Bryan Ward, founder and CEO of Giant Ideas, knows there are many important aspects of developing a business. An often overlooked, yet vitally important aspect is the branding of your business. The full-service advertising agency helps develop and drive brand awareness for its clients.
“It’s about creating a connection between a product or service and a brand and creating that connection in people’s minds so it’s something they can remember easily,” Ward says.
With a corporate identity focused around Easter Island iconography, Giant Ideas has a name and logo people don’t forget. Ward’s branding tactics have made his agency one of the best in the area at what they do and led to 2009 revenue just shy of $10 million.
Smart Business spoke to Ward about how to develop a brand and why it is an important business aspect.
Define your brand. One thing that people often don’t seem to realize about a brand and it’s often a misunderstood word and misused many times … is that they already have one, there’s no creation of a brand. You can push it in a different direction, but you already have one. We all have a brand. It’s how people see us. It’s the way we dress, the type of car we drive, the way we speak. Everything that we do goes into building our own personal brand and the same thing is true for a company or a product or service. The way that the phones are answered, the way the employees treat people, the way employees dress. All of that is part of a brand.
You have to ask yourself, ‘Is that brand doing anything to help my company excel its product and services, or is the brand helping my product reach new customers? Am I utilizing it in the best way possible or not?’ If not, then something needs to be done to fix that.
From a CEO’s perspective, where do you want your company to be … two years from now, five years from now? You then backtrack from that goal. CEOs spend a tremendous amount of effort and time on supply chain logistics and all these other business processes that are important to get there and often overlooked is the brand marketing execution communication side of things. It’s part of that stream of business and is just as important as the others. Getting products from point A to point Z is important but also how is your brand working for you and how best can it do that job. Maximizing the amount of added benefit and added value that brand is bringing to that chain is just as important as the others.
Establish brand awareness. You have to clearly establish why you are who you are and why that matters to the consumer or the customer and why they should pay attention to you. We all have competition and you have to stand out from the crowd because it is a very competitive market.
A new brand has nothing. There’s zero name recognition, zero brand recognition, zero information in the consumer’s or customer’s mind about that. It’s a great time, too, because you have an opportunity to drive that story, to be in control of that story for a long time. The sooner and better that you can do that and establish what that story is going to be and drive that conversation yourself, the better off you’re going to be.
Drive your brand. You have to talk to customers, talk to employees and really get a sense of what is going on. You need to also have an understanding of the market. What are the other competitors in the space doing? How are they branding themselves? What tools are they using? All of that goes into building a picture of where your brand needs to be and where its optimal space is going to be. Once you start down this path you start to see common threads. It almost becomes self-evident at a point where your brand is going to live and what tools it needs to survive and flourish.
I can’t tell you the number of clients, the number of businesses that I talk to who had bad experiences in the past with branding. It is just as important as any other aspect of your business and it needs to be given the same attention and care and expertise that you would give to any other part of your business. If you don’t do due diligence when you have the opportunity it won’t serve you well in years to come and you will regret having gone in that direction.
HOW TO REACH: Giant Ideas, (412) 566-5756, or www.giantideas.com