Thursday, January 30, 2014

Tricks to Promoting Your Brand

Creating and promoting your brand is your livelihood.  For some, Hammerhead Fitness included, it is a very personal, cherished part of your business.  We love our brand, our logo, our color scheme.

We've talked to tons of potential and existing CrossFit gym owners who have reached out to us for equipment packages.  One common thread we found as we were talking with them is that it was difficult for them to secure a CrossFit Affiliate name.  Many of their first, second and even third choices were taken.  It can be frustrating, but through that search to find a unique, catchy name to brand your business, you develop a deep attachment to it.  That's good.  Having a strong, personal attachment to your brand is important.

We've seen some really catchy, and some even funny names.  I was responding to a connection request through +LinkedIn when a saw a status update for a new CrossFit Affiliate Owner.  The name of their affiliate was CrazyWife CrossFit in Clarksville, TN.  Haha.  Cool.  Now that name works, doesn't it?  It's funny, memorable and caught my attention enough to write about.  They've got a subtitle too that's catchy...Forging Elite Housewives.  That's funny and creative.

The reason for today's article is not about how to name your affiliate, but something else rather that caught my attention about branding in particular.  Social media plays a huge part in building a brand and we've all heard how important and engaging images can be.  For the enormous amount of information that passes by our eyes in the way of Blog posts, Status Updates to Google Plus and Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, we've all got to be engaging fast or we lose the opportunity.  Photos and images are a great way to engage.  They do it quickly and effectively.

There are three main keys in branding your business that you want to present to your customers every chance you get - Your Business Name, Your Logo and What You Do.  I've put three images on this blog post that are all great images for us to use either on our equipment for CrossFit site or on any of our social media accounts, but one of them is the clear stand out.  Not all of them contain all three aspects of branding.  Before you read on can you pick out which one is the best?

You've Got One Shot to Make a Memorable Impression - Get Your Full Brand on that Image.  The image above right of Ryan K. out at CrossFit R5 in Wayne, PA is a great image.  It's engaging and well-composed and it conveys that we are an equipment supplier.  But is it enough?  Most will look at the image and think it's a really great shot.  I agree.  But the one thing that it is missing is a clear presentation of our brand.  We've got three logos presented in the image but none of them are clear enough for someone to tell instantly who we are.  Granted, its a great shot and I can and will use it on our site and in blog posts like this one.  But to get the most brand promotion and recognition, I should not post this image by itself.  If you saw that image, would you know enough to visit HammerheadFitness.com?  You might be able to piece our name together by looking at both Plyo Boxes but I'd rather not take that risk.  Presenting just a logo is not enough.  Even the big names like Target and WalMart don't present just their logo when advertising.  If we presented just our "H", only our existing customers would recognize it.  Keep both together.  Always.

Now, have a look at this image on the left.   Here is a 10/10 in my book.  Well composed, and well branded.  We actually use this image on our Gymnastics Rings page and I've posted it to all the major social media sources.

This photo nails all the important aspects of presenting our brand.  Our logo and brand are presented twice both in the logo stamp on the lower right and on the Gymnastics Rings straps.  Both are easily identified.  And this image conveys exactly what we are about.  Building equipment for CrossFit Affiliates.  A great logo stamp can turn a great image into an outstanding image that presents who you are and how to find you.

Keep Your Logo, Your Business Name and What You Do Together in one Image.
These three key aspects will help you present your business the most clearly.  Our logo at the top of the blog is great and there's enough information there for someone to look us up on the web but it only has two out of three of the key points of branding.  Does it tell everyone what we do?  Some might think we're a CrossFit Affiliate.  Equipment is our thing, actually.  So the best way for us to present our brand is in this image just above.  It nails all three.  We use the image at the top as our logo stamp quite often.  It works great for that.

Ok - I told you there are three main aspects to presenting your brand...there are four actually but I didn't want to overload you. :)  As an equipment supplier, our location is not as critical.  We can and have outfitted CrossFit Affiliates all over the US and even Canada.  The fact that we are located in Victor, NY doesn't matter that much to our customers.  Many do like the fact that nearly everything we do is US Made, but just because we're not in their backyard isn't super important.  We can ship anywhere.

For the gym owner, however, location is super important to the business and it's potential customers.  The gym owner spends a ton of time researching location and area.  The right location can mean the difference between flourishing and failing.  So, I'm going to leave you with two final tips to helping you present your brand in the most effective way.

Tip #1 - When you get apparel printed, conspicuously put the name of your town somewhere on it.  Especially if you are printing Hoodies or Hats.  These two items most likely will be worn outside the gym and when your current clients are out and about, not only will people know about +CrossFit Alpha Dog, for instance, but they'll also know that the gym is in Lombard, Illinios.  [By the way - if you need apparel printed, we know some guys :)]

Tip #2 - Hire a professional photographer.  We did.  A few times.  And she was worth every single penny.  Tell them what your objectives are in the photos.  A clear presentation of your brand whenever possible.  Maybe have them come over on a Saturday when you've got one of your biggest classes.  Get everyone wearing your shirts if you've got them.  And if not, remember, logo stamps work great.  And, you don't need to use all the pictures immediately.   Use some for your website and social media home pages and save the others to sporadically post or attach to workout or nutrition blogs that you might post in the future.

Need more tips for running your Affiliate?  Subscribe to our Blog and our YouTube channel for more great stuff to come.

Thanks for reading!