Category Archives: Branding

Brand fingerprint and brand identity

Brand Fingerprint – Does Yours Leave a Lasting Impression?

The millions of businesses in the world are as unique as the fingerprints of the billions of people on Earth. Why do some stand out more vividly than the rest? It all comes down to brand identity.

Let’s first clear up some terms that can be confusing: brand vs. brand image vs. brand identity. They all sound similar enough to be used interchangeably, right? Let us be brief – no. Your business’s marketing strategy will benefit from learning the distinctions between them to more clearly define and share what sets your brand apart.

 

brand vs brand identity vs brand image definition

 

Still sound too close for comfort? Examples are our friends: let’s say you’re Apple Inc. and break it down like so:

 

brand vs brand identity vs brand image example

 

While they all seamlessly work together, each has its own purpose when it comes to presenting your brand to the world in a professional manner. They paint consumers a picture of what your brand is all about, so that if your identity resonates with them, you can begin to establish relationships and build brand loyalty.

Now that we know the what – let’s dive into how you create a solid brand identity.

 

Understanding touchpoints

 

What is a touchpoint? Every. Single. Thing. Associated with your brand. Have employees? They’re your walking, talking brand billboards. Company vehicles? Check. Business cards, website, social media pages, merchandise, storefront signs – when we say everything, we mean every little detail a consumer would associate your brand with.

 

Definition of touchpoints

 

We like to paint a picture of how your brand’s touchpoints affect your image – almost like that of a rollercoaster. Your employee answers the telephone with a pleasant demeanor: brand image goes up 25 feet. Company’s website is user-friendly and has a modern, aesthetically pleasing design? Advance another 50 feet up, Mr. Fancy Pants. Company vehicle cruising around town with the driver chatting away on a cell phone, cutting people off? Hang tight, because that rollercoaster is about to take a steep dive down 100 feet.

Understanding the vast amount of touchpoints your brand has and the importance of keeping your standards high in every facet will help your brand showcase its identity properly and develop a positive brand image in the public eye.

 

Consistency is key

 

The key to many things in life is consistency. Want to stay fit? It’s not going to happen if you break a mean sweat for three days and then couch potato it the rest of the year. Trying to master the accordion? Don’t expect to sell out any venues if you play once for your mom (who said you were amazing, of course) but fail to practice regularly.

 

Trust is built with consistency - Lincoln Chafee

 

Branding is no different – consistency is a staple in solid branding strategies. Consistency makes it easy, almost natural, for consumers to recognize any aspect of your company and know without a doubt that it is your brand. When everything from your website and business cards to employee uniforms and koozies is cohesive and presented consistently, it just makes sense.

Why do you need to make it easy for people? To be blunt, a lot of people won’t give a hoot enough to look into what sets your brand apart; they want you to (concisely) tell them what you’re about and how your brand or product is going to solve all their problems. First establish the trust, then build the loyalty.

 

Standardize

 

Standards – whether low or high, everyone should have them. When it comes to your brand, make sure your standards are high and create guidelines for everyone to follow, both internally and externally. Do not leave it up to Joe Schmo at the local newspaper to size and color-correct your ad or logo. Rather, set your standards and follow through to make sure the final product looks professional and properly represents your brand.

At Stray Media Group, one of the many things we recommend is that all businesses have logo standards sheets ready-made for everyone from your graphic designer to your screen printing vendor to follow step by step to ensure it’s represented correctly.

 

Any of this feel a little out of your realm? Not to worry; that is what we’re here for. We often refer to ourselves as ‘The Guardian of Your Brand’, always fighting in your corner to make sure every aspect of your branding is top notch. Give us a shout to learn more about how we can help.

 

Fish jumping in CMYK colored fish bowls.

The Print Effect

Your business’s printed materials have an effect on anyone who comes in contact with them, and whether that effect is good or bad is entirely up to you. Printing that is on point can make all the difference in the world when you’re trying to be a step above the rest for your customers and prospective customers. Learn how your brand can stand out from the crowd with these tips and guidelines for epic printed marketing materials.

 

How printing can attract new customers.

With a sea of companies out there selling similar products and services, attracting new customers can be a challenge. So how can you stand out from the competition and position yourself as a memorable resource? A good marketing strategy is essential, and within that strategy should be a solid direction for outbound marketing – which includes all of your tangible, printed pieces.

We cannot stress enough the importance of having high-quality, attractive printed materials. A combination of professional, creative designs that capture your target audience’s attention and quality material that offers a look and feel beyond the normal expectations helps you make a lasting impression.

Image of printed booklet and postcards.
Improve customer loyalty with high-quality printing.

When it comes to retaining customers and improving their loyalty to your brand, many contributing factors are at play. The expectations of today’s intelligent, informed customers are at an all-time high, from customer service and website ease of use to readily-available informative content and, of course, today’s hot blog topic: printed material that speaks volumes.

To truly set your brand apart, build trust in customers and keep them coming back for more, don’t just meet those expectations – exceed them by having marketing materials that evoke a feeling in and of themselves. The right printed pieces will induce them to see, touch and feel the value that represents how you present your brand to the world. This includes the important component of content that answers customers’ questions and offers valuable information.

If people place a higher value on your business cards or sales sheets, they’re likely to place a higher value on the products and services you offer. Take this opportunity to blow them away and begin their journey to being your loyal customer.

