Rethink Your Small Business Brand Identity Design for COVID-19

Strengthen your brand identity design after Coronavirus: Develop new distribution methods, enhance your brand purpose, expand markets, and more.

Some marketers only associate brand identity design with actual graphic design. Logos, fonts, and colors make up part of the package that help consumers identity a business, but that’s not all of it. Taken together, the concept of a brand refers more to an emotional or even a philosophical reaction that people have. And that’s coming from Lucidpress, a company that helps customers mostly with the graphical aspects of their small business branding.

While the visual elements and consistency of small business branding remain critical, that’s probably not the part of the brand that business owners may seek to change during and after the COVID-19 epidemic. Consider some examples of businesses that have successfully transformed themselves to remain viable during the outbreak and emerge even stronger afterwards. These examples are bound to generate some great brand ideas for your own company.

Small business ideas to change my branding during and after COVID-19

Forbes mentioned that it’s not entirely possible to know how the coronavirus outbreak will change long-term consumer behavior. Right now, it’s easy to see that consumers have grown more cautious about leaving home and in many cases, spending money. Like Forbes, many marketers predict that people will retain some of these habits for quite awhile in the future as the world emerges from the outbreak and begins to experience more normal conditions.

With that in mind, consider some brand ideas that can help enhance and promote small businesses during the current outbreak and even into the future.

Establish brand purpose

Certainly, your business exists to make money. The idea of brand purpose refers to establishing a reason for your brand to exist beyond generating profit. A business can derive its purpose directly from the types of products or services that it offers customers. For instanced, a daycare exists to take excellent care of children.

However, this purpose can extend further to the ideals and causes that the company supports. Numerous studies have found the people will vote with their wallets to support companies that align with their own views, even if it costs somewhat more to do so. If you can establish your brand purpose both with the products or services you supply and by supporting good causes, you will always have an easier time attracting and retaining customers.

For some brand purpose ideas, consider these diverse examples:

  • Most people have had a hard time finding hand sanitizer on store shelves. Several distilleries have helped enhance their brand by switching from only producing alcoholic spirits to producing alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Depending upon their own business needs, they may sell, give them away, or sell some and donate some. Either way, they can keep employees and suppliers working while enhancing their brand image by providing vital supplies.
  • A number of beauty and cosmetic companies have also switched gears to producing sanitizing gels. In addition, Avon has started creating personal care packages with such essentials as shampoo and body wash as donations to Feed the Children.
  • Lego has also contributed with its existing “Explained With Lego Video Bricks” video platform on YouTube. To support the multitudes of currently homeschooling parents, they have recently posted a number of educational topics. These range from explaining how renewable energy works to the fundamentals of genetics.

In all of these cases, the businesses contributed to their customer’s current needs, those of worthy charities, or some of both. Can your business contribute by helping consumers with the current situation or at least, donating to good causes?

Create constructive partnerships with other good brands

When the going gets tough, maybe the toughest work together. You can find a number of ways that small businesses have partnered up with other brands for their mutual benefit.

For instance, restaurant dining rooms have closed all over the country. Of course, some of these places have turned to pickup and delivery for revenue. Along with this, some meal delivery services have focused upon helping to promote the local eateries they work with and often, waived some delivery fees for the duration of the crisis. Typically, grocery stores can still do business and have generally done a brisk business since people still need to eat. They have even partnered with local restaurants to offer packaged meals from within the grocery store.

As another example, several eCommerce companies have teamed up to make pledges to donate a portion of their revenues to virus-related charities. All of these different brands have promoted a website that informs the public about this worthy effort and at the same time, the charity site also promotes the business.

Expand business into new markets

Some companies have found that their past clients just cannot use their existing services at the moment. For example, one cleaning company lost business because many customers refused to allow them inside their homes during the outbreak. They did find new customers when they pivoted to offering sanitizing services to buildings that still need to stay open. While they haven’t quite made up for the temporarilly lost customers, they did find a new market in order to keep employees working. After the outbreak passes, they hope to recover their old customers and of course, keep these new ones.

Likewise, a number of local gyms have begun to offer at-home, live video classes to keep their membership fit and even better, still subscribing to their services. Using tools like Zoom, the live classes can also offer people some of the same social outlet that they may have enjoyed during in-person classes. Some of these gyms also mostly catered to adults, but they have expanded to offering kid’s classes to help families cope with the problem of spending too much time indoors and inactive. After the pandemic relaxes restrictions on these gyms, some patrons may still enjoy the option of attending video classes, and that could even provide a way for these fitness businesses to grow membership in the future.

