By Carolyn Akel, Founder & President, Akel Ventures
The words ‘brand‘ and ‘name’ may be synonymous, but don’t ever let that fool you into thinking that a catchy name will drive the launch of your product. Just a few of the considerations you will face when introducing and positioning your product or service include:
- What are the trends in my industry?
- Who are my customers and how do I reach them?
- Is my pricing model correct?
- How will I test such items as color, packaging, Web presence and messaging?
- Do I understand the financials and analytics?
- What are the channels of distribution?
- Since mine is a new product, how will I educate my target market?
- Do my strategies match my anticipated revenues?
When it comes to branding the big guys make it seem easy. After all their names are top of mind when you go to the grocery store, when you go clothing shopping, even when you are looking for a place to bank. Company names and tag lines stick with you. However, there is a big distinction between creating a catchy name and creating a brand that will drive customers to your product.
Creating a recognizable brand takes some heavy research and consideration into introducing and positioning your product or service. Here are just a few of the considerations you will face when getting ready to launch your brand:
What are the trends in my industry?
You’ll want to identify whether your industry is growing or collapsing. You’ll want to have a sense of any pending regulatory issues that may affect your business. You’ll want to take into consideration how your industry is using and incorporating the Internet and new social technologies. You’ll want to know what trends are taking place with your competitors and you’ll also want to consider what changes the recession has had on your industry.
Who are my customers and how do I reach them?
This is the number one thing that entrepreneurs get wrong. They don’t know who their customers are and how to reach them. Successfully branding your company requires that you know your customers in more than just a statistical way. It’s not enough to say that your customers are males aged 34 to 58. You need to know where they hang out online, the forums and websites they visit and whether they prefer to buy after searching for a product, seeing an advertisement or watching a video. You need to know who influences them. You must have answers to who they listen to, trust, watch, read and connect to. Finally you need to know how to reach them, whether it’s online or face to face; you need to connect with them where they live.
How will I test such items as color, packaging, Web presence and messaging?
It’s unwise to launch a product without doing a bit of testing to see what resonates with your target customers. Focus groups are a good way of accomplishing this so is talking to experts. Reach out to mentors or others who have successfully accomplished what you are trying to do. Social media is a great way to reach out to these experts and establish relationships.
Since mine is a new product, how will I educate my target market?
If you are launching a new product you are actually in an advantageous position because you get to start out the right way rather than having to refocus your branding campaign. In order to educate your target start out with a concise message and easy to remember name. On the Internet you have 5 seconds at most to get a customer’s attention so your core message and image helps you communicate that message. Remain consistent with your branding using the same message in all of your marketing materials. Keep fonts and colors the same as well.
Based on my experience and skills, am I the right person to be running this company?
Be honest with yourself about whether you should be running the company or if you should hire someone with expertise in execution. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Understand what you do well but don’t be afraid to get advice or ask for help.
In short, creating a household brand takes more than just a clever name and slogan. Strategic positioning, a clear message and connecting with your audience goes a takes planning and research but can propel you in the right direction.