What does Branding Actually Mean?


Please find some links and notes from the 2 Regular Guys Podcast. We welcome back to the show, Kayla Gayton, the Marketing Director for Atlas Screen Supply. Kayla is someone who gets screen printing. She works with shops of all sizes but especially connects with the small to medium size businesses who get lost in all the buzz words that marketing brings. She is going to break down what branding actually means and how it affects garment decorators of all sizes. When is the right time to start “branding”, what do those beginning stages look like, and how do you approach that when you have no time and no money. With Terry on the road, Aaron and Kayla are going to geek out on marketing and bring you tips you can put into practice today in your decorating business.

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What Does Branding Actually Mean

  • So we have talked in the past about having you on, and you had this great idea for a show, where did that idea come from outside of your love for marketing? (Should we play the video first?)

    • It started when I heard that Donald Miller, the author of Building a Storybrand, made a statement that “companies should not even consider branding until they’re at least a $500 million dollar company.”
    • Although there is truth to this statement, there is a disconnect between understanding the foundation of what a brand is and the visual brand identity. A brand is not simply “music, colors, moods, moodboard…that kind of stuff”.


  • You have to understand who you are, who your ideal customer is, and the message you want to convey to them in order to market to them effectively or intentionally influence how they view your brand by using design


    • So to most people branding is a bit of a fuzzy term, start us off by telling us what branding actually means to people in their everyday business lives?

      • Branding can and has been defined in many ways, but I’ll give you my explanation. Very simply put, your brand is your company’s identity…it is not what you sell. It’s also what people say about your company and how they feel about the way you do business.

        • There are many elements that make up a brand but a brand, at its foundation, is: 


  • who you are


            • What type of company do you have (family owned? History?   Or New and trendy? )
            • Who is your ideal customer
          • the “why” of what you do (not the product)
          • Company values and how you do business
          • Brand promise (what you are guaranteeing a customer will get when doing business with you and setting the customer expectation)
          • Defining your place in the market


  • Why you are different from the guy next door?


      • Then you use those pieces to create a visual brand that effectively communicates 

Your brand has to be authentic. You shouldn’t choose to define your company in a way that doesn’t play to your strengths just because you feel it sounds better for marketing purposes. Otherwise, you may end up over-promising and under-delivering, which could end up hurting your company’s reputation.

    • So do you find that most people “overthink” branding and if so why?

      • Definitely. I think people get turned off or caught up in the elements that make up the visual brand identity — which is the logo, color schemes, fonts, imagery, etc. Even though it’s just a piece of the branding puzzle, it’s where I feel people get tripped up the most because that’s where they start, instead of focusing on the foundational pieces first.

        • People who do understand design: 
          • Overwhelmed with options and having to make a decision
          • Nothing seems right
          • when you’re passionate about your business, choosing the right combination that accurately reflects who you are is difficult and I get that


  • People who don’t understand design:


        • Wondering where to even start – overwhelming, confusing
        • Outsourcing brand design – how can you trust someone?
          • hint: if they aren’t asking you about those foundational questions and having multiple discussions with you before beginning the design process – Run.
        • Is the money worth it?

It’s important to remember that the visual part of your brand is meant to be used as a tool to communicate who you are and how you want your audience to see you...after you define the foundational pieces. 

    • So what are some ways that people can improve their brand/marketing today?


  • Define Your Brand


        • Take the time to understand who you are as a company and how you can differentiate yourself (write it out)
          • Stay away from marketing buzzwords, unless they actually reflect who you are
          • Be authentic, or risk over-promising and under-delivering


  • Create Buyer Personas 


        • Who is your ideal customer and what do they look like?
          • Age, gender, married, income, location, job, values, interests
        • Identify their pain points and how your business can add value to their life by alleviating them
        • Everyone sells decorated apparel, but how can you connect with your customer and add value?
        • When creating the visual part of your brand you can refer back to these personas and ask if that person would be attracted to it
        • Buyer personas create better (more effective) marketing messages


  • Clarify Your Message


      • After you define your brand and create your buyer personas, you can then create an effective message that resonates with your customers 
    • If you had to choose only one marketing tactic, what would it be and how can people implement that as soon as possible?

      • Building buyer personas. 
        • It’s easy to assume you know your audience and never think about it again
        • when you start identifying the different types of customers you have and understanding their unique pain points, it makes it a lot easier to send a more effective message that makes them feel as though you’re talking directly to them

    • What is the biggest mistake you see screen printers or other decorators make when it comes to their marketing?

      • Focusing too much on being defined by their quality. 
        • Quality is OK but These are expected, and it doesn’t differentiate your business
        • Find what makes your business valuable to your customer and market that message 


  • Using terminology in their marketing that their customers might not understand


      • Might not understand what discharge ink is, but they will understand “stylish vintage look on a super soft shirt that everyone will want to wear”
      • Understand your audience – buyer personas
  • What is new and good at Atlas Screen Supply these days?

    CorelDraw for Screen Printers.

  • How can people reach you and learn more if they have questions or want to connect with you?

They can contact me via email at kayla@atlasscreensupply.com

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