Is Your Brand Actually Different? 6 Ways to Prove It

Bethany Pinzur has 6 ways to prove your brand is actually different. Read on.

Branding a business can take you great lengths in differentiating it from the competition. As long as it actually is different.

If your answer to “What makes your brand different” resembles “It is the best” or “We have better products,” you need a new answer. Likely, you also need to rethink your brand. If your brand fails in any of the following areas, consider a make-over.

1. Creative

Google has helped all of us over the years, but this is one area that needs extra work: if your brand looks like an image anyone could find in a Google search, you are failing your own company. Creativity prevents the first deadly failure — a generic brand.

2. Representative

Your brand is yours, and as such, it must represent who you are and what you do.  Your brand should tell your unique story in a straightforward but intriguing way.

3. Meaningful

A brand without a meaning displays an aimless company. In addition to expressing exactly what your company represents, your brand should clearly demonstrate the company’s goals and where it is going.

4. Concise

Creative, yes. But also concise. Say what you need to say in the simplest way possible. This not only sets your brand apart as carefully created, but it makes it that much easier to remember and reproduce as need be.

5. Memorable

As just mentioned, a brand that is truly different from the rest stays in the consumers’ mind. A memorable brand is necessary to keep from getting lost in the shuffle. Just simple enough to keep in mind, but intriguing enough to merit remembering.

6. Marketable

If your brand is already creative, representative, meaningful, concise, and memorable, it will also be marketable, the final differentiation. A brand that fits all of those qualifications will sell your company naturally, making all of the hard work of developing it entirely worth it.

Conclusion

So instead of the tired and entirely useless phrases of “It’s the best” or “We always use better products,” use your brand to show the world what sets you apart, what makes you the best. If you are not sure where to start creating your brand, let the professionals at The MAD House help!

Why You Always See A Rainbow Of Fruit On Juice Packaging

Contributor Ryan Canady waxes poetically (well maybe not) on the wonders of the rainbow of fruit on juice packaging? Read on.

If one were to stop by any grocery store in the country and approach the juice aisle, they would be greeted by row after row of options. Everything from national brands promoting their 100% juice content to drinks that barely rank as more than sugar-water would be available. However, despite the actual product contained within, all juice packaging will almost inevitably feature a whole host of different types of fruits pouring out.

Why Some Heavy On The Images?

Images play a large role in everyday life, there is little question about that. At the same time, it is reasonable to assume that most consumers make purchases based on price considerations and other facts. Not so says a lot of marketing research. In his landmark marketing book “Brandwashed” Martin Lindstrom talks about how the use of images on juice containers promotes the idea of freshness in the minds of shoppers,

“In the fruit juice world, it’s a generic rule of thumb that the more fruit a manufacturer displays on the side of the juice carton, the greater will be our perception of freshness..”

Subtle cues like this often lead consumers towards certain types of purchases and away from others.

What This Type Of Marketing Says About Packaging In General

A key takeaway lesson from this example is that packaging matters for what it can do to our subconscious minds as much as anything else. While some concrete measures such as reducing the amount of plastic used or making the container easier to carry appeal to some shoppers, other less obvious cues matter a lot more.

Pay special attention to colors, text, images, and perception as much as anything else when creating the packaging for a particular item. These factors weigh heavily on how much a product sells.

Contact us for other important information about product packaging and the role it plays in getting products off the shelves and to the cash registers.

 

Creating Real Product Differentiation Is Hard, but It’s Still Worth It

Creating real product differentiation. Hard. Worth it? Contributor David Caissie thinks so, Read on.

Does anyone really know what ever happened to that fifth dentist that didn’t recommend Trident for their patients who chew gum? All most of us can remember is that Trident had this distinction of somehow being the optimal choice by dentists all over the country. Actually the slogan may have not even been about recommending Trident. I think it just said sugarless gum, but everybody still remembers Trident as having this advantage—or competitive edge if you prefer. Whatever you want to call it, they did a great job of creating a significant product differentiation.

The problem with trying to repeat what Trident managed to create decades ago is that it’s flat out harder to create real product differentiation today. When Trident created their successful branding campaign it worked because most of the competition they were facing was from tooth decayers like Bazooka Joe and Juicy Fruit. Today a lot of brands of cell phone companies offer unlimited texting, a lot of pizza is made with “fresh” ingredients, and most cars in a similar price range offer relatively similar features. It’s a big challenge today to create that special branding that consumers can develop an affinity for.

Creating differentiation may be harder, but it can still be done. You can appeal to value customers by offering a perceived notion of “more bang for their buck.” You can also effectively use promotions and free trials to bring in new customers, hoping that once they try your product they will undoubtedly fall in love with its uniqueness. The key at this point is to make sure you drive home that air of uniqueness with effective advertising that reinforces it.

Appealing to vanity

What about appealing to a consumers sense of affordability or luxury. Some buyers will always buy the cheapest option, and it’s not entirely dependent on income level. Plenty of wealthy people still purchase the cheapest detergents, sneakers, and paper products. On the other hand, other folks will always pay more for a luxury product because of a perceived increase in quality. Within reason, this isn’t entirely income dependent either.

