8 Branding Tips To Accelerate Small Business Performance

Branding tips so you, too, can increase customer/client interest and enthusiasm

You’ve heard (read) me saying it before, but it bears repeating. Branding isn’t what most people think it is. Sure, it includes fancy names, logos and websites, but beneath all of that, there’s something even bigger and more powerful. Done right, your brand is actually your customer creation formula. Done well, the entire company is reverse-engineered to marketplace needs and wants. When your brand is in the hands of an expert, it isn’t just your marketing that promotes company growth, but when the entire organization is properly aligned, its every word and deed serves in a virtuous circle of promise-making and promise-keeping.

As a Los Angeles brand strategist and copywriter, my job is to better connect you to the people who matter most to your success.

Branding’s holistic nature means that, by definition, it doesn’t readily lend itself to quick tip sheets and phoned-in work. You’ve got to want it more than that. And if you are looking to increase your organization’s strategic firepower and accelerate the pace of growth, sure, you can settle for fast and cheap. But is it reasonable to think results will somehow arrive disproportionately to the effort put forth? Nevertheless, it is my intent to be valuable in this blog post for you. So, what I want to do here is share with you some of the things I find myself thinking about when helping my fellow marketers crack their brand strategies.

8 Branding Tips, Or, More Practically Speaking, the 8 Principles of Branding Your Organization Needs to Understand

  1. Worry about aesthetics and marketing tactics only after you’ve arrived at a solid strategy for advancing both the near-term Sale and the company. This way, the wow that captivates and motivates is built into your very foundation; you get to experience the cumulative impact from every company action and sales initiative.
  2. Don’t stop at standard benefits. Pay attention to the emotional benefits, experiential benefits and self-expressive benefits your brand enables.
  3. Know how you’re different… meaningfully different!
  4. Pay more attention to the why of your existence (see the Simon Sinek Ted Talk, if you haven’t already.)
  5. Of course, be authentic. Your vision & values are immensely important, but it’s not only about you. What you really want to identify is the overlap between your beliefs and those of your various brand audiences.
  6. Prioritize the big concepts and ideas your company is about over laundry lists, and let those core messages help you organize the rest of your Sale.
  7. When expressing yourself, remember: if you can’t capture attention first, nothing else you have to say matters. Shoot for the moon. The bolder and brighter, the better.
  8. Both in B2B and B2C, a little humor conveys a warmth and congeniality like nothing else can… except maybe for an earnest welcome mat, possibly featuring Ziggy. (Sorry, Ziggy.)

“Hey, who put Branding into my Business Development?”

I did. And I’m not sorry in the least. Because business moves fast, and when you’ve got a chance to accomplish multiple business objectives in one fell swoop, you take it. If you’ve got questions about your company’s pace of growth, your marketing or your brand, you call me. We chat. If you think there’s a fit between your goals and my message-centric branding™ approach, we agree to roll up our sleeves and get down to business. If not, we thank each other for our time and move on. Easy-peasy. Come to think of it, what is that I see right there? A phone!? Wow. Talk about kismet. You should really use that to call me right now.

7.5 Ways This Los Angeles Brand Consultant Supports You

Brand-consultant-agency-Los-Angeles-CA-copywriter-Scott-Silverman-Articulated-Brands-Orgodomo-Website7.5 Ways This Los Angeles Brand Consultant Supports You

The people have spoken. They like lists. Specifically, numbered lists. Who knew?

So, without further ado, here’s a short list summarizing how I give my clients a leg up over their competitors.

What does a brand consultant do?

  1. Accelerates your near-term growth while building future, leverage-able equity
  2. Facilitates greater team understandings of what branding really is, bridges silos and engages all stakeholders by demonstrating how the brand applies to all departments from sales to operations to HR (recruitment, retention, engagement)
  3. Helps you communicate and lead by reducing your vision from the abstract to the concrete and operational
  4. Brings greater clarity and focus, as well as objectivity and fresh energy to your business development initiatives
  5. Defines your values, differentiators and benefits in a way that resonates with prospects
  6. Draws out from your core values the emotional benefits, experiential benefits and self-expressive benefits that invite greater connection, greater leads, greater market share
  7. Increases efficiency by creating greater organizational alignment and increases marketing efficiency by identifying a more robust set of strategic communications criteria

7.5  Lastly, only lastly, tends to the superficial, making you look, sound and perform like the creative marketing force you want to be

The image above: a recent branding and website example

One of my all-time favorite things to do is leverage the principles of big business branding on behalf of the smaller business. It’s not that I don’t have valuable things to say to Coke and GE; it’s just that I’m not as passionate about it. I’m relational. I like to connect with people in a way that makes a concrete impact on their lives and businesses. (Visit the live website of white-glove relocation and home organization specialist Orgodomo™.)

