Braver Branding

When you rebrand, you have to go against the inertia of your old brand. Be new.

“When you rebrand, you have to go against the inertia of your old brand. Be new.”

-Jamie Warren

 

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Rebranding Reasons: Differentiating from a Competitor

Differentiation is keyNo matter the industry you’re in, it’s likely there will come a time when you need to rebrand. Rethinking your brand can alleviate many issues and can differentiate you from a competitor, giving you more business and better profits.

Today’s market can often be saturated with similar businesses. It’s imperative that you differentiate yourself from other companies with a similar product or mission. Whether you’re selling cell phones, recruiting students to your university or trying to raise money for a worthy cause, you can bet that there’s another organization out there that’s similar.

So what can you do to stand out in your market?

You can differentiate your BRAND.

First, you must remember that your brand is a complex combination of things, including your logo and “look,” your mission statement, your employee morale and much more. The key to differentiating is looking at all of those pieces and figuring out how to make one – or more than one – stand out.   Read More »

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Branding vs. Rebranding

People throw the word “branding” around a lot. It’s one of the most misused terms in our industry as it’s often used to describe only visual identity.

But what does that really mean?  Is branding more than the corporate logo or tagline?  Or, are they actually talking about “rebranding”?

Branding is a promise that a company makes to its market—its uniqueness across every touch. You only get one chance to brand your company or product and that’s when it first launches. For any company that’s been in existence for a while, branding efforts are actually rebranding.

When you rebrand, you have to go against the inertia of your old brand. This often takes the form of a new strategic focus, clearer corporate values, new offerings, clearer positioning, a new name, messaging, visual identity, marketing communications or a combination of those elements.

And while visual elements are crucial, it’s about a lot more. Rebranding should be part of an overall corporate strategy. Rebranding will help establish differentiation against your competition. If the company’s message has been fuzzy in the past, rebranding helps bring clarity to corporate culture and the outside perception.

A rebranding effort should leave the company looking different on the outside because it has changed on the inside.  Employees should feel a new sense of morale.  Customers and clients should say it changed the way they felt about the company for the better.  Revenue and market share should improve over time.

It’s more obvious why people brand their business in the beginning. A cool new product, company or service must have an identity. This is important work that we love to perform at Forte.  But why would you choose to rebrand? There are many reasons that ran organization would invest in rebranding:

1. Differentiate from competitors

2. Drive a unified promise or culture across an organization

3. Shed a negative image or upgrade the outside image

4. Create a consistent outside message

5. Recapture lost market share

6. Respond to emergent situations

Each of these reasons for rebranding is its own animal, so we’ll take each of them on individually in future blog posts.

Forte Marketing Group is a Birmingham, Alabama-based branding, marketing and advertising firm that helps companies nationwide differentiate their brands. Learn more about us at www.fortemg.com

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Forte Library: The E-myth Revisited

By Jamie Warren, Forte President

I truly believe that to run a successful branding agency, you have to invest way more than 40 hours a week. And part of that means reading books that not only help the business, but help our clients’ businesses. So from time to time, I’ll review some of my favorite advertising, branding or business books here on our blog. Maybe it will inspire you to pick it up (or download it) yourself!

The E-myth Revisited, by Michael E. Gerber, isn’t a new book. Published in 1995, it’s a powerful look at entrepreneurialism that I believe will hold up for decades to come. Its theme? Small business owners need to work more ON the business. This is crucial if they want to transcend simply creating a job for themselves to building a real business.

What does that mean? It means getting out of the day-to-day minutia of the business – the phones don’t work, the copier’s down, emails need to be answered – and working on the big picture. The system. It means that most entrepreneurs have great ideas, but aren’t necessarily adept at actually making it scalable.  They also might have trouble moving beyond what they can personally execute.

It’s not easy to get out of the weeds. It takes a concerted effort to look at the big picture. At Forte, that’s what we do for our clients in our branding engagements – we pull them out of the weeds in their business to see the big picture. We help them focus on how the business will look 3, 5, 10, 15 years down the road. You see, branding and systems are strategic cousins – you have to have a brand in place to get the right systems in place.

The E-myth Revisited is more than a story about how entrepreneurs can succeed. It’s a resource with concrete plans to implement. In fact, my biggest ah-ha moment of the book took place in chapter 5: “Beyond the Comfort Zone.” It’s imperative for a business that’s going to be successful to get out of their comfort zone and institute their brand systematically into every part of the business. I thought to myself, “Our clients need to realize that’s what they must do!” It’s a daunting endeavor, but one that must be done.  The good news: we do this for clients every day.

If you own a small business (or are thinking of owning a small business), pick up The E-myth Revisited. I’d lend you mine, but you can barely see the original text with all the notes I have in the margins!

Forte Marketing Group is a Birmingham, Alabama-based branding, marketing and advertising firm that helps companies nationwide differentiate their brands. Learn more about us at www.fortemg.com

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Why Advertising is not Branding

“Advertising” and “Branding” are two words that many people think are interchangeable. Like “smart” and “intelligent,” or “merry” and “jolly.” But they’re not. They actually mean completely different things.

Advertising is a form of communication. It’s a way of telling the story of your product or service. It’s a television commercial, a billboard, a magazine ad, a Facebook profile. Advertising aims to drive consumer action.  Advertising is a means to an end. And that end is sales.

Branding, on the other hand, is much bigger. Branding requires a deeper connection with your product or service. Branding is what you get when you delve into the essence of a company; it’s the result of countless hours of analyzing, hoping, figuring out, looking at your company’s core. When you create a brand, you have your product or service, your employees, your mission statement, your culture, your customers, your company signage, your employee uniforms, and a host of other esoteric factors. Branding aims to create consumer feelings.

Advertising is concrete; branding is abstract.

And while advertising and branding are two very different parts of a business, they couldn’t exist without each other.

Advertising needs a brand on which to build its ideas. It needs a loyal customer base to grow sales. Branding needs advertising to get the word out about the company’s offerings. Neither exists in a bubble.

Forte Marketing Group is a Birmingham, Alabama-based branding, marketing and advertising firm that helps companies nationwide differentiate their brands. Learn more about us at www.fortemg.com.

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