Branding is critical to launching a successful new business. What you name your company, the logo you use, your website, and all of your messaging, should tell a story in order to set your company apart from the competition. Gone are the days when you could slap together a name like ABC Company or XYZ Consulting in black letters on a white business card and expect customers to beat a path to your door. Customers are far too savvy for that. They expect a level of expertise and professionalism. They want to understand your reason for being, your ethics, your passion for your work. The right brand conveys what you do, why you do it, and what makes your company, products, or services special. A complete marketing strategy based on a strong brand is the cornerstone of any successful business.
What is a Brand?
A brand can be defined as the public’s overall perception of your company, product, or services. It’s important that you create your brand because if you don’t, the customer will create his own impression of you all by himself. Why leave something so crucial up to chance? Branding is the process by which you create your brand, formulate your story, and express it in the marketplace. Branding is demonstrated through every bit of messaging you create. It’s a comprehensive story told through your logo, website, printed materials, and advertising, as well as how your employees talk about your company or product, your office, your company vehicles, and your activities or sponsorships. Whatever actions you take to promote your company or product must be “on brand”, meaning they must be in line with the established persona you have created for your company, products, services and even, yourself.
How to Create a Brand
The first step in branding is to get a firm understanding of what your company is about. To do this, we always begin by asking our clients to fill out our What’s Your Avocado? Branding Workbook. This workbook leads business owners through a series of questions that drill down and help you define what you do, why you do it, and how your company is doing it differently than all other companies out there. It asks more than just what your product or service offers, but also the “why” behind the business. The questions help you to explore how you want customers to feel about your product or service, and how working with you or buying your product will be of benefit to your customers.
The workbook stems from the What’s Your Avocado? Marketing Concept that asserts that every business and every product has something about them that’s special. We call that unique element, Your Avocado. When you find Your Avocado, and express it in the marketplace, you’re being authentic. Customers are drawn to authenticity. They love a good story. They want to do business with companies that do more than just make or sell something. They want purpose, not just product. Branding is how you do that.
Branding Case Study: Wardroom Success Strategies
When Kevin Meenaghan decided to launch his leadership & team coaching business, he came to What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & PR with a strong sense of what he wanted his company to do, but was unsure how to market his new firm. Many firms in his category often resort to naming their companies after themselves. But we told Kevin that there was no way we’d let him name his company Kevin Meenaghan Consulting. Nope. Not gonna happen
Why? Because Kevin’s story is just too compelling to ignore. His brand had to reflect his diverse and truly remarkable personal history that makes the work he does so unique. You see, Kevin spent more than two decades in the military as a Navy pilot. He landed EA-6B and F-18 jets on aircraft carriers. Whoa. And when he wasn’t doing that, he was orchestrating the movement of hundreds of sailors on deck as planes took off and landed. Then, once he retired from the Navy, Kevin took his leadership skills and became an adjunct professor for a local college, as well as a guest lecturer at some of the most prestigious universities in the Pacific Northwest. Now, through his new consultancy, Kevin offers leadership training to big corporations, small firms and non-profits to help their staff and board-of-directors learn how to work together to achieve a common goal. His brand had to tell that story.
Working with What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & PR, Kevin went through our branding process to create a brand that is unique, tells his story, lets his customers know there’s a depth to his work that some ABC/XYZ consultancy could never offer. In early 2020, Kevin launched Wardroom Success Strategies.
Here is his Brand Story:
The Wardroom onboard a Navy vessel is the private room for higher-ranking officers, a place where those in management positions gather to rest, take meals, and discuss matters. In the Wardroom, leadership is nurtured and camaraderie grows. Founded by Kevin Meenaghan, a former Navy pilot and officer, Wardroom Success Strategies offers professional organizations The Wardroom Experience through methodologies that foster leadership, build teams, and deliver stronger professional cultures.
We created a color palette and font standards for Kevin that give a feeling of his strength and enthusiasm for his work. The Wardroom Success Strategies logo depicts a wardroom table with one seat pulled out to invite a prospective customer to take a seat. We created messaging that helps define his brand—taglines and all of the content on his website, wardroomsuccess.com, as well as a business card for him to hand out at events.
“I cannot overstate the importance of a dedicated branding process. Having an amazing branding & marketing expert to help – someone like Stacie and her team at What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & PR – makes the process smooth and fun, with a meaningful and effective outcome. My business name, coupled with the logo, fonts, colors, etc., are something about which I’m very proud and comfortable sharing with everyone!” said Kevin Meenaghan. “Branding also sets me and my business apart from any other company doing something similar to me. The name, logo, and brand, tied to my personal story, make me stand out!”
Kevin said his brand does exactly what he’d hoped it would do. It opens doors to projects and sales.
“When I tell people about my business name, they are usually not familiar with the meaning, and they will either tell me, or get that funny look on their face. That gives me the AMAZING opportunity to tell them about me and my business. Then, they get really interested!”
When you create a brand for your company, it should be memorable. It should start a conversation with your intended audience, and it should create interest in the special skills, history, or benefits only you can offer.
What does your brand say about you?
Written by: Stacie Zinn Roberts, an award-winning marketing expert, Marketing Matters columnist, and president of What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & Public Relations.
Stacie Zinn Roberts is a nationally recognized, award-winning writer and marketing expert with more than 25 years of experience. She has won more than 40 national awards for her work including the United Nations Environmental Program for retail environmental marketing, as well as from organizations such at the Public Relations Society of America and the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. She’s written for industry publications such as Golf Course Management, Sports Turf, Golfdom and PR Daily. She spent eight years as the president and director of marketing for Environmental Turf, where she developed the branding for SeaDwarf Seashore Paspalum, the grass that eventually became the greens grass for the Rio Olympic Golf Course. Stacie served for six years on the Board of Directors of the Florida Turfgrass Association as Chair of the Research & Scholarship Committee where she worked closely with the scientists from the University of Florida’s turfgrass breeding program. Stacie founded What’s Your Avocado? Marketing & Public Relations in 2012.