THE SHOP

October '21

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14 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2021 I n most cases, business owners in our industry wear a lot of hats. Often, day- to-day operations keep companies so busy that they leave no time for plan- ning a basic marketing strategy. Yet, every business needs an ongoing and continuous effort to keep its brand in front of potential customers. Before doing that, however, you need to properly grasp every- thing that encompasses a brand. It is important to understand that your brand is much more than your logo. Although a great logo is crucial, it's only a start. Your brand is the feeling and emotions people get when they see your logo or hear your name. A brand is best described as the sum total of all experiences that customers have with your business. Your brand is derived from who you are, what you want your business to be and, most importantly, the customer experi- ence and perception of your business. Your brand tells clients what they can expect from your products and/or your services, and hopefully it differentiates you from your competitors. What ideas and images pop-up as soon as someone hears the name of your company? That is your brand. When thinking about your brand, it is important to recognize that you can't be everything to everyone—and it is often detrimental to try. Who you are should be based partly on what your target audience is looking for and who they need you to be. If you were looking to buy the same products and services, what would you look for in a business? YOUR BRAND STRATEGY Once you determine what your brand really is, the strategy is how you plan to com- municate the message. Where you promote your business and/or advertise is part of your brand strategy, as are the messages you communicate through social media, your website and verbally. Like many businesses, there is a good chance you've never really identified your brand or implemented a strategy to pro- mote it. If your doors are still open and the lights are still on, it's not too late. Here are six basic steps to consider. 1 Analyze what your brand really is. Be brutally honest with your- self as to what your business is really all about. Brainstorm with a trusted mentor, your staff or even a few regular customers as to what the business means to them. What do they see as the typical customer experience? What emo- tions/feelings come to mind when they hear the name of your business? 2 Update or refine your logo. Make it great, but keep the design simple enough to be easily read and identified. It should be easy to embroider on company shirts, and you As a shop, you don't want a secret identity. Build Your Brand, Build Your Business By Jhan R. Dolphin Your brand is the feeling and emotions people get when they see your logo or hear your name. 1

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