Your company branding starts with a succinct message that communicates what it’s all about and how your company distinguishes itself from your competition.
Considering the extremely short attention span of the marketplace, the more straightforward and uncomplicated your message is – the better.
Your company branding must introduce your product and reinforce its perceived value. Unless your name is Tiffany or Rolls Royce you can’t rely on your name to be synonymous with your value.
Here are four pillars of company branding:
1) The Logo. It’s not just a cute design, or worse, a graphic that is so clever nobody gets it. A well-designed logo takes into account the various forms and locations in which it will appear. Consider how far way it will be viewed, the use of advancing or receding colors, the font, and the image itself. It must convey the singular message you want to get across, whether it is status, speed, strength, or a specific need only your company satisfies. And it has to be memorable. Choose a familiar image that is associated with a key feature or attribute you want to feature. The image has to be easy to read, clear and to the point. Next to the catch phrase, it’s the flag everybody will rally ‘round and salute – or not.
2) The Catch Phrase. These used to be called “slogans” and usually the shorter, the better. If they are entertaining or a call to action, they are more memorable. A catch phrase over 10 words simply won’t catch on. Keep it under eight words if you can. The best catch phrases are discovered not created. They are a solution to a puzzle made up of various competing elements. Do you state the benefit to your customer? Or your key feature? Do you use 3rd party validation? The most compelling catch phrases communicate the feeling your customer will have when he uses your product or service.
3) The Packaging. Ideally, the package will anticipate your customer’s expectations of your product’s performance – even before he gets it home. Your package has to communicate your company’s promise. Your packaging must distinguish what you are selling from others in your category. Perception of quality is heavily influenced by packaging. The point of sale is the key place in the branding environment because it is where your package, your customer, their decision, and their money all come together. Your package must get their attention and promise to satisfy some need to make that sale!
4) The Messaging. The promise your company makes to the market should be reinforced in every form of communication. Use third party endorsements, accolades, validations, and referrals from satisfied customers. Every product and service you deliver sends a message. It tells, more effectively than any ad, what your company really stands for. Be consistent in your price, quality, and package, and stand behind your product. Send consistent and dependable messages that you and your staff can deliver.
By successfully addressing these four pillars of company branding, you will give your customers a better chance at knowing what it’s all about.
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders