Brand Identity and Building Your Business

From Nike to Coke and every company in between, what makes them tick is their brand identity. Marty Neumeier, Director of CEO Branding for Liquid Agency, defines brand identity as “the outward expression of a brand, including its trademark, name, communications and visual appearance.” So, what is your company’s brand identity? Simply put, it’s your reputation!

A brand is essential to anyone who wants to stand out from those around them. Remember that your brand identity is defined by your customer’s overall perception of your business (reputation). Make your branding unique enough that your competition doesn’t stand a chance. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, said, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Brand Identity and Building Your Business

Branding is the most important part of your business, whether it be large or small. Building a strong brand helps your company not only be financially stable but memorable. And, by being memorable, your brand will draw in more customers just by word of mouth. Your brand becomes your promise of service or high-quality goods to your customers. It is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

So, now that we established your brand, how do you get the brand identity that you want? And, how do you maintain that identity? Follow these simple rules to get the most out of your branding and keep customers interested in what you are offering.

Consistency is Key

When designing your logo and text, keep it consistent so that your brand stands out from your competition. And, when reusing this logo, the colors should always remain uniform. Choose colors and fonts that represent your company’s goals and make sure to keep them emotionally available to your customers. Don’t choose red (signifying power or confidence) when you need a calming, inviting color (blue) to represent your company. Your logo and standards are what give your brand its uniqueness.

The same goes for any font used in your branding. Some fonts may be too busy for your branding message, while other fonts are too bland for making you stand out. Take Coca-Cola, for example. Their ribbon-like font lets their customer know that their product is intended for fun and whimsy. Maybe your service or product is a bit more serious, so make sure to use a font that accurately represents your brand identity.

Once you establish your brand identity, don’t change it. Let your customers soak in this identity so that they become used to it and learn to embrace it. This identity will keep your business going, so you don’t want to risk inconsistencies. Remain consistent so that your brand will stand the test of time.

Think about this: everyone knows the Nike tagline, “Just Do It.” And their mission statement is just as important, “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.” With these two objectives always at hand, and their logo ready to go in their pocket, Nike literally rules the world in their business endeavors. And, by using the ideas Nike has used, you can figure out how to accomplish success for your brand.

Branding is more than a well-designed logo or a perfectly placed ad; you need to do more.

Your brand identity is more than your logo. While your logo helps your clientele know who you are, your identity goes so much farther than color or font. A brand identity is a visual, emotional and intellectual representation of your business goals and standards. Coca-Cola knew what they were doing when they started marketing its product. From their highly recognizable red to the swoop of their font, they are a company that understands brand identity. Likewise, your logo and identity should convey everything your business stands for. 

Ultimately, your brand identity should be an accurate representation of what your company is about, and what you hope to achieve with it. Business branding is something that takes time but should be considered a crucial first step in launching your company. After your branding materials are in place, you can look back on these resources for years to come to ensure you’re always staying true to your mission.

Every detail matters, no matter how small it is. The branding process takes time and can be delicate. But, it is crucial to take it in stride. After all, you want a business that will thrive in your chosen market. You need to communicate to consumers what your brand wants and needs and, most importantly, how it can benefit them. Don’t get discouraged because developing your brand identity is taking a long time. It can take years of tweaking and adapting. And remember that not even multi-billion dollar companies get it right every time.

Brand Identity and Building Your Business

Know Your Competition’s Brand Identity

Research competitor brands within your industry. You should never imitate exactly what the big brands are doing in your industry. But, you should be aware of what they do well (or where they fail). The goal is to differentiate from the competition. Convince a customer to purchase from you over them!

We’re always thinking about how to make a brand stand out from what’s out there already. Don’t skip this step in the brand building process. Research your main competitors or benchmark brands. For instance, study how well they have gone about building a brand name. For a brand name to be effective, it needs to be easy for consumers to recognize and remember.

Your company’s identity is what makes you instantly known to consumers. This branding is what will help them to associate your business with your product or service. And when it comes to the time that they need what you offer or sell, they will remember your company because of your brand identity. It will help build your customer loyalty as well as your brand awareness. 

