Even though Coca Cola has billions to brand their beverage, micro-business owners can learn one CORE and affordable lesson in marketing and message design from the 2012 #1 global brand.
What’s In A Name?
According to Interbrand, Coca Cola, a 126 year old company, has
“a name that is more universally recognized than any other in the world.”
It’s not the length of time that Coca Cola has been around, after all, there are lots of tenured brands that are not as well known. It may not even be the taste of the beverage that builds brand recognition. Interbrand says,
“for millions, it’s the way Coca-Cola makes them feel.”
And that “feeling” has everything to do with message design. Consider my Coke experience.
I grew up on Coca-Cola. But now…I’m a health nut. So I probably haven’t had a one in 3 or so years. Still, if you ask me, “Coke or Pepsi,” I say, “Coke” every time.
My great grandmother drank Coca Cola. But that’s not enough to create the kind of strange loyalty I tend to have toward this product.
I think back to those series of All American commercials in the 90s that featured various types of American cultures. At a time when it wasn’t common, I saw an “all american” girl who looked just like me.
Or what about their more recent “Open Happiness” campaign. In the middle of our current global economic challenges, Coke encourages us to smile. Now, I wonder if the
“1.8 billion Coke products consumed daily (Interbrand)”
also represents 1.8 billion smiles. At the least, the company is smiling all the way to the bank. But what about you and your brand?
What Can You Do For Your Personal/Professional Brand?
Here’s one thing the smallest of small businesses can do to begin the process of recognition.
Choose a name and stick with it.
Message design is driven by — the message. Most often, the smallest conversation that your personal or professional brand will carry is — your name. Who you are and what you stand for will be summed up in — your name. If you get lost in this first step of message design, it may cost you momentum.
It takes a lot more energy to say,
“Pass me that drink. You know the one in the red and white can with the brown liquid inside.”
It’s easier to say,
“Pass me a Coke.”
That’s what branding does, it makes it simplier for others to identify, understand and explain who you are. And simplicity is your friend, particularly when it comes to branding and designing your message.
A Simple Message Design Action
It’s true that big budgets help get you in front of larger audiences. But what are you going to say when you get there? How are you going to tell others about you? How will you help that crowd remember your name? The process of answering those questions is the beginning of message design.
Here’s the deal: you don’t need a big budget in order to design a effective brand message. To get you started, consider the following:
- What is the problem that you solve for others?
- How do you or your product solve that problem? and
- What do others say when they refer to you or your business?
After writing down the answers to those questions play around with the words, and see what kind of name comes out of it. Once you have a few that you like, get feedback. See what others think of your name without you saying anything. In the end, the most used statement in your entire brand message will be your name, so it’s worth some upfront effort.
PHOTO: Christmas Gift by Subbotina Anna via Fotolia