Welcome to Part 3 of a four-part, step-by-step tutorial on how to build your brand from the ground up. This is offered as a general roadmap for small businesses, solopreneurs and all those with a DIY mindset. We’re laying out all the steps you need to take but, while it might be readily apparent how to accomplish some of them, some may be difficult to complete. That’s because every brand, every business is unique. So we can only suggest general guidelines. It will be up to you to assess your own business situation and customize each step to your own needs. If you’re just discovering this process, please START at the beginning. Going out of sequence will only make the path more difficult. If you’ve stayed with us for Parts 1 and 2 of this series, congratulations! You have only one more step to complete and you’ll have established your brand strategy. At that point, you should have clarity about your marketing path and can begin setting up your communications plan.
This four-part series is offered in response to frequent requests from small business and solopreneurs for a step-by-step guide to building a strong brand. If it is a subject of interest to you, please START at the beginning. You won’t get far if you jump in here at Step Seven. But, if you have read Part 1 of this series, and completed the tasks therein, you’re more than halfway done setting up your brand strategy. You’ve been learning how your clients think about your business and you’ve been examining it from their point of view. That changes now.
We’ve been asked, with increasing frequency, to provide a step-by-step guide to building a brand. That’s really an impossible task because every business, every product, every service, is different. But for small businesses and solopreneurs, what follows may afford some benefit. It may even be useful to those working on their personal brands. We provide it with the caveat that, as my old professor used to say, “The map is not the territory.” The reader will need to customize the process to more aptly fit his or her own business realities. So start now. And when you finish the first task, begin immediately on the next one. When you complete all twenty, you’ll have maximized your brand power, your brand effectiveness and your brand value.
By guest author, Cheryl Hodgson, Hodgson Legal
Brand names, and the trademarks that represent them, are among a company’s most valuable business assets. The selection of a great brand name begins with the branding process itself. But before making a final selection from any list of contender names, it’s important to find out if the desired candidates qualify for trademark registration; and whether that registration can be enforced against third parties. The ability to protect the brand name, and use it to build goodwill over the long term, should inform the final selection.
When selecting a trademark to marry to brand values and messaging, it is helpful to see where the proposed mark lands on the trademark continuum of legal protection. Brand protection experts, trademark agencies, and courts alike use the Trademark Continuum to decide whether a particular word for phrase can function as a trademark. Those that cannot so function should not be considered for use.
You’re not going to like this. No one ever does. But setting a budget for marketing is always a difficult task. Business experts and academics, all smarter than I am, have, in the past, advanced formulas and prescriptions for creating budgets appropriate to a company’s size and its marketing challenge. I have no idea if any of those recipes work. The Small Business Administration notes that a business with less than $5 million in annual revenue should allocate between 7-8 percent of that revenue to marketing. Furthermore, they suggest splitting those resources between brand development (websites, blogs, collateral) and promotional activities (campaigns, events, etc.) But what they don’t explain is how they come to that figure in the first place. Why is 6.9% too little? Why is 8.1% too much?
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Best Branding Reads
Week of March 20, 2017
Fashion brands — including several L.A. retailers — are dying off as consumer habits change
A good brand strategy should last 15-20 years … or 10-15 if you’re in fashion.
Nation Branding: Swiss on a Roll in 2017 Best Countries Ranking
Oh those Swiss with their positive business climate, universal healthcare, high quality of life, etc., etc.
Marketing is not what it used to be, says Nestle's Arvind Bhandari
Counterintuitive views on branding and marketing from the Sr. VP, Nestlé South Asia
3 Ways To Establish A Meaningful Brand
Brands exist and grow in the space between you and your consumer.
New Name and Logo for Digix
From Brazil: A great example of how simplifying a name and visual identity creates a stronger, more memorable brand identity.
New Logo and Identity for Brighthouse Financial by Red Peak
Great new name.Very clean logo with a well-executed (and interesting) gradient. Excellent applications.
Branding By Halves: 5 Questions With Yamaha’s Julian Ward
Conundrum: How does Yamaha break every rule of branding, with its illogical product mix, and still succeed?