executives with computer reseller Unique Solutions
decided in late 1996 to change their corporate name
to MacCenter, they swapped a generic, 9-year-old
look for a fresh, unified image.
The new company logo
became ubiquitous in all of its marketing efforts,
recalls Mark Miller, director
of sales with the Fort
Lauderdale-based company. A single font was chosen
for printed and Internet-based collateral
Themes, often humorous,
carried over from one radio ad or campaign to the
next. And in the end, a new brand was born. "Every
detail of the written or broadcast word is
consistent " Miller says. "Brand is an asset. You
have to look at it as that."
Branding applies to the
home office entrepreneur, corporations like Coca-
Cola and Martha Stewart Omnimedia, or any business
that wants to lead its category.
"It has very little to do
with size and has a tremendous amount to do with
how you want to communicate with your customers,"
says J. Elias Portnoy with The Portnoy Group, an
Orlando marketing and branding consulting firm. He
adds, "If you don't brand yourself well, somebody
else will fill the void."
For many companies,
branding has become a common element of every
marketing strategy as advertising, packaging,
public relations and sales all promote one goal: To
positively impact how the public perceives and
responds to a company.
"Branding is not a
buzzword. It's an imperative," insists
MacCenter carefully chose
its new name and look to reinforce the idea that it
caters to savvy, young design professionals who
prefer Macintosh computers to PCs. Miller, the
MacCenter director, notes that his company spends
upward of 6% of its annual revenues on marketing
(compared with an industry average of 1% to 2%) and
worked with a public relations firm and advertising
agency to accomplish its goals.
Branding doesn't have to
be expensive though. Bill Panoff, president of PPI
Group Inc., the Fort Lauderdale-based publisher of
Porthole Cruise Magazine, invests sweat equity and
technology to keep his magazine's name in front of
thousands of consumers each week. In 1998, he
created Porthole Preview On-line, an electronic
magazine, or e-zine, that is delivered via e-mail
to more than 25,000 e-zine subscribers each
The online effort helps
reinforce name awareness for the
100,000-circulation bi- monthly print version of
the magazine, Panoff says.
Whether it's Porthole's
passenger surveys, a golf tournament, trade show
appearance or other marketing effort, Panoff says
he is building brand awareness among readers and
newcomers alike. "It's like a jigsaw puzzle, and
the pieces are starting to come together," Panoff
says. "It's all about branding. We're hitting
consumers at so many different angles, people are
starting to notice and remember the name
Your Company Memorable
Want to make your
product or service the Coke of its
category? Follow these tips from The
Portnoy Group, an Orlando marketing and
branding consulting firm.
Create a Brand Vision and
Mission.This is the 'anything's
possible" path where you'd like your brand
to go- even if you're not sure it is
realistic or attainable -and the tools and
methodology for how you will achieve your
Cultivate the "Essence" of Your Brand.
input from management and employees,
determine what about your brand will
establish a bond with customers. Make sure
you direct consumers' "opinions, attitudes
and points of view," toward how you want
to be perceived, says J. Elias Portnoy,
principal with The Portnoy
Create a Name. Your company or product
name should be memorable and should impart
to those who see or hear it what the
company is all about.
Develop a Logo. This graphical image,
in the form of pictures or letters or
both, conveys your unique message in a
Unify Your Image. Business cards,
stationery, packaging, office signage,
company vehicles, materials used at
special events as well as the website
should all present a common visual image.
Use similar colors, fonts and styles
across all mediums.
Expand Your Marketing Vehicles.
Marketing your brand can include
traditional advertising as well as
interactive tools, like a website or an
electronic newsletter, or e-zine, that you
write and distribute via
Be Consistent and Persistent. Design
your marketing as a campaign that develops
over time and reinforces your