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Business Buzz: How to create a lasting brand for your business

When you hear the word brand, what comes to mind? I always envision a hot iron used to brand cattle. The practice of branding cattle seems a bit archaic and barbaric, but I accept that it serves a purpose to leave a lasting imprint on what was deemed property in order to identify the owner. This technique is still used today and now incorporates new techniques, like freeze branding, tattooing and tagging, but the underlying reason for branding remains the same to be able to clearly recognise your property, or shall I say your business, amongst the rest, your competitors.

Being able to separate yourself from the pack is a key component of building a lasting brand. Ask yourself, how am I going to get consumers to pick me over the next guy? To answer this, start with the following five tips:

1. Who are you? Identify the personality of your company by establishing your mission, vision and values that you would like to use to govern your company. Many sole proprietors are synonymous with their company, thus it becomes even more important to be clear about what you want to portray to your customers. Remember, you are your brand.

2. KISS it Keep it Super Simple. There is no need to be overly clever when trying to establish a brand for your company. Think about the image you are trying to communicate and try to identify as simple a way to convey that message to your target audience. Also, consider incorporating an emotional pull when developing your brand/slogan. Take Home Depot for example. In 2009, they changed their slogan from “You can do it. We can Help”. to “More Saving. More Doing”. I personally prefer the first slogan as it is inspiring and it provides the emotional connection that I believe is lost in the new slogan. Consider this when developing your slogan.

3. Different can be good When developing your brand, identify the things that make your company unique and highlight them. In most cases you are not the only business providing a product or service, thus to ensure that you stand out, focus on what makes you different. Island Sole is a local business that is using this strategy well. They sell shoes, nothing fancy about that, but the owners are podiatrist so their niche is providing fashionable shoes that are also comfy. There slogan is “Where fashion meets comfort”.

4. Team up To create a lasting brand, you will most likely need the support of others who can help breathe life into your brand. Make sure that you pick creative people who share your vision and that they care about what you are trying to convey to your customer. The right person can take your company’s qualities and values and create a visual voice that can convey your key message to your customer.

5. Evolve don’t change Once you have established a brand make sure you remember how and why you got there. Chances are the “how” will be your core values and the “why” will be your customers. Be consistent and continue to look for ways to improve. On occasion your brand may need to evolve to stay in line with your original values. If this is the case, remember, my earlier example of cattle branding there may be new ways to do it, but the goal is still to create a recognisable brand that helps you stand out from the crowd.

Jamillah Lodge is a Business Development Officer for Bermuda Economic Development Corporation. She specialises in providing aspiring and existing entrepreneurs with business development advice and loan guarantee assistance. In addition, she manages the marketing and communications plan for the Corporation and oversees the development of a mentorship and youth entrepreneurship programme. She has a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and should serve a general guide and should not be considered as replacement advice from a lawyer, accountant or other professional service provider. Readers should consult with the appropriate professionals as necessary. Business Buzz is a monthly column presented by the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation. Every month, read about entrepreneurship, obtain business management tips, and find out what’s going on in the small business sector. If you have questions about starting a business in Bermuda, just ask BEDC: E-mail us at info@bedc.bm or call 292-5570.

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Published June 11, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 10, 2013 at 6:36 pm)

Business Buzz: How to create a lasting brand for your business

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