 

How professionally printed pieces can help drive sales.

Last but certainly not least is sales. Sales and revenue make your brand’s world go ’round and keep you in the business of doing what it is you do best. Let your printed marketing material take some of that weight off your shoulders and help you sell your products and services.

With stats like “63% of people throw the business card away because they don’t need service” or “88% of business cards handed out get thrown away in less than a week”, we understand the question, “why spend the money?” Answer: “the number of sales increases by 2.5% for every 2000 cards that get passed out.”

On top of that, colored cards typically stick around in people’s pockets or desks 10x longer than the average plain white card. Now imagine if you have a card so cool, vibrant and memorable that the recipient just can’t throw it away! Chances are they’ll keep it around for a while, and they may need your services during that time. Give them an unforgettable leave-behind that will keep selling for you for a long time to come.

 

Not familiar with the best of the best printing materials, methods and options? No worries; we’ve got your back. Give us a call to get together and discuss the wants, needs and goals for your brand, and learn how we can put our industry knowledge and experience to work for you.

 

Comapny Culture

The What, How, & Why of Cultivating Positive Company Culture

Culture seems to be the latest business buzzword and “must-have” in companies today. But what exactly is culture? How can you have a great one that recruits and retains an excellent workforce? How can a healthy, thriving culture impact your bottom line? We’ll cover the basics of cultivating an excellent company culture this month on ‘Powered by Creativity.’

What is company culture

Every company has a distinct culture, no matter if they have one employee or hundreds of thousands. Company culture involves what employees see, feel, and think about your business – it is a set of visions, values, norms, beliefs, habits, and assumptions that make up your company’s identity; in essence, it is your company’s personality. Cultures are not something employees bring with them; they are ingrained in the genetic code of your company and will exist before and after employees come and go, although they can change over time.

 

Company Culture

 

To evaluate your company’s current culture, you may want to ask yourself these questions: “What are common behaviors of employees while they are on the job – good or bad? How meaningful is the job to my employees – would they go elsewhere if given the opportunity?” While not your actual culture, the answers to these questions signify either a healthy or unhealthy culture. Company culture is important to employees and employers alike – employees want to enjoy their time in the workplace and feel that their work has meaning for both themselves and the company, while employers benefit when they have employees who fit in with the company culture, which usually makes them happier and more productive, as well as wanting to work for the company longer.

How to cultivate company culture

The good news is that, if you have discovered aspects of your culture that you would like to improve upon, they are fluid and changeable. Putting a focus on culture within your company gives your team guiding principles. It is up to the leaders of the company to set the precedent for the culture you want to achieve. According to companyculture.com, 80% of company members are potentially very flexible – if the culture asks for employees to be engaged, responsible, pleasant, and highly productive, they will be; however, in unhealthy culture environments, employees may be closed, unengaged, irresponsible, unpleasant, and unproductive.

 

Company Culture

 

If you cultivate a great culture, people will know you for it, your team will live by it and work together towards the same company mission, and it will get you through the bumps in the road. Here are a few key areas you can get started with right away to get the ball rolling on creating a dynamic company culture.

Purpose: In order for your purpose to be effective and resonate with your team, they not only have to be told what it is, they have to buy into it as well. Employees as a whole typically want to feel like what they do matters – showing them their measurable impact on the success of the company makes them invested in what they do and want to do better.

Engagement: Purpose’s cousin, engagement, is all about preparation – specifically how prepared your employees feel to fulfill their purpose. If there are distractions or inefficiencies, or people don’t feel like they can fulfill their role to the best of their ability, there is an engagement problem.

Trust: A critical aspect in life that transfers into the workplace, trust needs to be an important company value, period. If there is mistrust about your employees, whether it comes to personal effects or getting the job done, the issue needs to be addressed and rectified as soon as possible.

Evolve: Continuous learning = continuous improvement of your company. Processes and the way things are done change and evolve over time, and so should your workforce. It is the responsibility of the business owner to make sure employees feel empowered to seek their own continuing education, and if they don’t, you need to dig a little deeper into finding out why.

Why company culture matters

Culture matters – a healthy culture creates enthusiasm and happiness, which means more productivity. Job satisfaction starts with job creators caring about their employees. When an employer hires that perfect candidate, they definitely want the best return on their dollar, but if you ask the reverse question ‘besides a paycheck, what are your employees getting out of their job?’ it may help you understand how to engage and motivate employees to their full potential. Improving company culture may seem like it takes a lot of effort, but once you have a healthy one, the benefits are countless; from getting more work done faster to higher retention rates of valuable members of the team, as well as eventually being able to recruit the most competitive employees to keep your company moving forward. The best and brightest employees in any given field want it all; competitive salary and benefits, work/life balance, and a great company culture that makes them look forward to going to work every day. In turn, they’ll give you their best and be invested in your company’s success as much as you are.

 

If you’re reading this and feel like you don’t know where to begin with changing your company culture for the better, you’re not alone. Company culture is unique to each business and can sometimes be a complicated aspect of your company to change. If you’re ready to make that leap, our culture experts are here to help with solid advice and business development plans. We have the unique perspective of being on the outside looking in, and may be able to pinpoint certain pain points in your culture that are easy to overlook when you are busy running your day-to-day operations. Give us a shout out today – we’d love to talk to you!