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It’s the 30th anniversary of the greatest baseball movie of all time (at least in Nicole’s opinion!)- Field of Dreams. In this movie, struggling farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) hears a voice coming from his cornfield telling him that “If you build it, they will come”.

After plowing under his corn crop to build a baseball field on which the ghosts of baseball greats such as Shoeless Joe Jackson play, Ray eventually winds up with a miles-long stream of cars coming to see the baseball field- and enough revenue to pay the mortgage on his farm, which had been threatened with foreclosure.

Any small business owner can appreciate the overarching themes of the movie- following your dreams, hard work, and the support of one’s family and friends. Unfortunately, any small business owner also know that you have to do more then “build it” before “they will come”.

One of the things that you must also build in order for “them to come”- e.g., frequent your business or buy your product- is your brand. We are going to take a look at several strategies for creating a successful brand, which we learned last week is more then just a logo or letterhead.

Know Your Target Audience

Just as Terrance Mann (James Earl Jones) told Ray exactly who his target audience would be for his baseball field, you will also need to identify your target audience, or avatar, for your business before you begin working on your brand.

Your business cannot be everything to everyone, so just who is your business for? What demographic are your potential customers? How old are they? What do they need or want? What is their income level?

In a future blog, we will discuss finding your avatar in detail, but for now, identify who you’re going to be catering to,

Stand for Something

Part of your company’s brand, or image, is what you stand for and what you are passionate about. Your audience can see this clearly through several means, such as:

  • Your mission statement
  • Authentic and transparent customer service
  • The user-friendliness of your products or services
  • Logo and tagline

For example, Kashi is a brand that stands for nutrition, peacefulness, the outdoors, and clean eating. This brand is evident on their logo (which includes a stalk of wheat), their tag line (for the love of good food), and on their web page (pictures of serene landscapes and outdoor adventures).

Let Your Personality Shine

What is your brand’s personality? Formal or fun-loving? High-tech or traditional? Exclusive or accessible? Decide what your brand’s personality is, and then stick with it in marketing campaigns and advertising.

For example, if a brand like Dior ran a marketing campaign that featured people going on picnics or at a rodeo, it wouldn’t fit their brand’s personality at all!

Be Consistent

Let your brand- the logo, the colors, the taglines, the pictures reflecting what you stand for, all of it- be a part of everything about your business!

Think about walking into Starbucks. From the green awnings to the logo to the chalkboard menus to the pictures on the walls, their brand shows on everything in the shop. You could walk into any Starbucks in the world without seeing any signage, and know you were in a Starbucks.

Your brand- what you stand for, and what feelings you want people to have about your business- should be visible in everything you do and produce!

Next week, we will be talking in more detail about how to find your avatar!