Tougher in a global marketplace

It may be a tougher challenge in today’s highly competitive global marketplace to create real product differentiation, but it’s definitely still a valuable edge. Just take a look at those that do it best like Apple and lululemon. Whether you do it through price, promotion, advertising, or some other creative method all of your own, product differentiation needs to remain at the forefront of your advertising focus.

The MAD House knows exactly how to create real product differentiation to give your company a competitive edge. Please contact us today for more information.

 

Key Branding Reminders for Small Companies: Originality in Service

Originality in service? Contributor H. Katz has some thoughts in this week’s make-up post from our Hurricane Hermine shortened week last week.

Business.com recently published an article on “growth hacks for the frugal entrepreneur.” Their first bit of advice stresses the importance of originality in branding.

How can you bring more originality to your branding efforts? One key way is to perform a high-quality service related to your business.

Let’s look at some examples:

  • Behind-the-scenes videos. For example, if you operate a restaurant or a pastry shop, post videos demonstrating different culinary techniques. If you run an IT company, share tutorials about troubleshooting computer problems.
  • Educate through stunning visuals. Let’s say you work in fashion design or home decor. Assemble collections of images that illustrate certain styles. Offer examples of what design elements would work well together in a home, or what clothes could be worn together in beautiful, trendy ways. (Pinterest boards are a good platform for these kinds of collections.)
  • Start a podcast. Use it to discuss major issues and ideas in your industry, and any news and predictions about future developments. Invite people with expertise to join the discussion.
  • Participate in local events offline. Speak in local forums, host a workshop, or run a seminar. Invite potential customers and extend your invitation to business owners whose companies complement yours. Maybe you’ll wind up collaborating with them, and they’ll help you further promote your brand.

These kinds of branding efforts work well for a variety of businesses. They give you opportunities to demonstrate the quality and personality of your brand. You don’t need to break your budget to take advantage of them. And people will come to think of your brand as a unique resource: original, informative, entertaining, and useful.

A key branding reminder for small companies is to offer unique services to customers. Don’t hesitate to contact us for additional advice and assistance. There are a variety of tools, platforms, and opportunities – both online and offline – for building a memorable brand that earns people’s loyalty and positive opinions.

The Importance of Branding for Real Estate Developers

This week Myra Hotchkiss (Visiting Contributor-Freak) writes about the importance of Real Estate Developers developing a brand personality. Read on!

Branding has only entered the collective consciousness in the last twenty years. Everyone from job seekers using resumes to the services industry using instantly recognized logos to manufacturers using catch phrases brand themselves or their product. Instant recognition the world over has made Coca-Cola, Nike and FedEx the standard to which others must rise. Branding is about more than simple recognition; it’s about identification and confidence. Logos can only carry a business so far. Past that, the business needs to strike a chord in its clientele. This can best be seen in the field of real estate development. These are a group of people seldom seen, but their products are sought after. Experts agree there are specific steps real estate developers should follow to establish their brand.

Developers and Brand Association

Given that branding is about people, it would therefore follow that emotion and psychology is used to influence buyers. Think about belonging to a group of people who “just do it”, belonging to a group who only drive cars with “drivers wanted” as the slogan. Property seekers wishing to belong to a certain group often search for developments offering the value they seek. A study performed by Sunway University College in Malaysia examined how real estate developers wishing to brand themselves could use the components making up the value of real estate to engender brand association in property seekers. The study mentioned that most Malyasian people recognized instantly brands such as Coca-Cola, Nestle and Toyota, so the inference should be that they would recognize the branded real estate developer. The four components, the study reported, were images of the property, the premises, the functionality and their performance.The study said these four facets were how property buyers viewed the developer. This interview with Will Wright at White Space illustrates the study’s description of four steps in branding.

Developers and Brand Awareness

No one will deny that Toyota is a reliable brand. Nor would anyone deny that Nike is trendy or that FedEx is a leader in its field. These and other points make up what the Malaysian study calls property seekers’ brand awareness. Developers branding themselves would come up to standards that don’t come through in a simple logo:

  • Professionalism
  • Reliable
  • Classy
  • Security
  • Family-friendly
  • Trendy
  • Attractive investment
  • Confidence
  • Contemporary
  • Leader in the field
  • Technical ability

The study performed a test among buyers, the results of which showed that the property developer concentrating more on the above branding points as opposed to price garnered the majority of property seekers’ attention. From an architect’s point of view comes an article on LinkedIn, which seems to illustrate these points in the Malay study.

Developers and Brand Personality

As if all this wasn’t enough to incorporate into branding the real estate developer, he also has to worry about brand personality. How property buyers perceive the developer has a lot to do with the sale of his developments. It’s the man who knows “there’s something about an Aqua Velva man” who attracts people who identify with the attraction of a brand. On the other hand, the lady who knows it’s “because I’m worth it” attracts those who identify with the confidence of that brand. See what we mean?

