[ CASE STUDY ] Why Brand Consistency Is Important For Your Business
Business Owners sit up and listen, this post is for you! We're talking BRAND today!
Today, at Inspiring Mums®, it is all about marketing and advertising for my client Shooting Stars Early Learning Centre. Before joining SS as their Business & Marketing Consultant they were in dire need of a good brand to really boost their business and restore community trust following the poor reputation created by the previous owners.
When you think of your Brand I want you to think of what it covers, including:
- Written Content
- Website & Social Media
- Photography & Graphics
- Products & Services
- Public Relations
- Media exposure
I see a lot of dribble out there by business owners who don't understand the VALUE and IMPACT their brand can have on their bottomline. I can't stress enough that your brand is the vehicle to getting your business seen and heard positively by your audience.
I agree your business is NOT your LOGO. But your BRAND helps to COMMUNICATE your message to the audience. As mentioned above, it includes so many aspects of your business, it isn't defined by a logo on its own.
Now, let's have a look at Shooting Stars Early Learning Centre as a case study to see how the change in their brand has improved their business activity and more importantly....their BOTTOMLINE $! KA-CHING!
CLIENT CASE STUDY
Shooting Stars Early Learning Centre, Cranbourne North
Inspiring Mums® Started: 28 February 2014 - current client
Let's start with the logo...
They were using 3 different images for a logo and various different fonts. Let's look at some of the issues identified and why the logo needed to be changed ASAP!
- No consistency!
- Poor quality clipart images used!
- Very confusing for the audience!
- Nothing to link the business directly!
- While the client liked the star with the children, I felt it was very dated and we needed to move away from what they were doing, because it just wasn't working for them since October 2013.
- The world with the kids around it was inconsistent with the business service offering, it is not a global business, it is a local, family fun business.
- Then there is the star on its own, that really just related to the name as was inconsistent with everything else.
On further digging around, I discovered:
- There were no staff uniforms and nothing to identify staff from visitors
- The centre needed some TLC overall - painting, cleaning, fixing, reorganising
- The Signage was all different A-Frame, Front Signage and Road Side signage
- Vehicle advertising was hard to read and just a website
- Photos of the centre and children were of low standard, poor lighting, not capturing the real essence of fun, activity and care at the centre.
- There were the parenting booklets required updating
- There were no brochures and the advertising flyers were of sub standard not attacking the core benefits for the families reading.
- No Business stationery or business cards
- Very limited marketing and advertising activities
- Social media presence wasn't being updated enough, little interaction, not using the system to engage with families "their audience".
- The website was dull and lacked important elements.
- No Newsletter to speak of, in print or online. No way of capturing important contact details like email addresses.
What we did to refresh the brand...
- Kept the business name for a number of reasons, we felt it was a good name and people knew the centre, even if we had to do some damage control for the reputation, we felt it was a good name.
- We changed the colours to 4 key colours Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black. This way we could use one colour printing process for materials if needed to keep the costs down, they are bright and consistent with early learning colours used in the industry.
- We designed a new fresh, colourful and more modern logo still incorporating the stars using the new colours. We used fonts that give it that early learning softer appeal and readability in a dynamic way.
- We added some elements that highlighted the Early Learning in the form of coloured circles and block lines which come off the sides of the documents, shown here in the business stationery example to the right. These could be changed with icons like pencils, love hearts, houses.
- Staff needed uniforms, so we made this a priority, to help identify staff from visitors is important to the safety of concerns of families at the centre.
- The photography, really needed some help, the flat, lifeless photos on the website and on Facebook really needed to be updated. We wanted to be able to use our own photos on marketing materials to give it that personal touch, rather than stock images from a photo library. So I rolled up my sleeves, tapped into my previous experience as an editorial photographer for magazines and took some great shots (see slideshow below) Also see my blog on "7 Reasons Why You Need A Professional Photographer"
- Having the road side signage vandalised was a blow to the business. But a local business sponsor came to the rescue LJ HOOKER CRANBOURNE had another sign printed and set up to replace it. HOWEVER, just 3 days after the NEW sign was put up, it too was vandalised in a targeted attack. The owners were not happy (nor was I!!) So again, I rolled up my sleeves and cleaned the sign, good as NEW!
What we did to BOOST BUSINESS and get families through the door and more bookings!
- Organised a Family Fun Open Day Event at the centre to improve the centre's reputation, get families to visit the facilities and register their children into care.
- 3SER Casey Radio 1 hour Interview with Deputy Mayor Cr Amanda Stapledon on "Women of Today"
- Started up a eNewsletter and introduced eStatements
- Introduced a "Refer a Friend" Promotion for current families to receive a $50 credit on their account for any confirmed registrations.
- New Flyer design and letterbox drop in a new location, which has seen positive enquiries from families in the area.
- Sponsorship with AFL local football club
- Newspaper advertising
- Website updated to reflect new brand and images
- Updated engagement in social media on Facebook which has been very positive increasing likes and interaction! (see graphic)
With more marketing activities to take place in the coming months!
If you'd like to know more about how Shooting Stars Early Learning Centre can help your family with long day childcare and early learning please give them a call on (03) 5995 7084 or visit their website at www.shootingstarselc.com.au - Tell them Heather James sent you!
Proof is in the numbers...
At the end of the day, when all is said any done, how has a new brand and marketing activities actually increased the business bottomline? In the case of Shooting Stars we had a set target for numbers to reach by June 2014, we knew it would be a challenge and much needed to be done to make it happen. But by MAY they reached their first target which they really needed. It was critical. We are now heavily focused on the next Target which we expect to reach in a few months with more marketing and advertising activities and other business improvements.
It's not the end of the road for them, they have momentum and it is really up to them to keep that going. With my help, they will meet their next target and reach their ultimate target of a waitlist for the centre. That's when we know, they will have continuous turnover year after year.
As you can see from the before and after examples, branding consistency IS VERY important to your business, from the way you are seen by your audience to the most important aspect.... the BOTTOMLINE $$$!
I hope this blog has helped you to identify areas in your branding and business that may need refinement to really get the most out of your business and brand. If you are ready to TAKE ACTION! and work with someone like myself, who can help you from start to finish, then comment below, contact me via our website or give me a buzz on 0416 298 942 and we can tailor a package to suit your specific business/brand needs.