The Long View: Branding Your Brand

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As a sign shop or commercial graphics provider you likely get many kinds of promotional projects to fulfill-product rollouts, special sales programs, incentive membership promotions and branding programs. In most cases, if you have a good design department, you’ll be discussing with the client the goal of the program, what message they want to emphasize and the various ways you see to best accomplish that.

In the case of a branding program, you tell them that their logo can’t be too complex and should represent the client in a clear, directly identifiable way. You emphasize that a tag line with the logo can be used, but again must emphasize only the single most important element of the company. Yes, that’s all well and good, but what about your own brand?

How much effort and thought have you put into developing and promoting your shop’s brand? Whether you think you even have a “brand” to promote or not, your shop’s brand is your ticket to standing out from the crowd. But your brand is so much more than your company name or logo. It’s the experience that your customers have with your company at every single point of interaction. Think about that for a minute. Each and every aspect of your branding signage tells your customer what your company is all about, delivering both the message of who you are and the products or services you offer.

Your on-premises branding signage should always be treated with as much care as the logo itself.  When it comes to your physical shop, branding signage is one of the most critical components of an effective brand strategy.

As a shop owner, over the years you have already created your identity through your quality product, impeccable service and on-time delivery. Branding that identity helps cement in your clients’ (and prospective clients’) minds the fact that you offer consistency of quality and good value.

Okay, so beyond your on-premises signage and your great logo, how else do you promote your brand? Well, your website should be a mirror reflection of your brand, your shop’s sales area should be clean, professional and not overly cluttered. Your shop truck should be a further reflection of who you are-wrapped or lettered with your logo and branding message.

When you do a presentation or bid on a job, make sure your logo and tag line are visible on the proposal pages and spec sheets. Any advertising you do for yourself should include your logo. You can even place your logo on finished work you do, as long as it’s inconspicuous and the client approves.

But why am I telling you all this-you already do it for your customers on a regular basis. Well, if you already haven’t done so, maybe it’s time you took your own advice and developed a great brand for your own shop. It’ll pay huge dividends in the long run.

Okay, back to work.

Ken Mergentime

Ken Mergentime is the former executive editor of Sign & Digital Graphics and WRAPS magazines.

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