In the world of branding and design, we often have several projects going for businesses within the same industry. Clients want to know how we are going to make their website, logo, etc. different (“better”) than their perceived competition. It’s a great question… one we’ll strive to answer here.
First, it’s important to understand what a brand idea is and how branding helps communicate it. A “brand idea” is the simple essence of how your company is perceived. It’s all of the mental associations that surface when people think of you, boiled down to the one thing that makes your company special and different. “Branding” is all of the things you do to get your brand idea out to the market. It’s your website, advertising, print collateral–the list goes on.
Regardless of the business or industry, we ask the same question of every client: How is your brand perceived by the market? If there’s any uncertainty, we ask our client’s clients and their potential target market. It’s crucial to understand the brand idea from the public’s perspective because as business owners, it’s like reading the paper an inch from our face. Getting an outside view of things helps us to remain objective and see our business through our market’s eyes.
Once we understand the brand idea and differentiating factors, we look at how the business is positioned relative to their competition. Is the product or service considered a premium or is it a value-based brand? Who comprises the target market? Are they families, retirees, or a small niche of shoppers? By marrying the brand idea with deliberate positioning, the “branding”–all of the tools to get the brand out there–naturally defines each business uniquely from their competition.
To illustrate this concept, Studio Absolute recently worked with three businesses in the same industry although each was very different from the next. Builders and home designers, New Era Homes, Larranetta & Co. and Groza Construction came to Studio Absolute for help refining and communicating their brands. By simply scanning the yellow pages (online, of course), one would assume these three businesses were in competition, but in reality, their brand ideas and target market was vastly different from one another. By defining this in their branding, each business is now able to address the needs of their unique consumers and avoid the generalization trap of attempting to be all things to all people.
Brian explains how proper positioning in front of his target market helped Groza Construction realize the benefits of deliberate branding.
“We approached Studio Absolute as we had determined the marketing information that we had for our company was not truly reflecting the majority of the types of homes that we were building. We had developed a strong presence in a select niche of contemporary design and our current branding reflected a more classical theme.
Studio Absolute did a fantastic job of expressing our target market with our new branding, evidenced by rave reviews in our initial unveiling to a large group of architects touring one of our featured homes. We further reinforced this brand with an updated website that has also given us many favorable comments from prospective clients and architects that have seen the site.
In our field the return on investment is often difficult to measure, but I am confident that our new branding has played a key role in at least one new project on our books, which easily warrants the cost outlay for the work.”
As Brian mentioned, Groza Construction appeals to a select niche of contemporary design and his clients are willing and able to pay a premium for his craft. New Era Homes appeals to families and retirees that want the most home for their money and are seeking unparalleled quality at a price they can afford. Larrenetta & Co. stands for extreme attention to detail and customization for life-time homes. Each of these qualities is now represented in every aspect of their branding–from the detail in their logo design, to the functionality and design of their website. Even the content of their website and print is designed to speak directly to their specific audience while further differentiating each builder from their competition.
Your company’s brand already exists in people’s minds. Deliberate branding allows you to be proactive in the shaping of that perception and remove your business from commodity status. In doing so, you make it easy for future clients to say “yes” to choosing your business over the competition.