“Can you pass me a Kleenex?”
“Did you Swiffer the floors?”
“Can you Mapquest the nearest post office?”
“I need some Starbucks.”
What do the above sentences all have in common? They prove the effectiveness of branding. Each one of them swaps the name of a corporate creation for the name of a good or service: tissues, mops, driving directions and coffee. But these brands have been so effectively ingrained in our minds that we, the consumer, effortlessly associate the brand with what it represents. This, of course is the ultimate goal of branding.
Print advertising swiftly moves your company along the brand-building path. Print ads (custom flyers, newsletters, brochures, custom business cards) expose consumers to your company name and link it to the product or service you offer. These links are the building blocks of branding. Before you can print your first flyer, however, there are two things your company will need. The first is a name, and the second is a visual identity.
Naming Your Business, Product or Service
There is no one right way to name your business. While it’s at least somewhat representative of the product it represents, who could have predicted that the name “Kleenex” would be such an effective one in the world of facial tissues? The word “Heinz” has nothing to do with tomato ketchup, and yet we would bet $100 that you visualized exactly that, and maybe even the number 57, as soon as you read the name.
One rule of thumb, however, is to keep your business’ name short. If you want to name your business after yourself, for example, do it by all means. Just don’t include your first name, middle name, confirmation name, and your nickname in the deal. One or two words will do the trick most effectively.
Building Your Visual Identity
Once you have a name, it’s time to think of how to represent that name visually. Some companies stick to a simple font and logo (think KRAFT, AT&T, Apple), while others strongly enforce a specific color scheme (what colors do you see when you think of Tide detergent, for example?). Many do both. It’s a good idea, when planning your branding initiatives, to consider nailing down a look and feel, and then staying true to it in your print and digital advertising and marketing.
Once you’ve ironed out your name and visual identity, it’s time to inundate your customer base with your brand. The ultimate goal is that they will eventually associate your brand with your product or service so effortlessly, that they will always consider your company first when it comes to purchasing that particular commodity. If you had to get your carpet cleaned, you would first consider Stanley Steemer, no? If you wanted to add style to your wardrobe for a minimal investment, would you not think of TJ Maxx first? Print ads can help you achieve the type of consumer connection you need to dominate the local, national, or even global market.
Whether you’re printing business cards, flyers, posters, car magnets, mass mailing campaigns, table tents or door hangers, remember to keep your logo or look completely consistent. Use your print ads to emphasize a central message, and with time and ongoing effort, your customers will soon be using your company name as a synonym for the product or service you offer.