Develop new delivery channels

After receiving stay-at-home orders from the government, countless businesses lost their main delivery channels overnight. It appears intuitive that these companies should develop new distribution methods that can keep them in business during the outbreak and possibly, provide extra revenue in the years to come. 

For instance, quite a few smaller retail businesses have thrived by keeping the old-fashioned model of in-person, in-store service. Unable to open their doors, Chicago’s La De Da gift shop provides one example of a company that swiftly took their model online. Before, customers would come into the store, have a conversation with the proprietor, and enjoy having her select the perfect gifts. Now, they can enter answers to the kinds of questions that the owner would ask them to get the same sort of service online.

Other brick-and-mortar stores have quickly established or strengthened their eCommerce sites. While retail business has struggled, eCommerce has exploded as customers need items conveniently delivered to their homes. While some stores have simply created typical online stores, others have done more. For example, one old-fashioned toy store in Connecticut offers customers the option to browse their physical store through FaceTime. Once parents and children have agreed upon a purchase, the parents can order the toy for delivery or curbside pickup.

Again, these expanded distribution methods can help small businesses sustain themselves during this unprecedented crisis. In the future, they can help generate more business by offering a convenient option for local customers and even a way to attract business from further away than the original store’s city limits.

How can you rethink your small business brand identity design during the Coronavirus epidemic?

Obviously, most small businesses have faced unexpected challenges during this outbreak. It’s unlike anything that business owners or their customers have faced before. As with most crisis, savvy businesspeople can also find some opportunities to rethink their branding, connect with customers over their brand purpose, develop partnerships with other businesses, expand into new markets, and create new distribution channels. These changes may stem from necessity today; however, many of them can also serve your business by strengthening it in the future.

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Teamwork is an Essential Part in Marketing Communication

Marketing can be defined as all the different activities that are involved in making products available to satisfy the needs of the customers, while at the same time generating profits for the manufacturers and distributors. It is a complex process and it involves the following:

  • Designing a product that meets customer specifications which many need the use of marketing research to determine what the customers needs.
  • Promoting the products so that people may get to know the product through marketing communications and Advertising.
  • Setting the price and making the product available to the population through vending outlets.

Marketing communications can be described as the communication that is used in the promotion phase of the product. It is the communication between the marketing division or the marketing efforts of a company and the market and it is usually geared towards the promotion of the product. Marketing communication can usually be handled in-house, or can be sub contracted to a marketing agency.

The people in the marketing communication sector that are involved with advertising, branding, direct marketing to customers, graphic design of product and product containers, packaging, sales and sales promotion.

They are generally involved with creating and delivering messages to the public in an attempt to move them to develop an affinity with the company and to buy the products of the company. They are usually known as marketing communicators, and it is more usual than not a team effort, than the work of a single individual.

This can either mean having a team of people to work in these different processes or taking on one marketing agency that does this, or coordinating the efforts of different specialized agencies like graphic design agencies, advertising agencies and market research agencies.

Marketing communication can be said to be divided into 5 stages from the time the message is conceived and delivered to the time the messages is received and then possible action taken by the receiver to change him from the receiver of a marketing message to a consumer.

The stages in the process are:

  • Sender – which represents the marketing team that delivers an idea to the marketing communication team
  • Encoding – represents the part of the process where the communicator takes the message and transforms it into eye catching or step changing visual adverts or tunes or a mixture of all as in audio visual ads
  • Transmission – which represents the stage where the messages are transmitted through radio, tv the internet and any other device chosen by the company
  • Decoding – represents the stage when the consumer receives the image and decodes it; usually it has to do with thinking in the pattern that the marketer wants them to think
  • Receiver – the message is now with the received by the target audience and the receiver can then make a decision to respond and buy, take the subscription or develop a way of thinking as desired.

Therefore, from the processes above it can be seen that teamwork is essential in marketing communication as the process will be almost impossible for a single individual to create and deliver successfully alone.

In general, the people who develop the ideas and strategies in marketing research are usually analysts, and those that take the results of these ideas and recommendations to create a new product are usually different from those that will also use these same ideas to create advertising for the product.

“Without a clear idea of what the company goals are, or the kind quality of the product and who they are trying to reach, marketing communicators will not be able to create and transmit a convincing message to the consumers. Therefore teamwork is very much essential to the success of any marketing campaign.”

A marketing campaign team will usually involve people from account planning, account management, creative talent production, media departments and specialist in TV ads, radio ads, billboard advertisers as well as internet and social media advertisers.

