Ah, branding. It’s the backbone of every successful, widely recognized company in the world. It’s one of the most important and effective aspects of marketing, and you want to be successful with your branding efforts.
There’s just one problem: you have no idea how to get your creative juices flowing. You’ve thought and thought, but still you’re coming up short on ideas. Every idea you have has either already been done or is so bland that it would do more harm than good.
Don’t worry. If you aren’t ready to call in the marketing experts, but feel like you might have to, there’s still hope. Follow these three tips and you should have a wealth of ideas to work with in no time:
1. Embrace those seemingly copycat ideas. No, you can’t do what another company has already done — or even something noticeably similar to it. That would be both illegal and immoral. What you can do, however, is look at what made their form of branding so successful that it stands out in your mind.
Is that brand edgy? Is it controversial? Is it fun and quirky? Is it powerful and authoritative? Is it warm and compassionate? What is it about the message the company sends that makes you want the same kind of feel for your own company’s branding? Once you realize the overall tone you want your company to relay, you’ll have a much better idea of what sorts of campaigns are options and which are not.
2. Decide what is unacceptable or inappropriate. If you’re trying to brand a law firm, going with a quirky idea is probably not going to be very appropriate. However, powerful, authoritative, compassionate, and even controversial are all good contenders. Likewise, if you’re branding a new theme park, it’s not appropriate to brand yourself as a business-type personality. In this case, you want to come across as fun, edgy and approachable.
You have to decide what message you want to send to your target market. Ask yourself what that audience is likely to respond to. What would you respond to if you were in need of the products or services that your company provides? Reach out to your audience on social media and find out what’s important to them.
3. Do some brain dumping. This may not sound very eloquent or sophisticated, but it works. Get in a quiet place with a notebook or computer in front of you. Now think about the ideal image that you want people to have when they think of your company.
With that image securely in place, start writing. Don’t analyze, just record. Every thought that comes to mind, write it down. So, if you want people to see your athletic shoe company as the leader in ergonomic sportswear, a brain dumping session may look something like this:
- Hard work
- Etc, etc
Some of the words you come up with may make more sense than others. That’s ok. This process isn’t designed to create a final product or a list of award-winning ideas. What it’s designed to do is to help you associate the brand you want to portray with images that relate to that goal.
This, in turn, will help you to develop a branding campaign that has the right tone for your company. When you add that together with what you’ve deemed appropriate and the essence of what has been proven to work with other companies, you’ll be very close to having your ideal brand.
Great advice for everybody. I have to say that I couldn’t agree more with your second point. In order for them to stand out from the crowd some companies will try to be different and quirky but this can sometimes back fire. This is has happened most notably when businesses have tried to enhance their brand by newsjacking inappropriate news stories such as hurricane Katrina.
Thanks for the comment, Chris! Great example-very true!