Branding is an over used word in the arena of marketing. When we speak of Branding the type that most marketing agencies (i.e. the big ones on Madison Ave.) are speaking of is associated with multi million dollar advertising budgets which doesn’t happen with small businesses. In fact Branding of this type never happens within the Wedding industry. Why, you ask? Simple; We get a whole new crop of customers who have never bought our “stuff” before.
Many Wedding businesses are interested in Branding as they spread their messages through more than one medium. By spreading their messages in more than one medium (print, web, snail mail, networking, etc…) they increase their chances of getting noticed and having the Brides take action. This is simply due to the “Big Ad” effect that the Bride Feels.
The “Big Ad” effect is simple; the Biggest ad must be the biggest business, or in other words, they get the first chance because they are spending the most money. The businesses who spend the most money are those who are most established typically. The best example of this is in back in the days of the Yellow Pages. When you look for something that you don’t use often, let’s say a Plumber, you look at the big ads first and rarely get to those who may actually be the most established as they have a line listing (simply as a convenience to their customers).
While the “Big” ads may buy instant legitimacy, few small wedding businesses can afford them. That is why you need to use what I have developed called “Small Business/Low budget Branding” to help your message catch the desired effect. Let me explain what I am speaking of;
When you watch TV, watch carefully to the soda that the character’s are drinking or the beer, or the food they are eating. Many times, the TV show will get a design that is close to a major brand like “Coke” without calling it “Coke” (they will typically use a Red background with a white swoosh and will label it “Cola” in the same or similar font as “Coke”. This little trick saves them the time of getting permission to use “Coke”’s trademark, while still making it look like Coke. The main reason why is the colors, the shapes or designs and the font’s used.
Were you to use this same technique, you could then make your business branding work at a much less cost of putting out a ton of advertising to get people’s attention. This subtle method allows you to save money and still have the same affect.
Be cautious of over used colors (lime, chocolate brown and pink have been used to the hilt-find something that is fresh, yet trendy. To find out what is trendy, call any Bridal shop, Florist or Wedding Planner and they should be able to give you a good idea). Be sure when using shapes, designs or backgrounds that they are simple. This can be in your logo or in the flow of your ads/promotional material (i.e. the coke “swoosh or the Pepsi Circle).
Make certain that your catch phrase makes sense. Many wedding vendors over think this simple part of their marketing. A simple phrase for a florist can be “Beautiful Flowers = a Beautiful Wedding” or for a dress salon, “Awaken the Cinderella Within!”. Both co notate an image that is unique to the Brides but speak to each of them. Avoid any statement’s that are over used. An overused statement include words like “Dream(s)”, “Fairytale”, “Best”, “Special”, “Happily Ever After”, and “Perfect”.
Keep your branding simple, easy to understand at first glance and clean. Using fanciful fonts can confuse and be hard to read. The psychology of the Bride is simple, if you want to catch them, give them a compelling reason to go further in her consideration at without trying hard at first glance.
Test your message with at least 30 girls of marrying age (preferably around the average age 26-28). Test your design, your logo and your colors as well. Find what they overwhelmingly prefer. If they are not unified in what they like (or sometimes dislike) you should go back to the drawing board and try again.
Use a professional Graphic artist who has been creating ads for at least 5 years and has a feel for what you are doing (I can recommend some to you if you need). They typically charge between $75 and $125 per hour, so be prepared with what you want (if you go and spend your time there without being clear, you will spend more money than you should).
Until next week, Here’s to your success!