Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How Much Does a Brand Cost?

Finding the Right Branding Company

Companies that create branding and identity are often difficult to distinguish from graphic design firms, but how they go about creating your brand may be much different. There are several important steps to select the right company to help you to brand your new business. First, ask your contacts which companies they know that specialize in branding. Conduct Internet searches for "naming" and "corporate identity" and "branding." Think extensively about what types of names and logos appeal to you. Research the firms that created the brands that you most admire. Be aware of the firms' creative styles. Choose a company with a track record for unique and original names, not one that has a history of creating coined names. However, don’t go with a highly creative firm if your constituency is very conservative and traditional.

Contact a handful of companies and take note of how quickly they get back to you. Do they seem motivated or preoccupied? Is the person who returns your call a partner or a sales representative? Meet with a few different companies and trust the chemistry. If it's there you will know it; if it's not, keep looking. Make sure that the person with whom you initially meet - usually a partner or owner — will do, or at least direct, the work. That way they will be personally motivated to produce results for you.

Ask each company about its process. How forthcoming are they? Are the representatives willing to talk about their procedures and the steps that they all take to create your brand? Make sure you talk about money; they may ask you if you have a projected budget for this project. It's acceptable for them to ask, but it's also okay for you to hear first how much it will cost, without disclosing your budget. How quickly do they get back to you with a written proposal? If you agree on Tuesday to work with them and you haven’t heard from them by the end of the week, this might not be a good sign. Again, be smart and go with your instincts.

How Much Does a Brand Cost?

How much you can expect to pay for the creation of your brand is a Rs.25,60,000 question. The answer is that the fee doesn't have to be astronomical, but it can be depending on who you decide to do business with.

Creating a brand is often a classic case of getting what you pay for. Your cousin may create a name and commensurate logo (without applications like letterhead, signage and packaging) for Rs.22,500, or you can pay an international identity and branding company Rs.4000,000. In theory, that Rs.4000,000 should buy you higher quality images and plenty of targeted branding theory, but that isn’t always the case.

Our recommendation is that emerging companies look for an in-between solution. Look for a company that is experienced in branding small or start-up businesses, and that understands your timing and budget constraints. Reputable firms charge anywhere from Rs.10,00,000 to Rs. 50,00,000 for a name and logo. You should be thrilled with the product and get terrific results from a firm in this range.

Before choosing a branding, naming or identity company, scrutinize its portfolio to make sure their style matches your tastes. Also, don't hesitate to ask for references—they should be proud to provide them. Call a couple of the references and find out whether they liked working with the firm.

Finally, remember that branding is a serious, long-term investment. If you're going after or have received outside financing, it should be a line item in your budget. Building a brand is a core business activity, as important as leasing office space, recruiting the right people and developing your product or service.

source: allbusiness.com

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Brand, Positioning & Promotion - A Discussion

Is Branding the Same as Advertising and Promotion?

No, branding is not the same as advertising and promotion.
Promotional messages contained in advertising are critical components to getting out the word about your company and its products and services. But advertising campaigns come and go, shifting according to the specific needs of your company over time.
Your brand is permanent. It consistently reinforces the appropriate messages to your key audiences. A brand is the core identity of your company. It is what appears on the bottom of your ad and represents the personality that goes to the heart of your positioning. Your brand is bigger than any advertising, public relations or direct mail campaign you will ever do. It is the one thing that doesn't change.

Differentiation through Branding

There are a growing number of products and services introduced to the market every month, and your company may not stand the test of time if it lacks a well-defined brand. Differentiation is key for any product or service. In the information age, impressions come to people so fast it's virtually impossible to retain all the messages with which we're bombarded. In order to make people stop, look, and listen, it is imperative that the brand you create cuts through the clutter. The name and logo — the "look and feel" of your communications — is the starting point for how people perceive you.
In order to lead in your category, you want your target audience to notice and to remember you. Because the core of your brand is your name and how that name is visually expressed, there is a terrific opportunity to make these elements work for you. Take your brand development seriously, and invest what is necessary achieve your goals. This may mean hiring an outside help.

Equally important, make sure that you think through and are able to communicate your company's position and core values. If you can't articulate what differentiates you to your branding consultant, chances are they won't be able to communicate it visually. They need clear direction in order to craft a memorable, differentiated brand.

source: allbusiness.com

Friday, May 11, 2007

How many customers will recommend your product?

Can you tell how many customers will promote your product or your company? Has that ever occurred to you that if you ask this question to your customer, “How likely is it that you would recommend (my company / my product) to a friend or colleague?”, what would be their answer?

Research shows that asking this simple question will help you understand your customers and their feedback better, than from those million dollar feedback processes, simply because it gives you their perspective in very clear and explicit way – and what better way to design your product or yr services but from such feedback.

There is a psychological reason as well. When you ask this question to a customer, you are actually involving her personally into yr product or your organization. What better way to create ownership among them?

So, next time when you are visiting your customers / clients, don’t forget to ask this question to them, and see the difference.

By: Susmita Das Gupta

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Understanding your Customers and be their Buddy!

It is possible to build a long lasting relation with your customers. Whether you are in a B2B or B2C market, your customers will always behave in some similar pattern. After all, you will always be dealing with human beings!

1. Understand the Pain Area of your Customers and Give them a Solution, not just a Product:

The key to marketing & selling success is based on how well one understands her customers and foresees their requirements. To do that one has to think like her customers and understand the “pains” they are suffering from.

To do that, each marketing & sales person should become the best “buddy” for each of her customers – she simply can’t afford to be just a vendor/supplier/marketer. She needs to build up a relation of trust so that her customers can believe that she is the best person who can provide them with the best solution, and not just push some products.

2. Understanding the customer’s Psychology - there are basically two types customers –

a. the “Visionaries” – want to be the first to use a product and build their vision around them for their companies, mainly the senior / top management, or for themselves
b. the “Pragmatics” – who want to make sure he has the best solution for their current problems, the ones who runs the show on the daily basis.

It is rather easy to build the dreams for the visionaries, but it is a real hard work to convert a pragmatic to a customer. And if the product is highly technical and requires product trials before an order is received, it is even more difficult with a pragmatic customer.

Therefore, understanding each segments and building the solution around them is the key.

To sum up:

To foresee the customers’ future requirement, keeping a hand on the pulse of the market and constantly innovating on the existing offering is the only way.

And, understanding the customers and building lasting relationship based on trust is the most effective way to success.

By – Susmita Das Gupta