Tag Archives: Branding

How Should I Brand My Rural Clothing Store?

I am writing a business plan to seek financing to open a family clothing store in rural north central Idaho the nearest department store is 70 miles away. Most of my inventory will come in as department store overstocks..think ross, marshall, and tj maxx as the concept. We will also carry domestics and will phase in cottage industies (artisans) to attract the tourism and seasonal customers. The area is low/moderate income and I will be selling at discount but I do not really want to have an image that is really low end… would it be a mistake to brand our store around the discounts or should we go ahead and capitalize on the discount image?


It seems to me that you want to position yourself as the nearby shopping choice. You don’t need to mention price at all – that’s a given that people will care. Instead, focus on serving the community itself.

Create “We have what you need” type tagline. Because of your demographic, that’ll determine what you sell and for how much. Stress convenience. Stress saving time & gas. Stress that you hire locally and give back to the community.

If there’s no competition right now, position yourself not only as the only choice, but also the smarter choice.

If your community’s demographic should change, your store’s image/inventory can change with it seamlessly.

What Are The Elements Of A Brand Obituary?

I am supposed to write brand obituaries for 3 brands. Now, what should I include in the brand obituary? Some of the things that come to my mind are:

  • Why did the brand die?
  • What mistakes were made?
  • What opportunities were lost?

What else can I include? Any suggestions?


  • How would it be remembered (what would customers say it was good at)?
  • How long was the death struggle?
  • An epitaph
  • When was it born?
  • Next of kin? (Subsidiaries, C-level execs, former execs)
  • Products & services offered throughout its history
  • Parents? (Founders)

How Can I Brand Myself?

My niche is self-development / law of attraction and the best I’ve come up with so far is “The Self-Dev Junkie” and “Your Universal Healer”)

I consider my unique talents to be: excellent customer service, creates products that make a difference, strong passion to help others achieve, and friendly, willing to help.


Are you a coach? Seminar leader? Spiritual Leader?

Before you focus on the branding, tagline, etc. you need to focus on your strategy.

Answer the following questions to start on your strategic plan:

Who is your ideal client? What problem do you solve for them? How do you solve their problem? Why are you the best for solving it?

The rest will flow from your strategy.

Marketing 103: Branding

(Prerequisite: Marketing 102: Co-marketing and Cross-marketing)

“Branding” is providing a consistent message to your customers. It’s rooted in the combination of your core values and your strategic plan for your company (think of it as your “business persona”). Every time you have an interaction with your (prospective) customers you want to reinforce your brand (by phone, in person, via email, on website, or print). You’re sending a consistent message of why someone would choose to do business with you.

Here are key points I focus on when I create (or review) marketing materials. Each of the points has implications in crafting the branding message.

  1. What are your core values? Your core values identify you to the world, and include: collaboration, cost-sensitivity, diversity, education, efficiency, excellence, flexibility, fun, holistic, innovative, preventive, service, social responsibility, sustainability, and teamwork). There are no right or wrong values – but they must “fit” your business.
  2. What makes you different? Knowing your competition is important to make sure you don’t fall into a “me-too” message. Your materials need to make you stand out.
  3. What’s your plan for 2+ years? Are you planning to focus on one aspect of your business? Planning to change direction or grow? Your marketing materials can help you make the transition smoothly.
  4. Who will be getting this document? Different audiences have different informational needs. The benefit to your services would be different for a potential customer than an investor.
  5. How will the document be delivered? If you’re mailing the material, besides optimizing its size / weight (to save mailing costs), you’ll want to design it so it will be read (and not deemed “junk mail”). If you’re emailing it, you’ll want to likewise ensure it’s not labelled “spam” as well as making it easy for people to read it (plain text, a downloadable PDF, a link to a web page, etc.).
  6. What’s the purpose of the document? Besides Marketing 101 information, you need a “call to action” – a reason for someone to contact you NOW. How you convey your benefits depends on the main purpose of the document: educating (about a problem they didn’t know about), convincing (why you’re the best), enumerating (all the different things you can do), or swaying (from a preconceived notion). Often people try to make one marketing piece “do it all” (very tempting, especially when you’re spending a lot of money on a project).
  7. What other materials do you provide? Your materials should have a consistent look (except during a business makeover) and tone (that reflect your core values).
  8. What are the demographics of your customers? Older people have an easier time reading bigger fonts. Younger people might prefer something “hip”. Men and women process text differently. Different cultures have certain color / graphic taboos.
  9. Will you be excerpting any of this material for use in another format? If so, you’ll want to ensure that your graphics and fonts can work across the formats (for example, you want high-quality graphics for print, but lower-quality graphics for quick-loading web pages).
  10. Have you “tested” the material (or previous materials)? Remember you’re trying to create a dialogue with your customers – you need to listen to what people think to make sure what you’re saying is what they are hearing. You want to attract the right customers.
  11. How will you measure the effectiveness? You need to determine your “ROI” (return on investment).
  12. How often will the same people be receiving it? Will you be rotating a message / offer or sending the same message?

Marketing: Practice What You Preach

Preacher BoyWhen I meet a professional for the first time, I want to know if they practice what they preach. It’s too easy to tell others to do something. I’m looking for a disconnect between someone’s image and actions.

If there is a discrepancy, I question them to find out more. People will either respond sheepishly “Yeah, I know” or be stunned to think that their image matters. Perhaps I’m more sensitive to this than others, but I want to work with people who are self-aware. I’m not expecting people to be perfect – I just want to ensure they personally know of what they speak.

Marketing is all about a consistent message. How do you answer the phone? How do you respond to emails? What does your website look like? Your brochures? How do you introduce yourself?

When you meet a website designer for the first time… check out their website.

When you meet a search engine optimizer… see how easily you can find their website.

When you meet a graphics designer… inspect their business card.

When you meet a business coach… see how well they listen.

When you meet a marketing person… see how they explain what they do.

When you meet a body worker… see how relaxed they are in their body.

When you meet a realtor… see if they own their own home.

When you meet a teacher… see if they regularly take classes.

When you meet a investor… see if they are personally successful.

When you meet a photographer… see what their picture looks like.

When you meet a customer service professional… see if they use their own products.

When you meet a publisher… see if they wrote a book.

When you meet a gardener… see what their garden looks like.

Next month, I’ll discuss how consistency is important to build your company’s “branding”.