By Aileen Barron, Green Acre Marketing

Everyday purchasing decisions are based on brand perception, even though we often don’t realise it, and it is the very reason that companies need to support their sales teams in arming them with a strong brand.

If not already committed to doing this, it needs to become a key part of your marketing plans going forward.

"One of the significant differences between big brands to small businesses and start-ups is that the smaller ones often treat branding as a visual endeavour, whereas larger operations put the emphasis on their brand strategy," said David Gaz, founder/creative director at The Bureau Of Small Projects, in a recent piece.

He cited one of the main reasons for this as the obvious one – budget, noting that it’s a lot less expensive to design a logo than create a comprehensive brand strategy.

It’s also a lot easier to “explain” what a logo is than explain what your value proposition or customer persona is and why it is important.

A great logo will not drive sales. It merely makes you recognisable as the source of where the product came from – and that’s only if the logo is being used correctly across all marketing touch points.

What will drive sales is defining what your logo represents and that only happens when your logo becomes a brand.

While I am in agreement that bigger budgets can make this happen quicker, it doesn’t mean it can’t be done on a smaller budget; as the most important part is a lot of deep thought, commitment to the outcome and well-planned, multi-campaign management.

How to start defining your brand and not your logo

The very first step is to define what your brand should mean to your customer and what you would like them to think of you at every point they come into contact with it.

A brand strategy involves defining your key strengths and the market opportunities, and effectively putting these into language that resonates with your audience. This is what is known as ‘your brand story’.

A brand takes your customer and your business proposition into consideration and blends them together to make it something meaningful.

You then need to take this brand story, represent it in language and visual assets and serve them consistently across all your marketing touchpoints: brochureware; adverts; social platforms; websites; etc. Not forgetting to involve your people in this exercise.

The big question is: How does all the investment in creating your brand turn into sales?

Put quite simply, it builds trust and familiarity, and when it comes to introducing new products to the market, it comes with a proven track record. It also shortens the sales process and helps secure sales.

Invest in brand guidelines

My favourite logos are always the ones that are simple and contain elements that are not immediately obvious – the ones I need to think about why they used certain colours, elements, text styles, etc.

Ones that are so simple that they have, over time, started to represent themselves as a brand and not just a pretty visual picture.

In agriculture, we mostly gravitate towards the obvious colours, landscapes, crops, etc and that’s completely acceptable; but often it just needs to be refined and trimmed back, so it works well when positioned on all marketing tools you are going to use to build your brand story.

Documenting this positioning and how the logo is to be presented is essential. This will be your brand guideline and play such an important role for your marketing team.

Ensure your team are well briefed on what your core values are, and how your brand is to be used.

It is one job in ensuring comprehensive brand guidelines are developed to cover all marketing touchpoints and another ruthlessly committing to their implementation. Then your work on building a brand can begin.

So, as we are still in the early part of 2020, I would strongly encourage agri-businesses to make a commitment to work on converting their logo to a meaningful brand over the following 12 months.

This will involve defining what you want your brand to represent, how you want it to be visually presented, put it into a brand guideline and ensure you are delivering this across all your marketing touchpoints.

Our next piece will be on how to capture engaging video and how best to work it into your marketing plans.

As always, if there are any specific topics that you would like to know more about, please let us know or you can email: [email protected].