Here is Birk Creative CEO JinJa Birkenbeuel’s take on branding your business, the second of a multi-part series on this critical aspect of the entrepreneur’s life: What’s Your Brand?
Every idea, message, and sales pitch you create for your business should come from your corporate brand and brand strategy. Branding is absolutely fundamental to a business delivering extraordinary value to its customers at consistently optimal levels. An annual report, an investor conference, visual identity, marketing materials, advertising, employee talent, a welcome voicemail, leadership, social media content–all of these outreach and marketing tactics will come together with a solid corporate brand and brand strategy.
First, what is your company name and what is the most unique aspect of your business? Is your unique value proposition (UVP) expressed on your website? Do you have a website to express it? Do you have an easy-to-remember company name? What does your website look like and does it work on a mobile phone so your customers can find you? Do you have at least one social media channel for your company to align your messages with your UVP? With the one exception of a business card, print is dead for small business. Printing up brochures and print advertising with my company name and logo on it won’t help my customers find me these days. My small business doesn’t have the scale of a large brand to print, store and mail thousands upon thousands of pieces of paper either. And I definitely don’t have the budget to run a full ad in the local newspaper!
Second, think about nonpublic ways to express your brand. I also express my company brand by internal processes, for example, the way in which I interview prospective suppliers. Are my online contact forms accessible, friendly and easy to understand?
I also think about community service and my brand. Is your brand involved in philanthropy? Are you donating and attending events in your company name? If you have employees, are they promoting your brand on social media? Is your company culture inviting and inclusive or are you a “girl-power” company? Does your website imagery reflect that?
A corporate brand is like a Rubik’s Cube. There are many ways to create dynamic, surprising and relevant solutions for your business brand. No brand development process is the same for everyone. But eventually, the whole must come together if you’re going to have a brand that gets you noticed and earns you business.
Third, think about your brand as a living one that changes and transforms over time. In 1997, my creative agency started out developing print-based annual reports for publicly traded companies like DeVry, Echo Global Logistics and Navigant Consulting. Although we still work with c-suite throughout the enterprise, we now focus on broader corporate strategy as it relates to web-based digital solutions like social media strategy, implementation and content development; audits for SEO and content; content marketing, digital advertising and media buying; software app development, digital videos and corporate social media training. The one thing that has not changed about our creative business is our core competency: corporate branding and brand strategy. Contact JinJa Birkenbeuel, CEO Birk Creative at hello(at)birkcreative.com