Branding your Business
giving your Business a Corporate image
Are You Brand Worthy?
by: Kim Castle
Branding is one hot
topic, although it is wildly misunderstood. To make things even more
confusing, branding is often tossed in the same basket as marketing
which makes its application to an entrepreneur or sole-practioner even
While out speaking on
branding, the question that I hear most is "How do I know if my business
or service is brand material?" With businesses opening left and right,
and more and more closing each year, I'm glad there are smart business
owners open to understanding the issue.
If you've found
yourself asking the same thing, don't worry you're not alone. Perhaps,
this can shed some light.
At a recent luncheon, the
same question came up again in a different way. I was seated next to an
attorney whose sole practice focuses on elder abuse cases, he asked me
in rapid succession (a manner that showed me he'd be great in court):
"Isn't branding for
businesses that make a lot of stuff?"
"Doesn't branding apply
only if you want to sell a lot of stuff?"
pointless for my kind of business?"
Smiling, I fired back,
"yes, yes, and... no".
Yes, branding is most
often associated with businesses that make a lot of stuff. Yes, branding
is advantageous if you want to sell a lot of stuff. No, branding is not
pointless because every business makes something (or offers a service)
and wants to sell it. Branding is about making your product or service
known to as many potential customers as possible, consistently, with the
most effective use of your time and money. Branding is about repeat
business. Branding is about effortless referrals. Wouldn't that be a
benefit to ANY business, especially yours?
To help you gain more
brand-worthy clarity, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I really
passionate about what I am doing with my business, service or product?
And I mean REALLY! If not, is there something more you can be doing in
it to turn your passion switch on? It takes an amazing amount of energy
and persistence to make a business take hold in the customer's mind.
With more and more businesses competing for headspace, it's imperative
that you set yourself apart. If you are not cooking with the fuel that
passion gives you, you're missing out on a very crucial element that
could mean the difference between thriving and closing.
- Do I have a big
vision of my business, service or product? Do you dream of reaching
lots of customers in different ways with your product or service? Do
you see a way to deliver your product or service to an increasing
amount of people with less and less effort? Did you create a mindset or
special approach in your field that can be delivered in a variety of
mediums, i.e.- speaking, books, audio CDs, consulting, etc. Do you
envision moving beyond an hour-for-hour way of providing your service?
All of these support a big vision. , Not only do we begin from the
inside out, when approaching your brand, we create from where you will
be in five years as if it is now. Small vision does just that, keeps
you small. The choice is always yours.
- Is my product or
service a real benefit to lots of customers? It's important that you
answer this one as honestly and openly as possible. I was very
passionate and had a huge vision for a career as a mime! (Yes, you read
that correctly... a mime.) However, no amount of passion and vision
would make people buy it on a large scale. Thanks to Marceau Marceau,
the mime card had been played out. You may find that by being truthful
with your answers will lead to branding even better products and
- Am I prepared to
surround myself with a team or the knowledge to accomplish the business
success that developing my business as a brand delivers? The plus side
of being an entrepreneur is that you may wear many hats in your
business. The negative side is that you feel like you have to! The
truth is, you don't! You're an expert in your field and you need to
honor that expertise by supporting it with a variety of other skill
sets to make your indelible mark; logo design, copywriting, website
design, your marketing plan creation and execution, and others. The
important thing is that you realize...you're in command...because it's
your ship! And being a commander takes knowing where you want to go,
gathering the maps to make the journey, and the crew to make it happen.
If your answers to
these questions are yes, then you have the makings to develop your
business as a brand. You just need the knowledge and practice to do so.
If you're shaky on some of the questions, find out why. Even if you
never develop your business as a brand, solid yeses to these simple
questions will only make your business more successful and more
enjoyable. After all, isn't that we all want?
Kim A. Castle,
Co-founder BrandU™, Co-Author of Why Brand: Big Business Success No
Matter Your Size, and BrandU™ Bible, the only step-by-step workbook for
developing your business as a brand.
© 2004 Castle Montone,
Limited Reprinted with Permission.
About The Author
Kim A. Castle has worked at several
top-advertising agencies in New York and Los Angeles; including Grey
Advertising, DMB&B, DB Needham, Kovel Kresser & Partners and Omnicom’s
Direct Partners. Wanting more creative hands-on with her clients, she
started her own design firm Castle Graphics in 1991, which merged with
Eagle Communications in 1999 to form the Los Angeles-based marketing and
multimedia company Why Communications where she currently serves as Vice
President and Creative Director. She has worked for such clients as;
Digital Domain, DirecTV, IBM, M&M Mars, Gramercy Pictures, Kwontify
Films, O’Hara Klein Productions, Entertainment Business Group, ,General
Motors, Screen Actors Guild, Chase Manhattan Bank, Dominos Pizza,
Pedigree/Sheba, Higher Octave Music, Disney Interactive, Baskin Robins
and Blue Cross to name a few. She created the redesign and retail launch
packaging of the million dollar-selling Hollywood Celebrity Diet, was
the creative voice behind the award-winning website Concept:Cure for
General Motors, created the marketing and packaging campaign for the
Emmy winning short film The Question, Her exceptional feel for layout
and concept, her outstanding ability to tell a story with words and
visuals, and her innate ability to communicate the heart & soul of a
project allows her to excel in brand identity, packaging, direct mail
and marketing communications.
Kim A. Castle, Co-founder BrandU™,
Co-Author of Why Brand: Big Business Success No Matter Your Size, and
BrandU™ Bible, the only step-by-step workbook for developing your
business as a brand.
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