To brand or not to brand? That is NOT the question.

You already have a brand. The question is whether that brand sits atop the right position; the question is whether your brand fully leverages who you are in light of what your best prospects need to hear from you. Message-centric branding™ offers you a more practical approach to increasing performance across the board. If you’re ready to look beneath the surface of logos and pretty websites and find out what genuine brand strategy can do for you… I know just the right guy: me. (Operator standing by.)

Small business naming agency’s ideal client

Are you this small business naming agency’s ideal client?

This naming agency business is full of war stories. Just the other day, I had the good fortune of sitting down with a tremendously bright and experienced trademark lawyer. He’s seen his share of lackluster names, seen the results of well-intended punsters and he knows what’s out there service-wise. Our discussion prompted me to riff a bit here on why the process goes so badly for so many so often and how I think I’ve been able to defeat the odds. (No time for humility here – that’s on reserve for the brand vision inside you. For me, the only way to truly honor that vision is to meet it head-on: with whip-smart strategy and a process that mitigates the risks smaller businesses and smaller budgets face when trying to tackle creative projects.)

But, full disclosure: my ideal naming client doesn’t really need to be sold on the value of a good name. If he/she could afford it, he/she would absolutely be talking to the larger naming agencies.

Small-business-company-names-naming-agency-consultant-Scott-Silverman-Articulated-Brands-Los-Angeles

Recent name for a golf app by small business naming agency Articulated Brands of Los Angeles.

The more you understand naming’s unique objectives and challenges, the more you recognize the value here.

Thinking back, my ideal client has already tried to come up with names. Cocktail napkins. Endless hours on Google. Often, they’ve already gone the crazy Uncle Lenny and the crowd-sourced naming routes, coming up not only empty-handed but delayed and demoralized. If that’s not bad enough, on a few occasions, I’ve actually had to do cleanup work for clients who were utterly dissatisfied with the work of other reputable firms.

(That said, do I mind if you need some reinforcement about the investment you’re about to make and why? Absolutely not. It really is my privilege and my pleasure to answer all of your questions, even the tough ones, and to help demystify some of the notions around naming and branding in general.)

Where do many naming agencies and company namers get it wrong?

  1. Monkeys typing Shakespeare (Myth: the more people working on my project, the greater the chances of success. Reality: only one person is going to nail your new name by “getting you” the most. “Safety in numbers” simply does not apply to the company naming and product naming disciplines.)
  2. Inadequate listening.
  3. No real investment into the underlying business model.
  4. Branding over positioning. (Big, hairy mistake. And just asking you simple questions, without challenging you on the premises or analyzing the business imperatives, does NOT qualify as a legitimate briefing process.)
  5. Puns and misspellings and pedestrian polyglot, oh my!

How I’ve achieved success as a business naming consultant:

  1. A unique combination of analytical and creative strengths.
  2. A deep understanding of branding, positioning and business development.
  3. Uncommon focus and tenacity.
  4. A proven desire to help people get where they want to go.
  5. Infectious humor and enthusiasm – a happy process leads to happy names.

When it comes to the high costs of company naming, it pays to get it right the first time.

If you, like Goldilocks, have been searching for a just-right, priced-right option, I’m here for you. Clearly, naming is not an inexpensive undertaking. Not for you and not for me, either. (When you add up the hours that typically go into a naming assignment*, it’s not what you’d call a profit center. It just happens to be something I love doing for people.)

Is it a big naming agency you’re after or simply a killer name?

You: an innate appreciation for BOTH creative abundance and a streamlined creative process, a passion for bringing your new brand to life in the most meaningful manner possible, and a budget of five to ten grand, depending upon the number of options you desire and a few other factors.

Me: a total commitment to your naming success.

Call me on it.

*A naming assignment requires 48 – 68 hours of high-speed name generation work, depending upon the category and the number of options you’ve requested. In a future blog post, I’ll explain why the caffeine-fueled journey takes “so long,” even for a quick thinker.