This is a Coke. If you share my love of Coke, then you’re looking at it right now wishing you had a fountain Coke from Mcdonald’s. It’s Coca-Cola, but we all know it as a Coke. When you sit down at a restaurant, you say, “I’ll have a coke, please.” You don’t say, I’ll have a Pepsi. Even if you’re a Pepsi lover (May God have mercy on you), you don’t request a Pepsi. You ask for a Coke. And don’t tell me that you ask for a Cola. And for those of you in the North, asking for a “pop” is too generic. That could mean any kind of soft drink. What’s my point? My point is that Coke’s brand has become a word in the English dictionary. There are many brands out there that have infused themselves as a routine word, rather than just a brand. Q-Tip, Kleenex, Google (i.e. someone says to you, “just google it”), and pretty much every prescription and over-the-counter medicine you can think of. No one ever calls Tylenol by it’s generic name, Acetaminophin. This is your goal when starting a company. Whether it’s a product or a service that you are selling, you want your brand to become mainstream. You want it to be synonymous with the type of product or service you are offering.
When Tivo started producing Digital Video Recorders, you can bet that they were envisioning people saying the phrase, “Can you Tivo that show for me?” This is not a big deal if you actually own a Tivo device, but many people have their cable company’s DVR, yet they still say the word “Tivo”.
Branding must be a priority on your list when starting a company or taking your small business to the next level. Here are three things you can do to improve your brand.
- Invest in logo design. You need a distinctive logo that catches your customer’s eye. You want your logo to be burned into your customer’s memory. You don’t have to spend a fortune to have a logo designed. You can have it done by an online company or a freelancer on sites such as Elance or Site Point, but if you want them to provide other print media such as business card prototypes and flyers, you’ll need to spend some money to accomplish this.
- Be Distinctive. You must have something that separates you from your competition. What separates Coke is its beautiful fusion of carbonation and sweetness. There’s not too much carbonation and not too much sweetness. It has just the right amount. Whereas, Pepsi makes you feel like your teeth are dissolving the moment you drink it.
- Excel in customer service. People remember excellent customer service. They will remember it, and it will help you to develop your brand
Don’t neglect your brand. Even if your business is a computer repair business, you must stand out from the competition by developing your brand.