So, make your brand identity your most effective marketing tool. But keep in mind that this branding process will never stop. It continues only as long as you make it keep working for your company. Check in on your branding practices continually to ensure that they are working appropriately. And don’t forget to integrate branding into everything you do for your company. 

Start with the Correct Tools

Laser engraved name tags and name plates

Name tags and name badges provide necessary company branding. This branding is vital for all of your marketing needs. It distinguishes you from your competition and helps others to recognize your quality more readily. By using logos on name tags, you create a focus to help drive your business. But, don’t limit yourself to just your name tags. Don’t forget that signage and other identification products are there to help advertise your brand. From custom lanyards to award plaques and everything in between, get it personalized with your logo! And then start spreading the word.

The key is to remember that your logo represents your brand’s commitment to providing the best service or product to your consumers. Communicating your brand can be as easy as wearing a name tag. And using your logo on every name tag you use for your company will help to convey your brand identity. But it also takes effort to remember putting on that name tag. So, the next time you consider not wearing your name tag to work or any other work related event, reevaluate that decision.

After all, your name tag is basically a walking billboard for your company logo. No matter where your customer is, they should be able to see your branding. Your branding needs to be visible and reflected in everything that your consumers can see and hear. If a customer walks into your store or office, your logo and brand identity should be on display for them to see. Integrate your brand into every aspect of your business. Branding should not only be in your physical environment, but it should also reflect in your business and personal interactions.

Tangible Items

  • Business Cards
  • Advertisements
  • Packaging and Product Needs (custom ribbons are a great resource)
  • All Printed Materials

Digital Platforms

  • Social Media
  • Online Videos and Images
  • Websites
  • Google Ads

Business Associations

  • Greetings and Dealings with Clients
  • Customer Thank Yous
  • Welcome Signs
  • Corporate Gifting

Creating a Brand Image that Sets You Apart

Your brand image reflects your business vision, which, in many ways, embodies your mindset as a business owner. Jay Abraham’s Strategy of Preeminence lays the foundation for mastering your mindset to distinguish your company from the rest. This strategy entails creating a culture of respect for your team, customers and partners. To create a culture of preeminence, make allies everywhere you go so that the message is clear: “I’m here to serve you and meet your needs.”

You’re here to add real value to your customers’ lives. To create this type of relationship dynamic, show empathy to everyone you interact with, and strive to understand what they really need. With this understanding, you’re able to create meaningful relationships based on trust and respect, which weaves you into the fabric of your target market.

From networking to marketing strategies, your brand identity should come first. You should always add a personal touch to everything your business does. Make sure that every consumer feels as if they are your only VIP customer. And don’t forget to say thank you for their business. A little gratitude goes a long way, especially in business dealings.

Why is brand identity so important?

Having a brand identity doesn’t just make your product more memorable; it makes your brand more authoritative in the marketplace. A brand that establishes a face, and maintains that face consistently over time, develops credibility among its competitors and trust among its customers. When you create an identity for your brand, you’re giving it something to stand for. That, in turn, gives your company a purpose.

Your brand represents everything your business does. No matter the situation, your logo is out there for the world to see. So, make sure that your presentation of your values, standards and goals is in line with your branding strategies. Because, if it isn’t, your brand identity may become something you don’t want. After all, this identity is how the world will see your business.

The Art of Corporate Gifting

Corporate gifting is a fun and captivating way to show appreciation for colleagues and clients. Gift giving is also a powerful investment tool for your business. Take a moment and think about how important it is to recognize those who keep your business running.

You are creating a personal connection to people you work with by giving gifts. These individuals will feel more valued and appreciated as they receive a thoughtful gift. And, there is no better way to strengthen a business relationship.

As such, corporate gifting has been on the rise for the past few years. This rise happens as more business owners discover the benefits of thanking their customers, employees and other business partners with a simple gift. No matter the present, how you give to those keeping you in business says a lot about you as a professional.

corporate gifting to employees

What is corporate gifting?

Corporate gift giving is an effective way to sustain your customer and employee retention. Giving these gifts will help you build critical relationships with customers and colleagues. And, most importantly, it will allow you to express your gratitude to the company’s employees. It is a simple concept to show appreciation to your professional network and will increase your business opportunities.

