Branding is often considered the be-all and end-all of creating company recognition. Indeed, some studies have even valued brands such as Microsoft and Coca-Cola in the hundreds of millions of dollars. But how does a bootstrapping entrepreneur compete with multimillion-dollar corporate image campaigns? The answer lies in a few basic principles, says Elizabeth J. Goodgold, co-founder of The Nuancing Group (http://www.nuancing.com), a San Diego consulting firm that helps businesses find and refine brand identities.
Watch your language. Think you've got the perfect name? You'd better test it in other languages to avoid embarrassing translations. One example Goodgold cites is Rogaine, the popular hair growth stimulator, which is the name of a soft drink in Japan.
Be consistent. According to Goodgold, your "look"-including colors, typefaces and messaging-should be consistent throughout your materials. Your Web site domain name, toll-free vanity phone number and other key communication vehicles should closely tie together.
Overall, says Goodgold, smaller companies must reinforce their brand identities at every opportunity. "Find a voice for your brand. Develop a brand personality-it can be whimsical, fun or staunch. Then stay true to it."