Do you have a business or a brand? You have a name, a product, and an address. But, do they all tie together to make a lasting, memorable impression on your customers? A brand is the impression in your customer’s mind that links them to who you are, what you do, and, often, where you do it. Your customer’s use it to decide whether to buy from you or from your competitor. In the long run, it can mean the difference between ultimate success and failure.
Branding, the process you go through to create your business personality, is similar to getting dressed every morning. What is your personal style? Think of your hairdo, your clothes, and your shoes. What do they say about you? These are elements of your personal style. Branding is dressing your business and creating its personality. Will it wear a pin-striped suit and burgundy tie or tie-dyed t-shirts and head-bands?
Everything your customer sees, touches, hears, tastes, and smells when they interact with your business creates your brand. To create the right impression and a strong brand in the process, you must consciously think about and control how your business looks and feels to your customers. Develop your business colors and use them consistently and everywhere. Your store front, signs, tables, chairs, menus, flyers, business cards, coffee cups, napkins, employee clothing, and anything else you can think of should contain some elements of your company’s color and style.
You will also need a logo. Logos must be read to be remembered! Often, logos sacrifice readability for style. Style is great but being able to easily read your company name from across the street is better. Adding a graphic element to a readable name is helpful as long as it doesn’t overpower the important name. For example, if your business name is ”Phoenix Coffee”, adding an impressive bird on fire would be cool as long as the flame doesn’t consume the name.
And, finally, don’t forget to brand your cups. You will undoubtedly need to spend money to advertise your new brand with its crisp colors and cool (but readable) logo. As a primary advertising medium, branded cups are often overlooked by new and smaller coffee houses and roasters; yet, branded cups are always part of successful larger operations. A coffee cup is seen by your customer and everyone around them for an average of 30 minutes. That’s 50 hours of advertising per 100 cups served! While branded cups may cost a little more than bland, generic cups, the advertising benefit to your business is worth every cent or, in the words of a well-known brand, its Priceless!
There is an old adage that applies to successful dressing in the business world – “Dress for the job you want not the job you have.” In branding, it is – “Brand for the business you want …”