Building a visually powerful brand should be one of the key business objectives of any company, whether a startup or one with a long history. Why? Because your brand touches and impacts every aspect of your business, from attracting and retaining customers and generating revenue to distinguishing you from your competitors.
We’d like to share with you what we’ve learned in the past year about our company and our brand. Needless to say, it’s been quite revealing — especially now that we are seeing demonstrable results.
The Challenge: Why Change Now?
About a year ago, we received a phone call from a prospective client. It was a locally based company with a national presence. The client mentioned that she had always gone elsewhere for her merchandising needs — print, point-of-purchase, and displays — because she was not aware that Nutis Visual Communications Group had these capabilities and was just a few miles across town.
What? How could that be? we wondered. We’ve been here for over 60 years!
Once we realized that this client didn’t know about us, we asked ourselves how many more opportunities might we have missed through the years. We were so busy getting the next project out the door and servicing our existing clients’ needs that we forgot about the importance of promoting our own brand.
Basically, our existing brand was not speaking the “visual impact” language that is the foundation of our company and our industry today.
Given that our industry has changed dramatically over the years — new technologies, new economy, and consolidation — effective branding and visual dominance has become more important than ever. To maintain our competitive edge, we needed to have a far greater presence in the marketplace.
What This Could Mean For You
We realized that we weren’t alone in our branding “void.” Many companies push branding to the side in the face of daily service to clients. Every business must pay as much attention to promoting itself as it does responding to the needs of its customers. If you don’t invest in your company’s image and keep your brand relevant and refreshed, in effect you’re giving clients permission to go elsewhere. (Remember, those who shout the loudest get heard. Those who shout the loudest and provide a superior product will always attract customers.)
Here are some of the lessons we learned and the steps we’ve taken so far to re-energize our brand.
1. Since branding was not our expertise, nor were we skilled at this level of marketing, we enlisted an outside, experienced consultant to help guide us through the process. It was vitally important that we also identify an internal brand manager to make sure that the branding guidelines are fully understood, and that they are followed by all employees.
2. To build a foundation for this process, it was first necessary to probe such thought-provoking questions as: Who we are now? Who do we need to be going forward? How are we going to get there?
The good news was that we learned we had all the ingredients we needed for a solid brand, we just didn’t have the right recipe to tie everything together. And even though our brand didn’t require a major overhaul, it desperately needed to be updated, upgraded, and refreshed to bolster our visual presence and increase our brand recognition.
3. It was suggested that our logo was visually fatigued and not representative of who we are. We kept the basic look, but enhanced it with vivid colors to raise its visual appeal. The colors were carefully selected and are now part of our brand essence. They’re being used consistently throughout all of our print and digital marketing and sales materials.
4. To eliminate any confusion or uncertainty about Nutis, we introduced a new tagline: Print. Point-of-Purchase. Displays. It communicates immediately and succinctly what we do. Additionally, it was paramount to the success of our SEO strategy.
5. Our website design was equally fatigued and, by today’s standards, not keyword rich — a must for search engine optimization (SEO) functionality. Now that it is fully optimized, our web traffic and position on various search engines has increased dramatically. Additionally, by incorporating our new brand essence, we are more visually competitive than in the past. We also took great care in crafting our content so it could be easily understood, compelling, and consistent across all social channels. Over the next few months, we will analyze the effectiveness of our content and adapt our messaging accordingly to ensure we maintain the momentum, increase our search engine rankings, and attract viewers.
6. We also began to create a sales tool kit and other sales materials to better equip our salespeople during meetings and to send to prospects and clients. These materials also had to follow the new brand guidelines for maximum visual impact and continuity of message and voice.
7. Testimonials are good, but online reviews are better in today’s digital age. Your client can give you an awesome review over the phone, but the fact is, reviews need to be posted online in order to draw the interest of the masses.
If you have favorable reviews across Google+, Yelp, and other online rating outlets, your brand will visually appear far more genuine and reputable.
According to Search Engine Land, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. This is why it’s essential as part of your marketing efforts to implement an online “brand advocate” reputation strategy.
8. Rebranding your company is an opportune time to rally your employees and make them part of the process of becoming more informed brand ambassadors. There is nothing better for morale than introducing a new company look and feel. After all, employees play an important role in representing and perpetuating your brand. Remember, paycheck collectors are a dime a dozen. Enthusiastic employees, as brand ambassadors, are priceless.
Where To From Here?
The biggest lesson learned from our rebranding initiative is that it is an ongoing and neverending process. Business today is not linear or static. It is dynamic and organic. Things change quickly in today’s business world. You always need to refresh your content to emphasize what is different, relevant, and better about your company. Your point of differentiation must be constantly refined to ultimately create value in the eyes of consumers. So for Nutis, the real branding work has just begun.
Barry Eisenman of Nutis Press contributed content to this article. Nutis’ expertise is rooted in designing innovative point-of-purchase displays and retail merchandising solutions. We help brand manufacturers get their products noticed and engage consumers.