All these people need to be managed and they need to work with each other.  Without a collective team spirit, and coordination it will be a chaotic situation and so the marketing communication team has to work with coordinating these heads and assigning tasks to each individual so that the team works flawlessly and delivers the end products as required.

Good coordination of the team will usually lead to convincing messages being sent to the consumer which will ultimately end in making sales and to convert the receiver of the messages to a client.

Looking for a comprehensive partnership with an agency who understands the importance of teamwork in marketing communication? Contact us today to build your synergistic strategy.

Putting the Persona in Persona-Based Marketing

If you want to understand your audience, identify their pain points and win them over, persona-based marketing is critically important. 

Know Your Customer — it’s the First Commandment of Marketing. It’s also the reason why persona-based marketing is so critically important for modern brands. Without identifying who your customers are, you can’t understand what motivates them, identify their pain points and connect with them.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at why persona-based marketing is a powerful tool for advertisers, marketers and brands.

Putting the persona in persona-based marketing

So how do brands get their feet wet in persona-based marketing? First, it’s necessary to create detailed profiles of your potential buyers. These buyer personas then serve as the core of your targeted marketing strategy; they are idealized representations of the audience most likely to purchase your products and services.

A buyer persona is a comprehensive image of a customer that reflects who they are, what motivates them and their propensity to act through each stage of the sales cycle. Some businesses will only need to develop two or three personas, others may be better served by a dozen or more.

These personas are based on a variety of sources, including:

  • Market research into probable buyers, including surveys and in-person interviews. This research provides a fuller picture of the wants, needs and tendencies of a brand’s likely market.
  • Insights and feedback gleaned from existing customers. The same research process can be applied to a brand’s current client set, and this process often provides unique insights, given that these audiences are already familiar with the products or services on offer. Brands also often work with their in-house sales team to learn more about existing and potential customers.
  • Sourced and analyzed consumer data. Customers often say they want one thing, then go buy another. Our words and intentions don’t always reflect our actions, and objective data can help provide another window into what truly moves buyers. 
  • Broader market, industry and demographic information. This data can provide critical context during the brand persona creation process. Such information allows brands to take a wider angle view, and anticipate looming changes within markets and industries. If you can anticipate these changes, you can also anticipate how customers may be affected.

Buyer persona categorization

Brands developing persona-based marketing strategies should also understand that different classes of buyers require varying approaches. For example, when dealing with individual buyers (someone who makes a one-time retail purchase, for example), you’d create a single persona type with a variety of personas to fit within that type. A persona development agency can help you accomplish this task.

B2B operations, however, are often led by sales teams rather than a single buyer. C suite executives, sales leaders, marketing leaders etc. may all be involved in the procurement/sales process. In such cases, brands create team-based personas. These often include a dedicated persona for each member of the purchasing team — personas that outline the specific prerogatives inherent to each position. For example, a team persona designed for a Chief Financial Officer would focus on pricing issues, ROI and other monetary motivators.

Working with the right persona development agency

Buyer persona development, when done at a high level, requires research expertise, industry knowledge and an advanced grasp of marketing strategy. It’s often a tall order for brands to accomplish this without outside help.

At Bigeye, we’re experts at creating finely targeted buyer personas supported by experience and insight. Contact us today to learn more about what the right  agency can do for you. 

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Find Your Brand’s Voice With Brand Identity

Before you can present a cohesive brand image that allows your company to communicate with a singular brand voice, you must determine and develop your company’s unique brand identity.

Even seasoned business leaders and marketing professionals can get a bit lost when it comes to the complexities of branding methodology and contingent content marketing processes. However, The Balance Small Business, an independent source of business news and information, breaks down the difference between brand identity and brand image quite succinctly. In short, brand identity encompasses all components of a company that define it intrinsically. It is the intent behind the company brand image, which it will attempt to project in the minds of consumers. 

To make the identity/image distinction clearer, it may be helpful to think of your company as a living person. In a person, identity relates to a personal understanding of the self, while image refers to the cultivated face that each individual shows to others.

The Ancient Greek aphorism “know thyself” wisely places identity before image in order to stress that man must live according to his nature. The branding of companies must follow the same general principle, allowing brand identity to determine brand image and dictate brand voice.

In order to arrive at a brand identity that is right for you, you must consider not only what your company stands for but also whom your company is trying to reach.

