“Branding is king.” It’s become a popular saying over the years, because it tells the truth. In the competitive world of business, if you want to rule your industry’s “kingdom”, then you need to have a powerful brand. A strong brand is the gold crown on your head AND the throne you’re sitting on.
The kings and queens who ruled best throughout history were the ones who paid attention to their predecessors. They avoided their mistakes and double-downed on their successes. Branding is no different. If you want your brand to rule the land, you need to pay attention to what big companies are doing to make their brands reign supreme. Here are five principles to follow that will give your brand the royal treatment.
#1. Take A Risk
“Fortune favors the bold.” It’s an old cliché, but clichés exist for a reason: Because they are often true. It doesn’t matter how much potential your brand has, or how good your products & services may be: If you aren’t willing to take risks, you’ll never be able to build your brand. Big companies build their brands by setting themselves apart from their peers. If your message and identity is a mirror image of your competition, it won’t excite your customers. People want to feel like they belong to something unique. Nobody wants to say, “Yeah, I’m working with this company that’s like all the other companies.” People want to feel like their choices MATTER.
One of the biggest reasons why taking risks is so important is that it helps you understand who your audience is. When you take a chance, you always run the risk of alienating people. Don’t worry so much about who you might drive away: Pay attention to the people who stick around, and the ones that are attracted to your business when you go bold with your branding. There could be entire demographic groups out there who’d be a great fit for your business that you don’t even know about yet!
#2. Appreciate The Fans
When it comes to being successful in business, it’s all about love. Matt Blanton, owner of Printing Solutions, says it best: “ Being able to appreciate your customers not only shows you are paying attention, but that there is a genuine care for them.” Loyalty and enthusiasm for your business should be rewarded. You’re not the only game in town: If you want to keep a strong customer base, show your gratitude for their continued business.
Printing Solutions doesn’t just talk the talk: We walk the walk. Matt Blanton explains: “We offer a fun newsletter twice a month that has fun giveaways for gift cards to local restaurants or entertainment destinations just because we want our client to have fun, play, and get informed of the print world.” Not only is a seeding reward in your newsletters a way of showing appreciation to your customers, it encourages them to engage with you. Those coupons and discounts you put in your emails makes it more likely that customers will read your emails and not treat them as span.
Don’t just limit yourself to emails, either: There are other ways to say thank you. “We also encourage our clients to stop in at anytime”, Blanton said. “We love our Google+ clients who reviewed us too because you get a $10 Starbucks gift card when you review. We like to reward those who deserve to be rewarded”.
#3. Followup With Email & Direct Mail
When it comes to branding, the old saying “Silence is Golden” doesn’t hold up: It’s more like “Silence is Fool’s Gold”! A key part of branding is presence: If you want people to remember you, you need to keep reminding them that you exist. Big businesses like Starbucks became such huge successes because they understand the importance of maintaining their presence. If people can’t see you or hear from you, they’ll be paying attention to your competition instead.
This is why email lists and direct mail marketing are worth their weight in gold. They’re both proven, time-honored methods of regularly engaging your customers. The trick is to make sure you build value into your communications. As we said earlier, offers and coupons are a great way to do that. But you can also use your communications as a way of demonstrating your personality. Writing emails with a more personable, humorous quality can endear you to your readers. Creating mailers with eye-catching and bold designs will keep them out of your customer’s recycling bins.
#4. Remember To Have Fun And Be Creative
Who doesn’t like having fun? Just because you take your business seriously doesn’t mean you always have to be serious. The backbone of any successful brand is a motivated and energized team. If your colleagues are enthused and energized about their work, it will make for a stronger brand. And few things can boost workplace morale and bring people together like some good old fashioned fun. You know what they say: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Developing a strong and positive company culture is just as important as attracting customers. Good culture attracts great talent. Most big companies set aside a part of their budgets for team-building exercises, after work parties and other activities that keep the team happy and dedicated to their brand.
At Printing Solutions, we practice what we preach. From company outings to the ping-pong table we have at the office that we use to blow off some steam, we keep things fun and exciting so we can stay serious about our work. Matt Blanton explains why this is so important: “We want to provide a free creative space as well as a place where ideas are welcome. Once people see this part of our company’s personality, the relationship will just build from there.”
That’s the other thing about having fun: Great brands have fun with their customers too! Think of unconventional and unique promotions that let you engage directly with your customers in a fun way. From canned food drives to dodgeball games and sponsored events, anything that gets you and your customers out of your safe zones and doing something fun will make your brand look more appealing and fresh.
#5. Market To “Your People”
What separates a powerful brand from a weak one? Passion. Just ask Matt: “What makes these companies have a good solid brand is that they have a strong mission and a very targeted audience that they market to. They literally give people exactly what they want. I believe that a lot of these companies have a non-stop passion and belief in their brand. I know that a lot of these consumers can feel passion in the brand identity that these large companies have.”
That’s where the branding magic happens, folks: When customers can tell that YOU are passionate about what you bring to the table, they will be too. It’s like when you smile at someone and they smile right back: Most of the time, they don’t even do it intentionally- It’s a reflex. Human beings tend to respond to enthusiasm by mirroring it.
To have that passion, you need to build your brand around a product or service that is needed by people. That’s how you build a solid foundation and following for your business. If you don’t already have a targeted audience in mind, you need to start developing a model for who your ideal customer is. What demographics do they tend to fall into? Where are they from? What are their interests? What need is your product or service fulfilling for them? Answer these questions and you’re well on your way to making brand magic happen.
You need bold print material to build a bold brand. Printing Solutions has got the talent and technology to give your brand what it needs to Succeed. Give us a call at 480-596-6300 or click here.