Brand personality includes the tone of the brand, imagination, competence, ruggedness and class. The developer deciding his tone should be friendly and laid back should capture a certain portion of the market. This tends to be younger buyers seeking to remain in place for a while. Imagination we don’t have to tell you about. It’s the developer who can match the imagination in Lowe’s half-papered billboard with “unfinished project?” printed on it or the lady’s face with an open mouth forming the overpass into which a car is driving that will snag a goodly share of the market.

Competence is about “being in good hands” and “built like a rock”.

 

Competence is about “being in good hands” and “built like a rock”. While these are instantly recognizable slogans, the real estate developer that can instill confidence like that in his buyers has built a heck of a brand. Similarly, the developer that comes across as the builder of rugged developments built to last will capture a hefty portion of the market. Last, but not least, is the perception buyers will have. Shall the developer be classy like actors with an international flavor such as Sean Connery and Sophia Loren, or will he be culturally modern and pop? Some if not all of these traits in branding personality are described in an article by Sanjay Bajaj, a real estate professional in India.

Real estate professionals are one of the last groups of people to jump on the branding bandwagon. It has been previously thought that branding either real estate agents or developers was unnecessary, that grass and buildings couldn’t be branded. However, aren’t the Sears Tower in Chicago and Union Station in Washington, D. C. instantly recognizable? Someone developed those properties. Had they been branded, those developers would be just as recognized as their famous properties.

Branding is more than just a logo and a catchy jingle. It’s about identifying, about instilling confidence and about intuitively knowing what your niche needs. Contact us when you need real estate branding: don’t leave home without it.

Opening a Business? Start with Branding and End with Success

This week, MAD Contributor-Freak Sandy Gates thinks properly branding a new business leads to success.

Finally, you have made the life changing decision–going into business for yourself. Yikes! That is one scary, exciting decision, but working for someone else is just so unsatisfying. So, what’s next?

Well then, where to go from here?

You have done your homework, research, and have the needed funds. Let’s say you have decided to use your talents to open a craft beer brew pub. BANG. There is the brand. A brew pub. Not just a dive bar, no ambience joint, but a real, high quality, fun, neighborhood, crowd drawing brew pub. From all the reading and meetings, you’ve learned that success is achieved through hard-hitting branding.

You grab a pen and pad beginning the all important list to get your brand created, being sure you will stand out in the crowd, and get those doors open:

A name for the pub

Catchy and fun, but sophisticated enough to attract the   customers who will do anything for a great tasting brew.

Business cards

Visually appealing and easy to read, nice logo, using high quality card stock.

Website

This is key toward success of the business. It must look absolutely professional including the needed tabs and pages with email and social media connected to it. That way, your customer list will grow like a mature hops vine.

Advertising

What avenue should you take? Budget? Who to target with which media?

Sure, you could do all of this yourself. Or, perhaps, you could call in that favor from your brother-in-law who took that art class that time. But, after some serious thought about the business that will be your livelihood, you realize you may need a reputable professional to create and get this brand out. The MAD House specializes in the entire marketing package–the creative process,  branding, graphic design and advertising. The MAD House has the experience to create the brand and design for the cans, bottle labels, tap handles, and even the swag! Today, the brew pub may just be a dream, but in the near future it will be a successful small business! Contact us to begin the branding and advertising process today.

Branding Reminders for Small Companies: 5 Steps to Stay on Track

Bethany Pinzur, MAD Blog Contributor-Freak, has 5 branding reminders to help keep small companies on track.

Branding opens communication with customers. It informs customers, past, present, and future of your company’s ideologies, goals, and services.

It is imperative, therefore, to ensure that your brand accurately represents those aspects at all times. As your business changes direction depending on demand, interest, and practicality, follow these steps to ensure that your brand continues speaking directly and authentically to each customer.

1. Remember

Seems so obvious, so why do some business owners seem to forget?

Maybe it is laziness, perhaps carelessness; regardless, avoid this mistake at all costs. Keep your brand in mind constantly, asking yourself if it still represents all you stand for and communicates it effectively to customers.

2. Evaluate Change

Keep your fingers on the pulse of your business. Recognize change as it is happening to avoid surprises and careless mistakes: nothing says you do not really care about your brand like letting it get out-of-date. Take charge and take note of the direction your business is going.

3. Customer Feedback

Repeat with me, “Customers are the lifeblood of my company.”

No matter how well you think your brand represents your company, you must constantly keep in contact with your customers to see if they are accurately understanding what you are communicating. Invite feedback. Interact.

4. Redesign

And when the time comes: make changes.

Changes, big and small, attract attention. Modifying your brand shows innovation, courage, and growth. Keep the essence so current customers remain engaged, but redesign honestly to demonstrate developments in the company — and to attract new customers.

5. Advertise

Promote your shiny new brand.

Show customers that you are the same trustworthy company you have always been, but that you are listening to their feedback, expanding, and advancing. Nothing attracts customers like showing you go out of your way to reach them and listen to them.

Conclusion

To sum it all up, be careful, value customers, and take action.

Sound simple? It is.

But if you need ideas, confidence, or more information, do not hesitate to contact us!

Beer. Design. Beer. Branding. Beer. Beer. Beer.

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