Branding is a marketing practice by which a company creates a name or a design that is identifiable to consumers. This helps your business to be differentiated from your competitors. Your branding should leave a memorable impression on customers and it should clarify the services you offer. As an entrepreneur, your branding should also represent you and how you wish to be perceived. This is absolutely critical to your business because of its overall impact and how it can drive new business and increase brand awareness. Always remember that your company's advertising, customer service, reputation and logo should be continuously developing to attract more consumers. In this episode, Susan Meier shares her expertise when it comes to branding and marketing strategies.
How does branding and marketing work?
We've got Susan Meier here from Susan Meier Studio, and she's here to talk about how to ensure your branding works. Susan, how do you measure marketing and branding?
Susan: Branding and Marketing are tricky things to measure. Both are relevantly related to each other. It is essential to utilise reliable metrics and net promoter score to measure the success of work. Brand awareness is necessary. Through brand awareness, you can weigh the organisational goals versus providing excellent customer service to your clients. I always look at the overall health of the business when I am working with a client.
People that are looking for a branding expert like you should have an established business or at least they have data to work on. Is that correct?
Susan: Yes, I usually work with established companies that are looking to upgrade or expand their business. I also work with start-up companies that are looking for growth. I like to measure success in how well you are creating a relationship with the stakeholders, with the users of your product or service. Getting feedback and building communication about your brand is highly recommended as part of all branding projects.
Setting up and measuring your goals
Listening to your audience and setting goals is very important. How do you go about setting goals and measuring them appropriately?
Susan: There are three parts to consider:
Get to know your customer -You have to listen to them and identify what's important to them that relates to what you can offer.
Get to know yourself -Who you are, what do you care about and what do you stand for because this will make your product special.
Get to know your competitors - You have to be unique and different.
When my clients want to develop a longer-term relationship with their customers, they would normally need a name, logo, legacy and a website. Initially, we will talk about the objectives and goals and sit down in a room with all the stakeholders. Remember that, when everybody is aligned with the goal, the organisation becomes more powerful in getting the team on board and making these things happen.
Your branding represents your business
Does this mean that you need to change your branding strategy from time to time? How do you make sure that you stay on top of it?
Susan: Everything is always changing. You have to ask yourself, "Where do we want to be next year?" It doesn't mean you have to redesign your logo or rename your company every year or every ten years. But you can do a re-assessment with your audience, people, personal target and the market. Some clients are refreshing their process by talking to their customers to get feedback and test the communication materials. And every so often, maybe the logo and the branding evolve.
Branding logos are important because people will remember the business name. But how important are your logo and its colours?
Susan: People have these intimate relationships with logos and brands that are often subconscious. The big iconic brands like Snickers, Kellogg's and Big Brands have super tight style guidelines and they are careful about how they evolve. Your colours, typefaces, tone of voice and photography style will support your personality so think about it mindfully and create.
Before your branding shows up in the world, you need to know what your brand or logo stands for.
Susan: There are visual cues that tell you this food is fresh or if this product is food, hardware, etc. I was a strategy director of a packaging design agency. Back then, what designers do when they are designing or packaging a new brand is they do an audit of what category this cue falls to. You have to be good with design and it needs to be consistent.
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How Susan Can Help
You are correct, you need to look at the category carefully. I wanted to find more information about how our listeners can go about their branding. You have a website (www.electrifyyourwork.com) Can you please tell me more about it?
Susan: That's right. So that's the landing page for my site, and from there, you can get to a couple of different things. So I serve large corporate clients as I was speaking about. But then I also have developed a toolkit for smaller businesses so that they can leverage the same tools that I use with larger clients to help them. These include the process of understanding the customer, reflecting on their own business in their own company DNA, and then thinking about those things that really will make them stand out and be different. You can go to both parts of my site from there, whatever is relevant to you. You can download the overview of good branding and then some workbooks and other good content if people are interested in going further for free.
Find Your Freedom
Very informative website. What book influenced your life and made you realise that this is what I wanted to do, or this is why I wanted to help people to find more information about brand strategy?
Susan: The seminal book that shaped my path is not about branding or business. The book The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, which came out a long time ago, probably in the mid-nineties set me on the entrepreneurial path. It's not just for artists, but the idea sent me to running my own business and creating life and my professional life in the way that I wanted. I treat my whole life as an art project. That's why being an entrepreneur works really well for me. We talked before we started recording about freedom, which is the core of this podcast, and that's very much a subject near and dear to my heart.
Freedom will give you a blueprint on how to succeed and live your life. That resonates really strongly with you. But what do you see as freedom or what is the vehicle of your business driving you towards?
Susan: I think freedom is the ability to do what you want to do. It serves as your internal compass and your purpose. I'm in control of my schedule. I can pick the clients who I want to work with, travel and have hobbies when I want to. You don't have to do things the way they are laid out for you. We have this path like you're supposed to go to school and then go to law school then get a job. I think we all have these things that hold us back from being kind of free and creative.
I can spend time with the family and make sure that I'm not working at the end of my life. I'm enjoying everything that I'm doing and that some weeks that means I'm in front of a computer eighty hours a week. But it doesn't mean I'm working. It's something that I'm enjoying doing. There's always the little loose ends and not that you don't like time, but that's going to be anywhere. But being at a peak 80 per cent of your destiny is, I think, pretty special.