We talk about branding a lot here at One Step. I write about it on the blog, Valerie talks about it in her client meetings and customer service is always explaining the concept of branding over the phone. But still, it’s a hard concept to grasp, especially if you aren’t in the marketing industry and don’t think about branding everyday like we do. So whenever possible, I like to share real life examples so you can see, instead of just hear, how important branding is.
Today’s branding example comes from my second home, Kaiser Permanente. My baby boy is five months old and the past year I have spent a SIGNIFICANT amount of time at Kaiser. During all those hours spent in waiting rooms (anyone else have to endure that 3 hour glucose test? Yuck!) I started to notice all the various elements that work together to create the Kaiser brand.
Hear the Brand
Every element of Kaiser’s brand, from the logo to the advertising to the services provided, is developed around its core messaging. A few years ago, that core message was ” Live well. Be well. Thrive.” Now, they’ve shortened it to simply “Thrive.” The word itself shows up in several different interactions such as literature and commercials. But even when the actual word isn’t present, the message is. In everything they do, Kaiser conveys the message that they want their patients to thrive and that they are available to help make that possible.
See the Brand
The visual elements of the brand always convey the message of thriving. As I walked through the halls of the hospital I saw lots of pictures of people smiling, eating healthy, and exercising. In a word, they’re thriving. The rest of the space is generally white, clean and modern so that the attention is always focused on the pictures of the people.
The logo is a huge part of the visual brand and it also conveys the image of thriving.
The logo shows up just about everywhere…on office walls, on the health literature they hand out, on nurses uniforms. With every encounter the patient becomes a little more familiar with it and begins to make connections between that logo and the real life experience they are having with that brand.
Experience the Brand
The biggest misunderstanding people have about brands is that they believe a brand is simply a logo, a color scheme, or a general look that determines how all their marketing pieces will be designed. But a brand is really about reputation. A brand is what people think of or feel when they hear about or come in contact with your company. Most people are familiar with Kaiser Permanente, the logo, the advertisements, the “look.” And yet ask people about their experiences with Kaiser, and you’ll get some radically different responses. It is in those responses that you’ll see the true impact of the brand.
Personally, I’ve had great experiences with Kaiser. The staff is always friendly and knowledgeable. They offered some very helpful parenting classes. My doctors were easily reached via phone or email for questions that were important but didn’t warrant an actual visit. In my experience, thrive isn’t just a slogan that is broadcasted on radio commercials. It’s a mission statement that fuels every action of every staff member.
What do I think of when I hear “Kaiser Permanente”? It’s not the logo or the slogan or the decorations or the buildings. I think of my sweet midwife who regularly reassured me that my weight gain was normal. I think of the nurse who, when I called crying my eyes out and begging for anti nausea meds, very quickly got a prescription from the doctor so I could get the meds that day. I think of that perfect day in August when I got to hold my perfect baby boy after a long labor during which I required a whole team of nurses to get me through.
Three elements: messaging, visual, experience. Having one without the others will create a lopsided experience that won’t fully engage your clientele. Having all three will create a powerful brand that clients repeatedly use and share with others.
*DISCLAIMER- The views of this blog article are the views of the author and not the views of One Step Services or its affiliates. One Step does not endorse Kaiser Permanente nor does One Step officially encourage anyone to use Kaiser’s services. This is simply an article about the impact of corporate branding on one person and is in no way meant to sway one’s decision towards choosing a healthcare provider.
Looking for something to mail in January? Our Olympic Schedule postcards are perfect mailing pieces. They provide interesting information that the recipient will not only read but hold on to for reference. Every time they go to look up an Olympic event, they’ll be reminded of your business.
