Branding…we all hear this term frequently and think we know what it means, but how EXACTLY does it apply to you and your bike shop…and why is it important?
As much as we all like to think our customers are loyal to our brand, chances are that many casual shoppers don’t even know the name of your shop. That’s right…they could be anywhere.
I often run across shop logos that were created by an employee or old buddy who wasn’t really trained to be a designer. If this is the case, it’s WELL worth your moneyto hire a professional graphic designer to update your logo (shouldn’t be more than several hundred dollars). Get out of the 80’s and build a strong brand personality that you can be proud of! Your customers will remember that, and it will pay for itself in no time at all. A designer can also go further in protecting your brand by creating a Brand Guide that sets up guidelines for the consistent use of your logo, typefaces, and colors for everything relating to your business.
Once you have your brand guide in place, it’s so important to be consistent with your brand colors, logo and presentation in all aspects of your retail environment. This includes all interior and exterior signs, all sales materials like hang tags and pricing systems, all branded merchandise like shop kits and t-shirts, all marketing materials like business cards, event tents and mailers, and everywhere your business lives on the internet like social media, email blasts and your website. Get the idea? Key words: ALL. EVERY. EVERYTHING. Branding is consistency.
Slowly but surely, your customers start to catch on and actually remember your name when searching for something they need.
So step back and ask yourself what kind of an impression you’re making on a new customer entering your store for the first time. Do you have your logo prominently displayed throughout the store in a clean, professional manner?
After you have your brand consistently applied across all media, you can look for some more creative ways to get your brand noticed, and it can pay off big-time. Many shops have huge success hosting fun themed group rides, a bike scavenger hunt, or a community fundraiser– whatever fits your store’s personality. And that branded water cooler or bike tool kit at the trailhead with your logo on it can help establish a powerful store-customer connection. Just make sure they know what store you are!