According to numerous surveys, most business gifts are given to major clients. After that comes employees, then prospective clients. Reasons for gift giving range from thanking long-standing customers for their business to recognizing a valued employee for working on a weekend. The basic reason is the same: to affirm relationships and enhance the personal connection between the giver and recipient.

Gifts differ from incentives in that they’re offered with no explicit preconditions for performance. They differ from ad specialties in that they don’t contain any blatant imprints or advertising. They differ from recognition in that they’re not part of prescribed programs.

But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a bottom-line benefit to be derived from corporate gift giving. Just about everyone agrees that when done correctly, gifting is a cost-effective way to build a sense of partnership with valued associates. And, they know that the primary reason for gifting is to acknowledge relationships and improve personal connections.

Why should you participate in corporate gifting?

For some companies, corporate gifting is an essential part of their marketing strategy. It is, by far, one of the most productive ways to grow and sustain your business. And, for many companies, giving is a fundamental detail within their business model.

Most business owners would agree that, when done correctly, corporate gifting provides an opportunity to connect with their clients and strengthen employee ties. And, while there are many reasons for corporate gifting, the underlying goal is to sustain relationships and deepen personal connections between the business owner and their colleagues. Retention, recruiting and business development are three other great reasons to give a gift.

Show how much you value the relationships you have built through your business by handing out corporate gifts. By doing this, your bottom-line becomes a social, rather than a financial benefit. But don’t just give a gift because you think your clients and employees expect it. Give because you want to sustain these relationships.

Because of your corporate gifting, your business transactions increase and so does your customer retention. By giving corporate gifts to your business associates, you continue to develop a positive image in your customer’s mind. So, customers who receive thoughtful corporate gifts from your business tend to buy more products and request services from you.

However, many corporations don’t understand that gifts and incentives contribute to maintaining a business commitment. Corporate gifting helps maintain the relationships you have already worked so hard to establish. It also helps the recipient remember your company because you gave them such an enjoyable and memorable gift.

We are social creatures who express our feelings by giving gifts.

It can be any occasion, be it a birthday, anniversary or to even show love and gratitude, giving gifts is an activity we all do. Let us go back in time to find the origins of gift giving. Giving gifts is one of the oldest human activities; it may have started just after the origin of our species. Even primitive beings gave gifts to one another; often tribe leaders awarded tribe members for any achievement that is gain for the entire tribe.

Earlier gifts used to be a little unusual, but these were the only precious things available at that time. Unusually shaped rocks, a tooth are some examples. These things came naturally from nature and were given without any modification. As we developed tools, holes were drilled into these rocks or a tooth to use them as necklaces or bracelets. Then idols gifted were made from carving wood or stone for as idol worship started among people. Later, people used to offer each other good luck tokens; these token were given as presents. Even today, corporate gifting is part of our everyday culture; it is a means to express our feelings for one another.

So then, to whom should you be sending these gifts?

corporate gifting should include everyone who is important to your business

Your gift recipient list should always include significant clients, business partners, valued suppliers and especially your employees. After all, your employees are your most valuable asset, so you want to show how much you appreciate them. Other notable people to consider sending corporate gifts can include prospective clients or new customers.

Gift these gifts as employee recognition. Some companies give managers a discretionary budget that may be spent on gifts to recognize employees for exceptional behavior. Actions worthy of special recognition include going “above and beyond” to please a customer, putting in long hours to complete a project on time, making a cost-saving or productivity-enhancing suggestion or completing a big sale. Some executives would argue that such actions are expected as part of an employee’s job and should be rewarded at performance-review time. Yet, the evidence suggests that carefully timed and appropriate gifts not only make people feel appreciated for their performance, they also increase the chances people will feel good about going the extra mile in the future.

When giving gifts for a special performance, make sure the gift is appropriate to the employee receiving it, and the presentation is made in a personal and, if possible, public forum. The recipient and his or her colleagues must know why the gift is being presented. Publicity in the company newsletter, or even an announcement in the lunchroom, ensures that people know the types of behaviors the organization wants to promote. Employees typically receive gifts as awards for years of service.

Now, sometimes the hardest question: what do you give as your corporate gift?

