Thursday, February 7, 2013

We've all heard the term... especially if you own your own business. But do we truly know and understand what it really means?
By definition, your brand is your business identity {id} that will clearly define who you are and the services and/or products you offer; will be used to advertise and promote your business; and should succeed in getting your target market to see you as the best and only option of providing a solution to their problem. An effective brand will connect with your target market on an emotional level and build a lasting relationship with that market, and will completely set yourself apart from the competition.
Your brand consists of a number of key pieces that all work together to create continuity and achieve a higher level of professionalism. So how does a business establish a successful brand?  By creating a positive emotional connection with your brand's name, image, marketing materials and products/services that will build market loyalty. One of the steps to achieving this is having a recognizable, memorable and consistent brand image that will give your business the visibility necessary to enforce your brand message and build credibility throughout your target market. In other words, establish a professional brand identity {id} - starting with a strong business name, an identifiable logo and descriptive tag line that your target market will connect with and remember. 

What does your brand identity say about your business? Does it speak to your target market? Does it make an impression? Does it stand apart from the competition? Let's look at an example...

Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) was founded in 1964 and has grown to be one the largest, most successful traded sports equipment & apparel brands in the world. Ever hear of them? Of course you have... and chances are, you own many of their products.

In 1971, BRS realized that in order to increase their profits, they needed to expand their market and refocus their brand. Shortly after, they developed an icon (logo), the "swoosh", started marketing the first "swoosh" t-shirt, and profits began to increase. The "swoosh" icon was based on the winged goddess, Nike, who served as an inspiration to the most courageous warriors from the beginning of civilization. They named their first line of footwear "Nike" after the Greek Goddess of Victory and, in 1978, officially changed their name to Nike, Inc.

The company grew rapidly over the next few years by product endorsements, positive reviews from athletes and consumers, and becoming a publicly traded company in the early 80's. The start of the advertising campaign that produced their "Just Do It" tag line in 1988 catapulted Nike, Inc. into continuous, steady growth and evolution across the global market. Today, Nike, Inc. is a top-200 Fortune 500 company that continues to grow and prosper.

Do you think this company would have been as successful if it remained Blue Ribbon Sports? Maybe... but most likely not. They realized that in order to connect with their target market, they had to invest in their brand identity {id} and make some changes. They chose to build upon the feelings of courage, strength and victory... as one should feel when wearing/using their products... making that emotional connection... for the "warrior" in all of us. Seems to have worked out very well for them.

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