Steps to Build Your Brand Name and Make it Stand Out
How much have you worked on the branding of your intellectual or product information? So you have created a website, product, or a small business but you don't have an identity yet? There are many ways a customer will remember a small business. Good customer service, quality products, and reasonable or competitive prices are all practices that will make your business stand out and succeed. One that is often overlooked by small business owners is the importance to building company recognition, or branding. It could possibly be just as important to build a strong brand name as a small business as it is among the large corporations. You are smaller and harder to see, harder for your customers to remember. We can all remember who The Home Depot is without seeing a giant orange square logo but what person spending about 60-90 seconds on a page is going to remember what company that was a week from now. One way is to develop a strong brand name.
Logos, Icons and Colors
If you look at some of the higher traffic blogs you will see many of them have professional looking logos, icons, and colors. The color scheme and other design elements used becomes part of their brand. If you don't have a logo yet, create one or hire someone to make one for you if you are not the graphics person.
A good example of this would be Vandelay Design. He has a logo and colors to match, and it is easy to recognize, even if you were just looking at the "V" in the blue background color. He also has a good article titled Who is the Focal Point of Your Design?, which also gives some good pointers on design, which is another important aspect of branding for your company.
It doesn't have to be the most expensive thing to do. You can look at some different graphics designers, but check out who your competition uses, it may not be very expensive. I just ran a contest where I gave away a complete logo set to the winner, for free, can't beat that. You will find a great difference in professional looking designs and someone trying to earn a quick $20.
Either may be acceptable depending on your budget, just expect to get what you pay for (except when they are free).
Use a Tagline or Slogan
Using the same company as an example above, they also use a slogan (or tagline), Website Design & Customization Services. A tagline should be a very brief set of keywords that adequately describes your company products or services so your customers can quickly gage what your company. Another eCommerce store example would be Etsy. If you haven't visited their site before, their slogan is, Your place to buy & sell all things handmade. You don't have to visit their site to have an understanding of what type of business they operate.
You may not know that they host individual marketplace stores where businesses sell their wears, but you can get a general idea of what they sell.
Trademark Your Company Name and Logo
Something many small businesses fail to do is register their trademarks. This is not hard, but does take time and money. Start at the United States Patent and Trademark Office if you are operating within the United States or check with your country's government office that deals with trademarks.
You can register your trademark for your company name, logo, slogan, graphics, whatever you would like to protect legally. I registered a previous company name we sold last year, Pieces of the Past, and a product we invented and sold within that company name. The business name took almost 3 years to complete because we had someone who contended our mark, and the product took about 18 months.
Each application was done online and cost about $500 USD. You do have to follow directions and file the correct paperwork. If you don't it just adds to the time it takes to complete the process. Once completed, you can add the familiar Â© symbol after your mark, but that's not all you can do with the registration. Once completed, you can protect your mark from being used by your competition or from cannibalizing use on the Internet. A great example of this was when Shoemoney completed his registration of his company name and was able to keep others from bidding on his name in Google Adwords.
See the entire article titled, Stopping People From Bidding On Your Trademark - At Least On Google Adwords, here. If you have been successful at building your brand name, don't let it become a generic name, protect it legally.
Get Some Merchandise Made
This is not only an outward marketing program for your company, it is fun. You can have all kinds of shirts made from just about everywhere today. My previous company attended conventions all over the country so we ordered several custom golf shirts from Lands End with our logo, product name, and slogan. Customers came to recognize us from our shirts with our logos on the lapel.
You don't have to be a huge company to have merchandise made with your company information. I think we were charged $25 for the design work submitted to Lands End via their website, and we could buy all the shirts we wanted after that with our embroidery work included. ProBlogger and Shoemoney have a few photos that shows shirts with a logo for their company and even a great XML sitemap plugin. Some other suggestions might be:
- Lapel Pins (these can be great fun to design and very unique)
- Hats, Bags, Jackets
- Coffee Cups
- Mouse Pads
Use Your Created Materials
Once you have created your brand name, you need to use it. Put it on all your customer invoices and shipments and on your packaging if possible. Use it on your online profiles. You can use a logo on just about every social networking site and most any site you create an account when signing up for the service. Market your brand just like you would market your products or services.
When customers come to your store or blog you want them to remember you after they have left, right? Branding is one way to do that and with a little effort you can create and market a successful brand name for your company, products, or services.
What are some other ideas your company has for branding?