On Wednesday, January 25, Risa Sasaki of Yoroshiku Fantastic, KK introduced the FEW Women’s Start-Up Club to the world of branding. A successful brand gives a strong first impression of a company’s unique offerings, personality and values. Risa shared her experience in starting her own business, along with her expertise on building a memorable brand that represents you, your company, and your product/service.
What is Branding?
The online business dictionary defines branding as “the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumers’ mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.”
Risa simplified branding by explaining that it involves communicating and visually presenting your “WHY.”
She covered several layers of branding: branding yourself, your company, and your product/service.
First impressions matter, as do the second and third. Therefore, we need to be aware that we brand ourselves daily, in each unique setting. Risa posed several questions for us to consider:
- Why do you dress the way you do?
- Why do you dress a certain way when you are with friends and differently when you meet clients?
- What does your style say about you?
- Why do you choose your particular style colors?
- What image do you want to portray and does your style choice work?
Ultimately, branding is being conscious of WHY we do something and to be able to control the impact we want to have on our environment.
Branding your company and your product/service
Memorable names, logos and taglines immediately come to mind when we think of a company’s brand.
However, to successfully brand a company you must be very clear about of what you want to achieve. Your branding should built on your elevator pitch and business plan, including:
- who you are;
- what you offer;
- your target audience; and
- how you want to present your company and how you want it to be seen.
Based on these factors, use colors and images you think will best represent your brand. Creating a logo is a good place to start, including a logo of just the company name.
Colors, shapes, and even textures of paper (glossy, matte, special paper) all can influence the impression of your brand. Different fonts can also express different feelings: for example, a handwritten font or hand-drawn design represents a human touch. Combining handwriting and hand-drawn designs, however, throws your message off balance and can appear to fight for attention. Balance in design is key.
Risa recommends consulting a designer or branding agency if you need help with developing any of the elements above. “A designer exists because there is a client. If there is no client, then we are just artists expressing ourselves as we like. A designer needs to listen to what the client wants and then deliver. If you do not know what you want, a designer is there to make suggestions, and listen carefully to how it resonates with you,” said Risa.
Branding agencies like Yoroshiku Fantastic also have specialists to help with market research, including interviewing potential target audiences and conducting focus groups.
Once you have developed your brand, it is important to spread the word. For instance, network to get both your personal brand and company brand out there and working for you.
Risa believes a website should be straightforward, saying, “show who you are and what you do.” This is especially important since people only spend an average of 3-5 minutes on a website to obtain the information they want.
In recent years, short (30-90 second) introductory movies/slide shows have become increasingly popular and proven effective for websites.
Japanese style websites tend to be very busy, cramming a lot of information onto one page. While accommodating your target audience is important, Risa believes that conveying your own personality is more important. This way you will attract the clients you want to work with.
Successful brands have personalities. A personality is what will get you noticed and remembered. Be aware of your WHY. It will make telling your story so much simpler.
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