position to brand, market or grow a business without much guidance. This can cause them to become overwhelmed with industry jargon which leaves them in a paralyzing holding pattern. It doesn’t have to be that way.
I tend to think of branding in very simple terms and I think you can get a grasp of your brand very simply. You can do it by planning, establishing clear objectives and with a concerted effort towards implementation. I maintain that when you think of your company as a cattle rancher would think of his cattle, then you’re going to be able to “Take Command of Your Brand”. It really isn’t difficult and if you’re up for an imaginary adventure, saddle up and let’s head West . . .
You are the proud owner of “Steer Us” cattle ranch. You are about to allow your cattle to graze far and wide and yet, you want to ensure their safe return. Since you’re a savvy businesswoman you plan to brand each and every animal before they wander off to said greener pastures. Now, not only do you need to be able to identify them, you want any ranch hand, on any given ranch to know instantly that these are your cattle. This requires a unique identifier, one that is different from what other ranchers are using for their cattle. You do not want the slightest bit of confusion come round-up because well, your cattle equals money. So you head to the blacksmith and the two of you concoct a design concept that is clever and distinguish-ably “you”. Much to your delight, he delivers the iron cattle-brand ahead of schedule and you are able to immediately start marking your animals before they travel beyond your fences. You sleep easy at night with relaxed confidence knowing that no matter where any of these cattle stray – they will be steered (couldn’t resist) back to you in short order. That peace of mind allows you to focus on taking care of other matters of business, which are crucial to the expansion of “Steer Us” ranch. Congratulations – you have Taken Command of Your Brand.
So, whether you’re a marketer, a business owner or you’re a personality where you are your brand, remember these very simple concepts.
1. Be Identifiable. Just as a rancher needs to ensure a unique brand on his cattle, you can create a name, logo, or tagline which clearly sets you apart from others in your industry. You can do this with colors, shapes, and even the messaging around them.
2. Be Consistent. Hot-iron brands don’t tend to lose their shape over time and neither should your branding. As you distribute marketing materials and engage in social media, keep your brand consistent so there is no question who is at the helm of the content.
3. Be Contactable. Ok, I made up a word to go with the triptych approach, but it had to be done because it’s often overlooked. Be sure the ranch-hand, (Oh, alright the customer) knows how to contact you. If you’re rolling your eyes then you’re one of those detail-orientated people who I need to hire as a proof-reader. All I can say is that if it were such a no-brainer everybody would automatically include their phone numbers and emails on their materials and yet I still come across companies who don’t do this.
Although there can be enormous complexities within each of the above steps, I believe the overall approach is this simple. Marketing is quite a large word in terms of all that it entails, but to get started one can specifically look at the branding aspects as an excellent way to start guiding their business in the right direction.
You can probably tell that I prefer story-telling and drawing analogies over standard business writing because it’s more fun to write and I’ve convinced myself that it will be more fun for you to read. I hope I’m right. I’m quite certain you’ll tell me if I’m wrong. In my journey to cattle country have I missed a branding basic you would put in your top 3? I’d love for you to comment!