Know your audience

Before you can develop the brand identity that will allow you to speak to your audience in a unified and compelling voice, you must determine who your audience is with absolute precision and considerable detail.  

Because your brand identity will determine the public image of your company in all respects, you must be sure that it is compatible with your target customer base. For example, any brand name, logo, and/or slogan that is geared toward millennials should be drastically different from those of a brand that is geared toward baby boomers. Remember the golden rule of brand strategy when it comes to audience targeting: companies that try to reach everybody will ultimately reach nobody.

Know your company

With your target audience firmly in mind, you can more adequately address consumer wants and needs while offering unique approaches and value-added embellishments that make you stand out from your closest competitors. A go-to informational resource for all things content marketing related, the independent online media outlet the Content Marketing Institute suggests trying to describe your unique brand identity in three words. Whether they be “innovative,” “passionate,” and “hardworking” or “quirky,” “imaginative,” and “authentic,” choose words that identify the essence of your company and its particular goods and/or services. These overarching characteristics can prove extremely helpful when you apply them to your subsequent approaches to marketing strategy and consumer communications.

The specific elements of brand identity

As previously discussed, brand identity should drive all aspects of company outreach to existing and potential customers. This means that brand identity should be immediately evident in your verbal communications (from company name to ad copy), your visual communications (from company logo to product packaging), and your customer service communications (from staff interactions to courtesy emails).

Think about the ways in which brand identity can expand to all aspects of consumer psychological and emotional response. For example, the emblematic in-store scent of Abercrombie & Fitch and the dulcet vocal tones of Apple’s Siri each play an integral role in defining the unique brand identity of the companies that developed them.

The specific media channels through which a company chooses to propagate its branded messages must also reinforce its essential brand identity. Within the world of social media alone, a tremendous amount of diversity exists when it comes to the underlying philosophies and attitudes of individual sites and the types of users that they tend to attract. Just think about the vast intrinsic and perceived differences that exist between industry leaders such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Tumblr.

For more information

To learn more about the importance of brand identity development when it comes to projecting a cohesive and effective brand image and speaking in a cohesive and effective brand voice, contact a representative of Bigeye today. We’re a brand identity agency that offers both a solid history in proven marketing techniques and a progressive vision that embraces state-of-the-art innovation.

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Five Tools to Use for Perception Research

Effectively measure how customers perceive your brand by leveraging the power of these five essential perception research methods.

Like beauty, brand perception is most decidedly in the eye of the beholder. As Forbes Magazine succinctly puts it, “Brands are not just what they say they are. Brands are what consumers say they are. A brand’s true identity lies in its perception.”

No matter how carefully you have crafted your brand image, you cannot be sure how your target audience in actually perceiving that brand image. In reality, a great gulf may exist between your best intentions and the interpretations of those intentions by your existing and prospective customers.

Although the inner thoughts and emotional/logical responses of others will always remain something of a mystery, you can employ a variety of techniques to peer into the hearts and minds of your marketing audience. Of course, few business leaders have the time and expertise to engage in ongoing, high-quality, in-depth customer perception research, but any professional marketing agency worth its salt will certainly offer these indispensible services with a focus on the unique wants and needs of the companies that it serves.

Here are five tools that experienced and innovative marketers use to identify and measure brand perception. By leveraging the power of these tools, you can make sure that your company narratives and advertising messages successfully reinforce the brand image of your company that exists in the collective mind of your customer base.

1. Leverage the Data from Google Alerts

Imagine if you could hire someone to monitor worldwide Internet use 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, scanning for each and every mention of your company and its specific products/services. You could gain incredible insight into public thoughts and feelings regarding your brand by weighing positive mentions against negative mentions and examining the specific contexts that merit each of these mentions. Well, imagine no longer, because Google Alerts allows you to do just this for all activity on the search engine that is used by well over 90 percent of the global population. Simply enter your company name and other essentials in the Google Alert system, and you will receive an email alert whenever any of those keywords appear online.

2. Conduct Brand Perception Surveys

A great way to find out what your customers think about your brand is to simply ask them. And there is no better way to collect the thoughts of a broad swath of your customer base than to conduct a survey. From mass emails to your official website, there are many ways to distribute surveys to existing and prospective customers online. In light of the busy lives that your customers probably live, keep surveys short and consider offering some sort of incentive for completing them.

3. Organize Brand Focus Groups / Online Forums

Compared with surveys, both of these options offer opportunities to get more in-depth information from a far smaller sample of your customer/audience base. Good questions to ask in brand focus groups or online forums will be similar to those asked in effective surveys, but you can probably ask far more and follow up with secondary questions for further clarification. Consider questions such as “Why do you choose this brand over others?” and “What comes to mind when you hear this brand name?”