Don’t make showing appreciation with corporate gifts for your customers, clients and employees complicated. Company branding is important to remember while you are giving your corporate gifts. And when gift giving, branding is crucial for all corporations. These gifts help to promote a company’s brand and provide continued employee loyalty. And, in the past few years, personalized gifts are replacing other gift types.

No wonder that the customized corporate gift acts as a brand tool and creates brand awareness among the receiver. Gifts given away as a promotional item with the company’s logo and tagline helps create brand recognition. The best way to create awareness is by giving small promotional gifts as it not only attracts more people but helps to retain your brand in the market.

Remember to choose gifts that will assist in cementing business relationships and boost your sales and service requests. The best gift option is something that will be meaningful for your recipients. So, make sure to do your research before selecting what you are giving away. What works for one client may not work for your employees. Frequently, businesses must decide on several gift types to accommodate all of their recipients.

Businesses have a lot of different choices for what to send people as corporate gifts. As a rule of thumb, think about how professional you need the gift to be. And, consider if you would want to receive the gift as well. Remember not to overstep your bounds if you are trying to personalize these gifts. Keep in mind that this is your opportunity to connect with an individual using marketing strategies.

personalized ribbon tied around a chocolate treat for corporate gifting

P.S. Don’t forget to personalize your corporate gifts!

Attach a personalized handwritten note to every gift for an added touch so your colleagues and clients will remember you for years to come. Oh, and hand deliver each one so you can continue to strengthen every business relationship you have.

How To Connect with Your Customers

Every great business person knows that the best way to keep their company around is to connect and engage with their customers. People buy from other people, they request services based on experiences and they look for companies that they can trust.

You learn a lot of information and how to connect with your customer by merely listening to them.

“I think it’s important for brands, especially brands [that] are really consumer-centric, to stay connected. Customers tell you so much from their behavior and how they shop with you.”
Jessica Alba, founder and CEO of The Honest Company

What is Relationship Marketing and How to Use it to Connect With Your Customers - Neil Patel

The first and most popular way to connect with customers is social media.

Using LinkedIn, Twitter and every platform in between, it seems that everyone is on social media. Even businesses have joined in on the social parties. Facebook groups, Snapchat filters and Instagram nametags are all ways to connect online with your customers. Each platform provides methods for both consumers and businesses to interact and grow together. 

Social media outlets are where the masses are, so you, as a business, should be there too. Utilize this tool and take advantage of everything they have to offer. Try sharing fun and silly tidbits about your products. Or send individual messages quickly to your customers. No matter what, use everything provided by your chosen platforms to improve your connection with your customers.

BUT BE CAREFUL. Not all platforms are suitable for every business. It has been said that everyone is on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean your business will thrive by using it. Consider all of the pros and cons of using social media before setting up accounts everywhere. Remember that there isn’t an easy or direct formula to matching your business to the right social platform. That is something that you, as a business owner, will need to figure out.

Social media is a great tool to use when connecting with your customers, but only if you use it properly. Make sure to do your research and that you have time to spend on each chosen platform. Think before you post, and make sure you are listening to your audience. Tools such as social media only work when used properly.

Focus on the customer’s experience with your company.

We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.
Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon

Customers want to buy from a business that treats them well. So, don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach. Make sure you are listening to every customer. Treat them as the individual they are; don’t lump your customers into a bundle just because they are all interested in your product or service. They aren’t looking for a bundled experience; they are looking to be given an individualized experience.

You can make your customers happy by focusing on their experience with your company. Don’t put all of your focus on only the product or service they are buying. Connecting with your customers on an emotional and personal level is important. If you do, they will be more likely to recommend your products or services to their family and friends.

It is crucial to make an effort to connect with each customer.

Get to know your customers on a personal level. And, make your service or product as relevant to them as possible. Everyone likes to feel as if they are important enough to remember. So, make them feel that way with as much personalization as you can. Use a customer’s name during their shopping experience. Remember little details and tidbits they have shared during prior visits. This way, you can make an effort to connect each time they come back.

