After hearing of some of the sad closures of some of my favorite boutiques around this area, and hearing of the struggles of many small business owners these days, I've decided to blog on something I know a little about! Advertising, and Branding. For those of you who don't know before I started The 2u Collection I worked first as a graphic artist, then later as an art director in both In-house and Independent Advertising & Marketing Agencies. I did this for the last 10 years so I have quite a bit of experience designing collateral and Ads for all kinds of different industries. And most recently in the last 2 years (in addition to my invitations) I've really specialized my Advertising work to the Wedding Industry. Being a Vendor in the Wedding Industry has given me a unique and intimate perspective on this industry and has helped me create unique, more specialized branding and ad pieces to help my Wedding Vendor Clients reach their proper audience.
But enough about that, what I really want to write about is HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO DEVELOP YOUR BRAND IN THE WEDDING INDUSTRY!!
So let's start with the basics-- What is a BRAND?? an organization's brand identity represents how the company wants to be perceived in the market, what a company stands for and most importantly what the company promises to its clients.
Why develop a BRAND?? To set your company above your competition and create brand recognition in the audiences' eyes. (In this case brides, you want to create a buzz and image around your company which will spark recognition in the bride's mind and cause her to choose you out of the sea that is your competition!)This Brand Recognition will also Legitimize you to Potential Clients, Publications and Fellow Colleagues!
HOW do I as a business owner, create BRAND RECOGNITION?? As most of you know the wedding industry is saturated with many, many, many talented and amazing wedding professionals.
So how do you set yourself apart?
Create, Develop and Fine tune both the image and message you put out there. Now I know in these tough times that it can be difficult to allocate the dollars to your own Branding and Ad materials. But I am here to tell you, the one thing I've learned over the years is the companies that continue to Advertise and get their name out there during the slow economic times, are the ones that grow leaps and bounds when things start to turn around. Afterall, that is the point of a Brand to affect your bottom line!
So here are 5 financial benefits to Developing a Strong Brand Identity. (you all must excuse the car references, my husband has brain washed me.. :)
1. Brand Identity commands a Price-Premium. Why is someone willing to pay thousands of dollars more for a Lexus than for a Toyota? They are virtually the same product, minus the add on options and accessories. They are made by the same manufacturer, and they even share parts. It's because the BRAND of the Lexus is WORTH MORE in the minds of the consumer, regardless of whether the product actually functions better.
2. A Price-Premium creates the "PERCEPTION" of quality. This follows the old saying "You get what you pay for." If Product A costs more than Product B it must be because Product A is of better quality. Right? Well, not necessarily. Customers Pay more for what they PERCEIVE to be a better or higher quality BRAND! But at the same time, if you don't deliver on your "Quality" promise- there won't be BRAND Loyalty, and therefore your brand recognition will deteriorate.
3. Perceived quality has been shown to Positively Affect Customer usage. Consumers tend to select brands they perceive to be quality brands. This also connect to repeat clients, otherwise known as BRAND loyalty! Clients tend to continue to buy brands that reward them with a good experience and quality. They also tend to REFER Brands as part of that loyalty.
4. Clients relate VALUE with QUALITY. If one brand is perceived to be of higher quality than another brand, clients tend to perceive that the higher-quality brand is a better VALUE.
5. Perceived Quality can be a point of differentiation. Successful companies are continually looking for ways to differentiate their brand from the competition. Perceived quality can be used to set your company and its services apart from your competition, which then loops back to #1- enabling the company to charge a premium for their strong BRAND.
Now what does this mean to the normal small business. This means that if you can BRAND yourself, your company, your product or your services-- you will set yourself apart from your competition, and over time your brand will strengthen-- which in turn will bring Higher Premiums to your Product or Service. But keep in mind.. it's not just smoke and mirrors-- the truly successful BRANDS not only "talk to the talk, they walk the walk" and deliver everything their BRAND promises!
Next week I will blog Part 2, and it will cover how to start the branding process of your company and get your Identity recognizable!
To view a few of the brand campaigns I've created in the last few years, click the links below. To see more than this check out my website on our RE-DESIGN launch date of April 15th!! 2ucollection.com
A Testimonial from Susan Southerland with Just Marry: (we've been working to re-brand her company for the last year) Amy has such a keen eye for brand imaging. Recently, I have had to develop three logos which fall under the same brand. Amy was able to make each logo convey its own message and they all coordinated beautifully. Brand recognition is so important for success these days. It is very important to have a graphic artist who understands your company vision to create these images. Amy just gets it!
For more information or help with developing your company brand, contact me.
To read PART II click here.