- Postcard is 8.5×5.5, full color and glossy
- Schedule shows what day each sport is played and when medals are awarded
- There is space for your agent photo, name and contact information
- Print and return is 34 cents each with a 100 postcard minimum
- Print and mailed to a farm is 71 cents each with a 200 minimum
- Print and mailed to a social list is 77 cents each with a 200 minimum
- A $12 design fee applies to all orders
Sending this postcard requires very little effort from you. Simply give us your agent photo and contact information (unless we already have it on file) as well as a list of addresses to mail to and we’ll take care of the rest! Order by January 24th and receive 10% of printing costs. Simply call 949-587-5301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In our last article we talked about building brand recognition. One important way of building brand recognition is to make your brand visible to your target audience over and over and over and over and over again. They need to see your brand in their mailboxes, email inboxes, on their commute to work, in their favorite magazines and on websites they frequently visit. Repeated exposure will turn strangers into prospects, prospects into clients and clients into repeat customers who tell their friends how great your business is.
We know that as a small business owner, you want to increase brand visibility and build brand recognition, but you aren’t sure how. And even if you did know how, where would you find the time? That’s where we come in. We know how to expose your target audience to your brand and we have the tools to do your marketing for you. There are literally hundreds of different ways we can help you, but here are 10 things that highlight our most popular services.
- We can turn your car into a mobile billboard. In Southern California, we spend a lot of time sitting in traffic looking at other people’s cars. Why not capitalize on that? We can create bumper stickers and magnets with your brand and whatever messaging you desire. This type of marketing requires very little effort on your part and can last for quite a while without needing to be updated. The next time someone sits next to you in traffic, they’ll be exposed to your brand. They might even use their hands free set to call you right then and find out more about your business.
- We can bring customers in your door with coupons. How many times have you tried a new restaurant, or Very few things will get new clients in your doors faster than a discount. Our graphic designers at One Step can create branded mailers with detachable coupons, print them and send them to a list of addresses that you provide.
- We can direct people to your business with signage. Yes you need signs for your storefront, but think bigger than that. How about putting a sign on a busy intersection by your place of business? There is a cupcake bakery tucked away in a business park near our office. We wouldn’t even know that it existed if the owners didn’t put signs on the corners of a busy intersection nearby. You may also need signs for trade shows, open houses, farmers markets, community events, and point of sale. Just tell us what you want to use your signs for and we’ll suggest the best size, material and mounting style.
- We can create print ready advertising. Are you looking to build brand recognition by advertising in magazines or newspapers? Simply send us the ad specs (the publication can provide that to you) and we’ll create an ad to match those specs. We can even email it to the publication for you if you’d like. We are also able to create some digital ads as well, just let us know what you need and we’ll do our best to accommodate.
- We can bring people to your next event with email invitations. Are you having an open house this weekend? Is there a week long sale going on at your retail store? Share this news with past and potential clients through a mass email, also known as an eblast. We can design one and send it on your behalf. Once it is sent, we can provide you with information about who opened the email so you can follow up.
- We can build your contact list with return reply flyers. Do you like the idea of sending out eblasts but don’t know who you would send it to? Collect email address and other contact information from prospective clients by mailing a return reply flyer. A return reply flyer has a detachable form that people can fill out and return to you. Usually there is some incentive for them to do this, like a contest or free product. Have a space on the form for email and viola, you’ve started a list of people interested in your business who would appreciate receiving your branded marketing emails.
- We can keep you at top of mind with presentation packets. Are you meeting with retail stores to convince them to sell your product? Are you running a home improvement business that frequently gives estimates to potential clients? Are you introducing your business at a conference or tradeshow? When you’re competing for someone’s business it’s important to stay top of mind. Putting your proposals on branded letterhead, having a full color brochure that highlights your best features, and having a uniquely designed business card will help those potential clients remember who you are and why they want to work with you. We can create all these for you, as well as a branded presentation folder to keep everything in.
- We can create repeat exposure with events schedules. The point of all these marketing tactics is to expose your brand to people over and over again. What better way to gain repeat exposure than by giving people something they’ll keep on their fridge and reference over and over again? We routinely compile baseball, football, Olympic, and holiday events schedules. You can put a schedule on the back of a postcard that bears your company brand. People will routinely reference the postcard throughout the season and each time they do, they’ll be reminded to do business with you.
Need help with something that’s not on the list? No problem. Call us at 949-587-5301 or email email@example.com and we’ll make it happen.