“Focus on building the best possible business. If you are great, people will notice and opportunities will appear.” – Mark Cuban
Branding. What is it? How to I get my brand noticed?
Per the Business Dictionary, the definition of branding is the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers' mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.
How do you create your brand? Lots of hard work. Late nights. Sleepless nights. Being in the right place at the right time. Research. Education. And most of all consistency.
Below are a few steps that I took to get the August June Desserts brand to where it is today.
Have a Vision for your Brand:
As a small business owner, only you can determine the vision for your brand. Sure you can hire consultants to offer suggestions and do the work for you, but at the end of the day, YOU are responsible for the image and branding for your business. Be yourself, and be unique. You want your business to stand out from others, as that will draw customers to your brand.
I was baking as a hobby in 2010 and decided to try turning the hobby into a business. My vision for the business was for clients to recognize August June Desserts as a business that creates beautiful and delicious desserts, and excellent customer service.
In order to get my brand started, I wrote a detailed list of what I wanted for the business and I researched other bakeries. I looked at the products offered, their style, and their overall approach to branding their business. From this information my vision and how I wanted to approach my branding was confirmed.
Select a business name that is catchy, works for your industry, and stands out. You want to have a business name that is easy to remember, and not too trendy.
My business name is a combination of my birth month (August) and my son's birth month (June). The word desserts was added to the end, because I bake more than just cakes and cupcakes. I wanted the business name to have a special meaning to me. The name is catchy, and I always get asked about the name because it is unique for a bakery.
As the saying goes, image is everything. You want your brand to stand way above the rest and be recognized as top of the line in your industry.
Once I had a vision in mind, I knew that I wanted a simple, but elegant look for the brand. I wanted my business colors to be pink, green, and brown. I chose those colors because I affiliated pink with frosting, cupcakes, and bakeries. Green because that's my favorite color., and dark brown as an accent color. I wanted a look to represent my style in everyday life and for the desserts that I baked.
People immediately identify product quality with a company's logo. Think Nike, Pepsi, Apple, Target, Starbucks, and the list goes on. Your logo is what customers will first affiliate your brand with. You want to have a logo that is recognizable, and consistent with your brand.
I wanted the August June Desserts logo to represent dessert. Originally, the logo was a brown cupcake with a pink cherry. I decided the change the logo, because I wanted more of an elegant look, and for the logo to be a tiered cake. I created the first version of the cake logo using the shapes in Microsoft Word. I later had the logo recreated by my sister, who added the background and was able to save it in several different photo formats.
All aspects of your brand should be consistent and should utilize your logo, or key elements of of your branding design. Use the same color scheme, fonts, and logo placement, so that all of your branding is the same on your website, social media platforms, and marketing materials.
The next step was to integrate the look I envisioned for the brand with everything it touched from the business cards to the display tables at vendor events. All of the same fonts are used on the business cards, website, and any marketing materials that are used to advertise the business. All of the dessert products have a specific look, unless they are custom, and even those still follow a similar style. All of the photos on the website have a consistent style. Vendor events have custom displays to portray the beauty and uniqueness of the brand so that people will associate August June Desserts with beautiful and elegant tablescapes.
As the quote at the beginning of the post stated, the opportunities will come to you, if you focus on building your brand. I have been approached to hold pop-up shops, participate in vendor events, collaborate with other businesses, requested to do TV appearances, and speak at events all because of branding.
The behind the scenes work to brand your business is not easy, but the work is definitely worth it. The branding process is ongoing, and I am always looking for ways to improve the visibility of the August June Desserts brand. I am pleased with where branding has taken my business, and I am excited to see where the future leads.
What steps are you taking to market your brand?