“It’s not enough to know just the demographics of your customers. Age and location data doesn’t tell you what you really need to know. Instead, you need to know your customers on a personal level so that you know what they want, why they buy, and why they don’t buy. Otherwise, you have only a superficial understanding of your customers.”
Neil Patel – 7 Brilliant Ways to Connect with Your Customers on a Personal Level

Show your connection with your customers through appreciation.

We understand that connecting on a personal level with your customers can be difficult, but it is also necessary to stay in business. You need to humanize every experience that your customer has with your business. In other words, be relatable. And be grateful. Showing your customers that you care they are buying from you will keep them coming back. The message is in the details, or something like that.

connect with your customers through handwritten notes

Sending handwritten notes, making a phone call or sending a private email are all great ways to connect with your customer. But, put some thought into your actions before performing them. After a purchase or rendering of service, thank your customer by sending them a thought out, well-worded letter. Don’t rush these notes as they will mean a great deal to every recipient. And, they could mean continued business for you. 

This also works for phone calls and emails. Make sure you think about what you want to say before hitting that send or dial button. Proofread everything you write before you send it. And, most importantly, make sure you personalize it. Don’t get in the habit of sending out so many of these messages or phone calls that they become autonomous. Always remember that you are addressing an individual, and they should be treated as such.

Provide unmatched customer service to keep them coming back.

Let’s try an experiment. Find the customer service number from any of your favorite companies and call them. What happened? Let’s assume you got through to someone, eventually, but you were still treated as a number in a cue. Or worse, you got stuck at a call center with someone reading from a script that didn’t answer your question. How did that make you feel? We know that no one wants that experience. 

Take us for a better example. Here at Coller Industries, when you call or choose our online chat feature, you will always be connected to a live person, and quickly. Every one of our customer service representatives has been trained to treat you as an individual. And, you will feel that way, guaranteed! Your order is processed like it’s the only one, and it’s handled with care and accuracy. We wish you had this kind of experience everywhere else. But, at least you know that with us, you’ll always get what you want and be treated with respect. 

One of the most powerful tools any company has is how they treat their customers during the business process. Providing the best possible customer service experience should be your number one priority. From responding quickly to customer requests to making sure you have a live person on the other end of the phone line, good customer service is how you retain your clientele. 

How will you implement these standards into how you treat your customers?

Here’s some advice, go that extra mile. By making sure that your customer service team responds to your customers personally, you solidify your business connections. Acknowledging questions and concerns from your customers will reestablish the trust you have already built. It will also help strengthen the relationship and connection with your customers and anyone they know. This, in turn, will bring in more clientele and business. So, the bottom line should always be to leave the customer grateful and satisfied.

Don’t underestimate the power of your customers.

Make sure you are asking your customers questions and continually searching for feedback. Finding out after a transaction happens that something went wrong doesn’t help anyone, especially your customer. Connect with them by asking for feedback before, during and after all transactions. But don’t become a burden. There are people who feel that businesses can be too personal and are afraid of what you might do with their information. So, make sure that when you ask questions, you are also being considerate.

Now that you have answers and feedback, make sure you are responding appropriately. If you receive positive reviews, give positive affirmation back. Tell your customers how happy you are that they are happy. Give your customers thanks for being there for your business. If you get a negative review, take it seriously. Respond politely and work with your customers to correct things.

77% of consumers will read an online review before purchasing. Now consider the flip side. In most cases, negative reviews are the fastest way to derail a new purchase. A Zendesk study showed that 90% of positive reviews impact purchases and 86% of negative ones do also. Another study showed that even a single negative review has the power to destroy 70% of purchases.”
Neil Patel – 7 Brilliant Ways to Connect with Your Customers on a Personal Level

No matter the type of review you get, making sure that you respond is vital. Building trust establishes your personal connections with your customers. And, these connections are the only way to stay in business. Customer retention and development rely heavily on these reviews. So, make sure to keep on top of them. And if you can’t, delegate someone who can.

What is your preferred way to connect with customers?

With so many ways to connect with customers, your success depends on the method you choose. Before making any final decisions of where you are more likely to connect with your customer, do your research. Don’t join Facebook just because everyone else has. Determine how your customers want to communicate, and then put those methods into action. Build that trust, and the connections will flow naturally.