Santa has great branding. Think about Santa. All someone needs to do is mention a single name — Santa — and a powerful picture is conveyed.

This is the power of a good brand. A simple name, logo or picture can create a vividly powerful experience. You know what he looks like. You know the values that he represents, and you know what his business is. You need to use Santa's branding strategy for your business.

Noise is your competition

Why is branding important? The answer is noise. Our lives are incredibly noisy. Noise is anything that distracts you. Just think back to this morning. Picture your chaos. The kids are yelling about their inability to find their shoes, the milk jug is once again empty and the dog appears to be barking at an invisible intruder. You are late for the office, and of course, your freeway has now been transformed into a parking lot. But, you are not paying attention since you are distracted by the fact that you were selected for jury duty, again, and ugh, the gas warning light just went off on the dash. And, this is your morning. The day has barely even started. Your life is crazy. It is filled with noise, and everybody's life is like this, including the lives of your clients.

You need to find a way to get through all of the noise so that your clients can remember you. You must remain top of mind with them, and you need to find a way to accomplish this that's quick, concise, simple and cost effective. In a land of fast-food, instant rice and quick cash, we do not have the luxury of long, complex and detailed marketing messages. You need to get your message to your target market quickly and directly, and this can be accomplished with good branding.

Remember Santa

Remember Santa. You know what he looks like. You likely do not concern yourself with the fact that his elves might be working too long in the toy factory, or that his reindeer might be oxygen deprived due to their high-altitude flying. You think of toys, and celebration and the happiness of family. Yet, I did not speak of this, you thought of it. This is the power of branding. If done properly, a good brand brings marketing messages with it, automatically.

Your brand is everything associated with your business that can invoke a response in your target market. Even simple things like fonts are important. I learned this first hand when I did some focus group testing for the layout of my book; Aspirations - Achieving What You Want For Yourself and Your Life. People had strong and emotionally-packed comments about fonts. Some fonts were seen as scientific, or feminine, or too aggressive. A simple act of choosing a poor font could have been a poor branding choice.

Three brand building blocks

Although your brand strategy has many complexities, let me provide three very fundamental brand building blocks. These following three items are foundational, and like all of your marketing, will change and evolve, yet these decision points require a bit more time and energy. These constructs should align strategically with how you want your business to be understood and remembered in the marketplace.  

Logo: Santa has the red suit. What is your logo? A logo is more than just a graphic. It must support your business in visual format. It should support the principles of your company and do it in a way that is not overwhelming. Also, please consider the size and detail. If your logo is viewed via the screen of a smart phone, it may be the size of a dime. A very detailed logo will not render well. Nike's swoosh is a great logo.

Tagline: Santa says "Ho, Ho, Ho." What do you say? Your tagline is concise and power-packed. It is a short sentence about your business and it acts as a memory hook. It must be simple and memorable. The best taglines are ubiquitous with meanings that are extremely well known. Got Milk? Personally, I like "Every kiss begins with Kay." This one is especially valuable because it associates Kay Jewelers with romance, without even mentioning romance, or even the product. It is clever and easy to remember.

Your voice: Santa is jolly. Your voice is not the sound of you speaking, but rather the mix of your personality and your style. This is prevalent in all of the communication and it creates connection and engagement with your audience. Be you. Be authentic. If you are funny, be funny. If you are artistic, be artistic. If your voice does not match your values and the values of your business, this incongruence will show through, and your messages will fall flat. Just simply communicate yourself and your honest value system into all of the marketing messages. Your market will appreciate the sincerity.

Remember, these tips are part of the overall branding strategy. There are multiple parts and complexities. Yet, the key goal is to be remembered. Your branding tools help create a picture of your business in a manner that is easy to remember and understand. If this appears frustrating or complex to you, do not worry. Santa did not have the vast marketing and branding tools that you have. When building your business branding strategy, think about Santa.

Mikelat will be a keynote speaker at the Workplace Benefits Mania conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, July 30 at 8:30 a.m. in the discussion called: The Best And Quickest Ways To Build Your Personal Brand. To find out more about WBM, hosted by EBA’s parent company SourceMedia, click here.

Mikelat is the president of Building Aspirations, a digital marketing company for small business. He believes that small business owners work too hard, and he loves to save them time energy and money with good online marketing strategies. Reach him at Mark@BuildingAspirations.com.

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