Some brands are so ubiquitous that an object with even the slightest resemblance will make you think of them. (The photo above is a skirt I own. I think of Oprah every time I wear it :-) Some brands drop their name all together in their advertising – Nike, Starbucks, Apple (and Prince!). They no longer need to tell you who they are. You know by the color, the symbol, the feel.
Those brands have worked hard to establish themselves as household names. To be recognizable at a glance. What if they didn’t try so hard?
What if, for example, all computer companies had the same logo. Mac, Dell, you name it. All with the same logo, the same advertising materials, same commercials. How would you determine which is right for you? How would you decide which is worth $500 and which is worth $2000? How would you even decide which ones to go look at? You’d likely think, “Oh, they’re all pretty much the same so I’ll just pick one.” And you’d most likely pick based on price. You wouldn’t know the difference unless you went to the store, learned all about computers, tried them out, talked to the sales rep. Which you might actually do if you were shopping for a computer. But how many people do that when shopping for a Chiropractor, a Massage Therapist or a Naturopath?
The reality is 99% of people will Google “Chiropractor” and, all things being the equal, they’ll pick the one closest to their home or work. Think I’m wrong? Having worked in a Chiropractor’s office I’ve seen this first hand. I’ve even done it myself for people! Your mom needs a Chiropractor in another town? Google produces 8 options, all with the same generic website. How do you chose one?
A fair share of Holistic Practitioners are missing the boat on branding. Hence the generic websites, the flowing water business cards, the @google.com e-mail addresses.
Let me ask you this ~ How are you setting yourself apart from other practitioners? Unless you’re building a strictly referral based business you’ll need to create a brand that is singular to you.
Let’s break it down…
You are unique. Your brand should be too. Sure Vistaprint has some snazzy designs that you can simply add your contact info to and Voila! You’re branded! Unfortunately you’re branded just like 100 (or 1,000) other health and wellness professionals.
What sets you apart? You have an instant to make an impression. Take advantage of it by showing off something that’s as unique as you are. There are thousands of massage therapists in the world. If they all have a lotus flower on their business card does that mean they all give the same service? The same quality? The same personality? Hells no!
So, how do you pick your logo, your look? Start by hiring a professional you connect with. Look at their work and find someone with a vibe you like. Someone who “gets” you will give you what you want. I told my designer, “I want a sort of organic, green, swirly thing. Not a logo, but a graphic I can use throughout my materials.” Two days later I had my own, unique design. If you’re struggling with your designer, move on! And don’t be afraid to interview, ask for samples and keep your standards high. Find someone who jives with your vibe.
If you’re building a personal brand (and I highly suggest you do) then your face may just BE your logo. SHOW YOUR FACE! Include your photo on everything you do. Ever notice how Real Estate agents have their photo on their signs and business cards? They’re building a personal brand. They want to be recognized in the grocery store because networking builds their business. Same rules apply to you.
Use the same photo, the same fonts (no more than 2), the same colors (ditto), on everything you do. Variety might be the spice of life, but it dilutes your brand and you’ll fade into the masses before you know it.
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition. Successful brands become recognizable because they’re everywhere you look. They plaster their stuff anywhere their target market might be hanging around. (Think Budweiser and football.) So, maybe you can’t buy TV ads or sponsor major sporting events, but you can take advantage of every reasonable opportunity to put your stuff in front of your people. Hang fliers, leave cards & brochures laying around, do free events, submit articles to newspapers and online magazines, post in social media circles where your peeps hang out. The more frequently people see your name, your face & your brand, the more they’ll connect with what you’re about and you’ll start to build a following.
To quote a long ago marketing mentor, “No go without the logo.” Not a sign, not a flier, not an e-mail, not a profile, not at thing goes out into the world representing you and your biz without your logo. A missed logo is a missed opportunity.
So maybe someone has seen your flier 15 times and has never called. Maybe the timing just wasn’t right. Maybe on the 16th time (or the 100th!) the timing WILL be right and they’ll think of you because they’ve seen your stuff over and over. This works. Volkswagen doesn’t expect everyone to jump up off the couch when they see their commercial and run and buy a new car. (Although that one with the kid dressed as Darth Vader just might do it!) They’re building familiarity, comfort & a cool factor, so when you are ready to buy a car, you’ll think of them first.
While you’re plastering your real and virtual worlds with your super sassy branding just remember to K.I.S.S. (Keep it Simple Sweetie :-) Keep things clean & professional looking.
It is not necessary to load your marketing materials up with every possible way to contact you. Too many options can overwhelm. One website, one phone #, period. There’s no need to include your facebook page, your Twitter handle, you LinkedIn profile, your home, office and cell #, yada, yada, yada. If your website is effective, sending people to that one location will give them every option to get in contact with you AND collect their information so you can get in touch with them. Simple and Sweet!
Now… Go Brand Yourself!