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What Word Best Describes Your Brand?

Intro by Skip Cohen

I love this post from Sarah Petty’s archives because it couldn’t be more appropriate today. Plus, it’s a mini-marketing course all in one blog post.

So many of you have marketing support material that looks like every piece was designed by a different person with a different target audience in mind. Your website is probably your oldest piece of real estate and no longer matches your blog, Facebook page, etc. New brochures have a different look, maybe even a different logo.

You’ve got to be consistent in everything you share – from your website to your blog to your advertising, logo, business cards, stationery – EVERYTHING!

For example, with the exception of Sedona, Arizona where the McDonald’s arch is turquoise instead of deep yellow – the logo is the same everywhere in the world. The food is the same everywhere with the exception of the occasional marketing test of a new product or in overseas markets, cuisine tied to local culture.

Well, you don’t have McDonald’s budget, but to Sarah’s point, you do have the ability to be just as consistent. Be consistent, not just in the way everything looks, but the image you want to portray. Photography is a word-of-mouth business and you’ve got one goal, to exceed client expectations and make yourself habit-forming.

By Sarah Petty

An article about brand building (in Brandweek) got me thinking about the ONE word our customers would use to describe our brand. The Brandweek article shared the results of a study by Alloy Media & Marketing of 1,500 US college students. Students were asked to name brands that evoked feelings of happiness and trust. Clinique came out on top, not surprisingly, given their straightforward product name and subsequent branding of Happy, at the time, their best-selling perfume.

But as small business owners, we don’t have the marketing budgets of Clinique, Apple, Coca-Cola and the others named on the list. So is it impossible for us to own a word in our customers’ minds? Definitely not. This can be achieved by good branding, even on a small budget. How? Through CONSISTENCY!

Think of the one word you’d like people to use when describing your business. Write it down.

Is the name of your business consistent with that word or does it evoke something different? For example, if you’re a children and family photographer your name should evoke something different than that of a wedding photographer. Snuggles and Smiles Photography, for example, doesn’t evoke the feelings a customer would want for their elegant wedding photographer. Think hard about what the name of your business does to contribute to your brand.

Do your logo and tagline create an image that is consistent with the word you’ve chosen to describe your business? Always use the same logo and tagline. Make sure your logo and tagline, from the words, fonts, colors and graphic elements, evoke a CONSISTENT feeling with your business name. Snuggles and Smiles, for example, should not use a dark color, gothic font, etc.

From there, your marketing materials whether it be business cards, brochures, price sheets, print ads, etc, should also evoke the same CONSISTENT feeling you are striving to achieve with your business name, logo and tagline. If you’re an upscale business, DO NOT print your business cards on your home printer. DO NOT run XEROX copies of your price menu. Invest in your brand by creating materials CONSISTENT with the one word you want your customers to use to describe your business.

And when your customers come in the door, make sure the experience they have in your business is consistent with everything I just mentioned previously. If your business is Snuggles and Smiles Photography make sure you are kid-friendly, have soothing, comfy colors and furnishings in your studio, and your staff is kid-friendly and kind with your customers.

So what is that one word that describes your business?