Big. Bad. Brand.

The Executive’s Guide to Carpet Cleaning Part III: BRANDING

 Notes from Joe: Big. Bad. Brand.

You may think you understand branding. If so, you’re ahead of the experts, because none of them can agree on what, exactly, branding really is.

Some say that branding is your company’s image. Others say it’s the promise you make to your customers with your marketing materials. Some define branding as your company’s values, and others confuse it with their company’s marketing strategy.

The truth is, all of these things fall under the umbrella of branding. Your brand should be represented in your image, your company values and your marketing. If you want to attract and retain customers, start by working on your brand.

I used to think of branding as a subset of marketing–as a chapter in the great book of marketing knowledge. But branding is actually marketing’s parent. Branding is your company’s message; marketing is just how you communicate it. Without solid branding, your marketing efforts will not work.

You may find branding confusing at first. Don’t worry about it–you’re in good company. One of the reasons that branding can be so complex is that it trades in cultural symbols, and our culture is forever changing–now faster than ever. Because of this, I know that I will always need to be a student of branding.

When we first conceived of the ServiceMonster Journal, we outlined 25 journals in all. Branding is our second topic. I wanted it to be the first, because I believe it is that important, but I lost the vote.

In the following articles, we will share a few insights regarding branding. These come from our own experiences–our mistakes, our triumphs and what we have learned from our clients over the years. It all adds up to one major lesson: you can never think too much about your brand.

SC . . . What?
ServiceMonster was originally named Service Center Business, but we rebranded in 2005. Rebranding is an expensive and painful process. So why did we do it? Because a few years after we started the business, I realized that our brand was boring, hard to remember and even harder to refer.

My wife and I spent an average of three months on naming each of our children, but I’d spent less than a day on naming our flagship product. After we committed to rebranding, deciding on ServiceMonster took over nine months (I don’t ever say that out loud in front of my wife). I don’t regret spending time and money on developing my brand, though, and you shouldn’t either.  After all, your brand name represents your company’s identity to the world.

Brand awareness is the only reason you spend money on marketing. Think of a postcard, an online ad or a television commercial. Now remove the brand from the message. You’ll  notice that when you drop the brand, the campaign loses its reason to exist. Yet many companies, both large and small, are guilty of doing just that. To be fair, the larger companies do it on purpose, just to see what happens. But whether you’re dropping your brand on purpose or not, it’s always a bad business decision.

But what is brand? What makes a good brand? What makes a bad brand? And most importantly, how do you build brand in your community?

Become a Marketing Student
Your brand should be more than just your name. Some people remember words, others remember pictures. Start defining your brand by developing a strong logo. It should include your brand name, a striking image and your company’s current tagline. Your logo should be memorable and consistent. Most importantly, it should tell your current and prospective clients exactly what you do. The colors and fonts you use need to be well-thought-out, and you need to use them relentlessly.

Large companies can spend millions on determining which font color they should use. Don’t let their efforts go to waste. Keep every piece of direct mail marketing that comes across your path. Go to hotels and grab every brochure of off the rack. And the next time you pick up a Grande White Chocolate Mocha, take a look around. Brands are everywhere. Marketing is everywhere. Logos are everywhere. And brand recognition is the real key to getting and keeping clients. Period.

Want help with your marketing? Try ServiceMonster for free today!

  1. Bruce DeLoatch
    September 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Nice job on the article. Everyone needs a reminder now and then…

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