We’re pleased to start off the new year with some exciting news! Sniff Design Studio® was asked to write an article for up and coming Pets+ Magazine, a premier pet business to business mag.
Given our past and current experience in pet business branding we had the pleasure of contributing an article explaining the importance of not only having good branding – but professional branding.
If you’d like download and read the article click on the following link:
Command Your Brand Business Article by SniffDesignStudio for Pets+ Mag.
Otherwise, you can read it here:
COMMAND YOUR BRAND
THESE ARE FIVE CRITICAL BRANDING MISTAKES THAT WAY TOO MANY PET BUSINESSES MAKE.
BRANDING is a critical element in the success of any business, big or small. When done well, it’s like offering a firm handshake to each and every potential client you meet. And when done badly, it’s like sticking your tongue out at the world. So why do so many people get it wrong? Let’s look at five of the biggest branding mistakes that too many pet professionals regularly make.
Mistake #1: They don’t understand the power of a brand.
Your store design, logo, signage and advertising are all a bold statement that you are making to everyone who sees it. Those potential customers are going to quickly boil down your statement and file it in one of three basic categories: “We are really cool!” or “We are pretty average!” or “We are a freaking mess!” Once that statement is made, it is very hard to convince potential customers differently. This may sound like heresy to some, but a well-executed brand can even cover up for a weak service — at least for a little while. (At the very least, a strong brand buys you more tolerance for your mistakes.)
Mistake #2: They skimp on what it costs to build a brand.
Building a powerful brand takes time, skill and money. Too many pet business owners try to brand their new businesses (or re-brand their existing ones) over a single weekend. Saturday, they sip wine and think strategic “big” thoughts about their business. And then on Sunday, they go nuts with a CD of clip-art and a million Windows fonts. Believe me: in the end, your audience can see exactly what you invested in creating your brand. Just as bad as doing a bad D-I-Y job is hiring out your critical identity work to a $99-per-logo factory that doesn’t care one bit about what lasting impression your business will make.
Mistake #3: They don’t stick to strong brand guidelines.
Once you’ve established your brand style, stick to it. While it will be incredibly tempting to use a color or a font outside of your business’s usual style, doing this too often will negatively impact your customers’ perceptions. Customers see an
inconsistent brand as unreliable. This negative perception can be easily avoided by establishing a detailed style guide for your business and following it religiously. Stay disciplined!
Mistake #4: They build a brand and then let it stagnate.
If you’ve avoided Mistake #3 and maintained your brand guide lines for a period of time, eventually your cutting-edge identity will need refreshing. Logo artwork falls out of trend. Store signage fades and needs updating. Advertising campaigns run their course and need a new direction. (Even Met Life finally got rid of their famed Snoopy advertisements just a few months ago.) While the strongest brands might need only subtle changes over the long term, they are still in a constant process of changing and growing. Working with a knowledgeable pet industry designer can help you navigate this challenge and help your brand mature gracefully.
Mistake #5: They try to appeal to everyone.
To build the strongest possible brand, start by accepting the fact that you won’t appeal to everyone. The brand that connects most strongly with one type of customer is unlikely to connect as strongly with others. Don’t weaken your appeal and suck all the personality out of your brand by trying to reach everyone. Pick your niche and target customer, decide on your brand personality, and roll the dice!
MONICA CEVALLOS is founder and owner of Sniff Design Studio®; a small, award-winning graphic design boutique and pet blog that has catered exclusively to pet business professionals around the world since 2003. Contact Monica here.
Last but not least, if you are a pet business owner and/or manager you can get a FREE subscription of Pets+ Mag. Pawsome!