(Photo: Gene J. Puskar, AP)

Branding is one of the most important aspects of a business. Your brand is a representation of your promise to your customers. When you think about companies such as Mc Donald’s, there are clear identifiers that are specific to the brand. When driving on the highway, I could remember as a child looking up and seeing the golden arches and knowing there was a Mc Donald’s close. This is a sign of great branding when you don’t have to see Ronald Mc Donald or the other characters associated with Mc Donald’s. But you can see the golden arches and know there is a restaurant in the vicinity. Here are some five basics to branding to jumpstart your company:

1.    Create your company’s mission; your mission will be conveyed in your brand’s messaging. Understand the key message you want to communicate about your brand, and ensure all communication is centered around that mission.

2.    Understand what differentiates your company from the competition. Simply put what are the benefits and features of your products or services?

3.    Look at your company through the customer’s lens and determine what’s your brand image? Get a logo, that embodies your brand image and place it everywhere. Create templates and brand standards for your marketing collateral so people can identify your brand. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout.

4.    Understand what qualities you want people to associate with your brand, get a tagline. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.

5.    Be true to your brand. Clients won’t return or refer you to others if you don’t deliver on your promises. Be consistent

Always remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. So while you might not see immediate results the key to being successful is to stay consistent.

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