Over the past fifteen years, small business owners have grown increasingly more market-savvy. Unfortunately, many still confuse their logo with their brand. It happens here in Ocean City, New Jersey, and in towns and cities across the country.
We have met with business owners who have logos, some that have been around FOREVER! However, the biggest missing piece is that they have not developed nor evolved that logo into a real brand to support them. They proudly display their logo on their website, business cards and in-store signage. But is this branding? Not by a longshot.
Our team at JASM feels that branding encompasses so much more than a name, a type treatment, a color palette and a slogan. Your brand is the psychological and emotional relationship you have with your customers. Successful brands elicit personal responses and believe it or not, evolve with time! Why is this important? Because people don’t buy products based on logic, they buy based on emotions. Let’s take a look at the difference between a logo and a brand.
Your logo is a trademark
A logo is a graphic design element that is easily recognizable and reproducible. Often including a name, symbol and distinctive colors, it is a visual representation of your brand’s unique message and position.
Your brand is the entire customer experience
You brand is the sum of the entire experience people have when they come in contact with you or your business, in person or online. Every interaction, from your advertising messages and social media posts to the way you greet customers who enter your place of business, contributes to brand perception. Your brand is a promise to consumers.
Why strategic branding is crucial to success
Successful brands don’t just happen; they are built through strategic planning. While good graphic design certainly has its place in helping to define any business, creativity without strategy is worthless. An authentic brand will create value, recognition, provide a unique experience for consumers and set you apart in the market.
Branding is not just for emerging companies or unknown businesses. In fact, many of our clients are fast-growing, accomplished leaders in their fields who realize after several years in business that their identity has not kept pace with their image. Their employees do not share a common brand language. Executives, salespeople, engineers, and receptionists each describe the organization in different ways.
So while the company may seem “fine,” we believe “fine” is the enemy of growth, expansion, and true greatness. A successful branding initiative will not only impact consumers, but will serve to regroup and refocus your staff and internal operations as well. It gives your entire organization something to hold on to and build upon.
How to build an authentic brand
Building a strong brand is a multi-step process. It starts with taking a good, honest look at your company’s core values. It’s extremely important to be aware of the experience your company is providing. What makes your business tick? Is it your responsiveness? Your pricing? Your one-of-a-kind atmosphere? Quality product? Hip new approach? If you haven’t yet honed in on your company’s core values, it’s high time you did.
JASM is here to help. We can help you determine what you do better than your competition and where you may be falling short. We can then work with you to create a credible, compelling brand position that accurately represents and distinguishes your business.
At JASM, our services range from strategic research and planning to in-depth branding and positioning. No matter what our partnership entails, we begin by listening. Listening to you and understanding your business and what it stands for. We also listen to your consumers, partners, influencers. This process has proven its value over and over for companies big and small, corporations and nonprofits.
So don’t be fooled by graphic designers who advertise “branding services” but in reality only deliver a stylish new logo. Building an effective company brand does take experience, time and effort. But the value it brings is more than worth the investment.