A brand is more than a logo – it’s your company’s most prevalent asset.
When your company is investing in the latest and greatest equipment that’s going to take your business to the next level, it’s hard to convince the finance guy that capitalizing in your brand is just as important. It’s also difficult for the small mom and pop business that is trying to open a new store. People love the aspect of being their own boss, but they need location, equipment, product and promotion to be successful – and then they need to hire employees, balance the books, pay their vendors and somehow obtain life/work balance.
What must be remembered is at the core of everything that needs to be done in business is spending time developing and nurturing your brand. Your Brand Drives Everything.
Look at McDonald’s. In 1962, McDonald’s introduced the Golden Arches. I remember being a child and looking for the bright yellow arches as we drove 30 miles into town. In my mind, those arches symbolized French Fries. Today McDonald's restaurants are located in 118 countries and territories around the world and serve 68 million customers each day. The yellow arch visually translates in every language. While the menu has changed over the years, their branding stands strong. You know what to expect when you walk in the door.
If you read the Ray Kroc story, very early on he had the foresight to differentiate his business through building design that eventually capitalized on the arches. While McDonald’s logo has aesthetically shifted through the years, it can never go away. Beyond their memorable logo, their brand represents what to expect from McDonald’s. Their brand is their most predominant asset. Even a young child recognizes this.
This same principle remains true for all companies – even start-up businesses. Good branding reinforces recognition, increases the value of a company, provides employees with direction and makes customer acquisition easier.
For Sunset Hill Stoneware, our brand means everything to us – and our customers. It’s our seal of approval that emphasizes what customers can expect and trust from us and our products.
- When purchasing our stoneware, customers know our product is safe to use daily within their household. There is no lead, no leaching of chemicals. Your family and children can safely use our stoneware because we have it independently tested.
- Our products are user-friendly and functional. Put our mugs in the microwave to warm your coffee or tea, or to scramble your morning eggs. Place our stoneware in the dishwasher to reuse over and over again.
- We employ Wisconsin artisans. They are talented, educated and proud to be making pieces for America’s parks and leading businesses. They love what they do and are grateful to be employed where high-quality craftsmanship and employee safety matters.
- Our customer service team is second to none. They are artists in their own right. They can expertly match your logo with a style and color that will effectively portray the values your brand holds strong. You tell us best.
The perception of a company’s product, customer service, reputation and logo drives recognition and loyalty. When all of parts of a business are working well, the overall brand tends to be strong. On the flip side, we could all name companies that offer excellent products and/or services, but have a tarnished brand due to poor product, customer service etc.
It’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day activities that simply need to get done. It’s harder to step back, review your processes to ensure they are in synch. The ultimate branding experience is to excel at all customer touchpoints.
Brand Building Principles to Live By
1. Build Your Brand for The Long Haul
Ask yourself, will your ‘golden arches’ be relevant in 5-10 years? Focus on long-term objectives and differentiation.
2. Know Who You Are – and Stick with It
To keep your brand relevant, you need to do something new, yet related to your business’s core competency. Re-energize your brand while staying loyal to your principles, values and what you do well.
3. Raise the Bar
Do something that hasn’t done before in your industry. Be a trendsetter. Lots of restaurants make hamburgers. Differentiate your ‘burger’ in a way no one else can or easy replicate.
4. Tap Into Emotion
Many buying decisions are based on feelings and excitement for a product/service. It’s important your brand continually creates the emotional enthusiasm to engage the buyer whether they are sightseeing a national park, purchasing a product or making a lodging reservation.
5. Keep Your Brand Consistent
Your visual image needs to be consistent at every point of contact – signage, print, in all communications. Remember, in the last 50 years, McDonald’s has made very subtle changes to their brand. Today their brand transcends generations, cultures and geographic locations.
6. Your Story Is Never Done
Keep your brand rich in history, passion and future. Your story creates connections for your customers – and employees. People love a great story. Share it.
Your brand matters – in everything you do. Learn more about passion, branding and chemistry from Chip and Joanna Gaines, the stars of HGTV’s ‘Fixer Upper.’
Whether you are running a multi-billion dollar company, a small business down the street or a family pottery shop, take time to periodically step back from your day-to-day undertakings to re-evalulate your brand’s value. The most profitable companies, both large and small, maintain a common single thread: they have established themselves as thought leaders in their industry by building a strong memorable brand at every touchpoint. Those powerful connections empower employees and emotionally interest your customer base.
Enjoy your brand journey. Sunset Hill Stoneware works with companies across America. From large to small, we can help you create an image that reflects your story. Call us at 800.509.4662 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team will help you set your brand in stone(ware.)
Keeping watch. Pat