4. Monitor Social Media

It goes without saying that the best way to interact with customers today is through social media. According to the independent social media public relations news source Regan, 33 percent of consumers prefer to connect with a business through social media. Regan goes on to identify social media as a great place to get unbiased and unfiltered feedback on perceived brand image, citing research that has counted an average of 2.1 million negative mentions of brands among US social media users on a daily basis.

5. Monitor Online Reviews

Customer review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List are also great sources of unbiased and unfiltered brand perception feedback. By tracking reviews of your company and its products/services on an ongoing basis, you can get a more complete picture of the ways your target audience interprets your transmitted brand image.

Getting professional help

If you have questions about the supreme importance of consumer brand perception or are looking to secure expert perception research services, don’t hesitate to contact a marketing professional at Bigeye. We have the experience and forward-thinking vision necessary to make perception research work for you and your company.

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Business Naming Really Is a Science – Or Is It?

Although the business naming process is far from exact, you can develop a formula to find a name that can rocket your company to success and sustain ongoing growth.

Would a rose, by any other name, truly smell as sweet? Romeo may think so in regard to his fair Juliet, but in the business world, a name can truly make or break you.

First and foremost, let’s address the obvious: a good name cannot save a bad company. A clever or interesting name may attract some consumers to a particular company, but those consumers will not stick around when they encounter significant flaws in that company’s products and/or services. Furthermore, that once “clever/interesting” name will take on a whole new meaning in the marketplace as public opinion of the company begins to decline. 

So why is a company’s name so critical to success? The answer lies in the fact that a name is so easy to instantly love or hate. First impressions are incredibly important, and so are the ways in which a company’s name initially hits the ear and/or the eye.

Everybody automatically judges a name and, furthermore, feels qualified to do so. For this reason alone, investing in an effective name makes great business sense.

So what differentiates a good business name from a bad one? Investigating this question, The Atlantic contacted marketing executive and legendary brand naming expert Hayes Roth, who could offer no universal rules for landing on the ideal name, but presented the act of business naming as a protracted process that begins in strategy and ends in practical application.

As an example, Roth, the mastermind behind the brand name BlackBerry, stresses the importance of speaking with “a familiar voice.” He adhered to this principle by choosing all one-syllable words for BlackBerry’s line of smartphones (Bold, Curve Storm, etc.). From the iPad to the iPod, Apple’s mobile products also epitomize this concept by universally beginning with a lower-case “i.”

Forbes adds to this key tactic with several other general but imperative tips for effective company naming. Consider the following four tips carefully before embarking on the business naming process. 

1. Keep it simple and catchy.

Avoid overly long and hard-to-spell names. You want your name to be eminently “googleable.” Obviously, you want to avoid any boring names, but you can easily confuse and/or repel potential customers if you choose a name that is too strange or outlandish. As Forbes puts it, ”You want your employees to be able to say where they work without hesitation, and you want your name to resonate with your target audience.” Play close attention to the way your name sounds when it is spoken and looks when it is read!

2. Use a name that conveys strategic meaning.

Although meaningless names such as “Google” can certainly catch on, in general, the name of your company should clearly convey something that is meaningful, positive and associated with the type of business that you conduct. By developing a name that has recognizable meaning with direct ties to your company, you can also cut down significantly on branding costs.

3 Don’t pick a name that could be limiting as your business grows.

Today, few people are aware that the electronics chain Best Buy formerly did business as Sound of Music. That name worked perfectly well during the early years of the company, when it primarily sold home stereo equipment. But as the company gradually expanded to offer the diverse array of products that it offers today, the original chosen name of this multinational retail giant just made less and less sense. The moral of this story? Prevent the tremendous expense and dangerous pitfalls of a complete rebrand by avoiding company names that are narrow enough to cause future problems.

4. Conduct thorough Internet and trademark searches.

When you begin to favor a particular name, it’s time to check to see if it is already in use. Although businesses with the same or similar names can conduct business simultaneously in some cases, this arrangement will almost always create significant issues. After conducting a general Internet search, check USPTO.gov to see if you can get the name trademarked or service marked.

Getting Professional Help

In light of the incredible importance of an effective company name, wise companies will often seek the help of a quality marketing agency that provides professional business naming services. If you have questions about effective naming strategies, contact a skilled and knowledgeable marketing expert at Bigeye today.

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