Watch almost any romantic comedy, and you’ll find the root of the plot comes down to unclear communication.
The same idea applies with branding. If it’s not clear, people won’t know what your studio stands for. Branding is essential to your business.
“It is the main way you communicate with the general public — your clients, your staff and even those people who don’t know you yet,” said Katherine White, the manager at YogaBalance Studio in Manchester, New Hampshire. “Branding helps to increase recognition of your business and can help to create a community, a tribe, something to which your clients and staff can feel like they belong. When done well, branding is key in attracting new clients, building recognition and creating trust.”
But correct and successful branding doesn’t just happen. White said when the studio came under new ownership in 2008, the logo was recreated. And it’s now the jumping off point for all of their design — website, studio brochures, signage, free pens, etc. “We reinforce our brand whenever we are doing any marketing or promotion,” said White.
Teachers are even provided free YogaBalance shirts they wear when teaching off-site, which is another marketing tool the studio uses.
Yoga Studio Satya’s owners, Amanda Neufeld and Colten Peed, also make sure to build brand awareness. Whenever they are out in the local community of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Neufeld said they use the studio’s slogan, “Be You.”
“When we go out into the community, we really try to represent truth,” said Nuefeld. “What is it you’re looking to represent? What do you offer? I think it can be important in that sense to be able to show what is your flavor, what is your style.”
And your message doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, Tiffany Reaves, the director of marketing at Studio South in Williamsburg, Virginia, said good branding shows up in subtle ways. Examples include using a logo sticker over tissue paper for retail purchases, personalized emails and social media posts. Ultimately, the idea is to create an experience for members at every opportunity.
When Studio South expanded in the third year of the business, Reaves said it was a natural progression to rebrand. “At that time, we dropped the old logo — yet kept the color palette and tagline to retain brand equity,” she said. “Often the best place to start when looking at rebranding or initial branding is to gather examples online … Tricks of the trade, check out marketing companies. It’s a totally different industry, but they have highly trained writers and brand folks. Notice how true experts position themselves, their word choice, implementation, etc.”
Your brand should also create a good gut feeling, shared Reaves. She said yes, it needs to be something you’re proud of, but it also needs to illicit positive reactions. “Since brands are entirely conceptual notions that live in the brain, just like any other stimuli, the head is trying to form an opinion about it,” she added.
It is also important to realize your brand can’t say everything because you can’t do everything. Neufeld said when they first opened, they offered quite a variety of yoga. However, due to a past car accident, she wasn’t practicing a number of their offerings. And neither was Peed. So, they realized they needed to be who they were and offer less variety. “Everything started to just fall into place versus us trying to force something that didn’t feel natural,” she said.
In fact, White said there is no such thing as too much branding. But first, you have to establish your brand in order to get that clear message.
“You have to know who you are as a business and also who your clients are,” said White. “Keep it simple. Have one clear message and repeat, repeat, repeat. Don’t get involved in things that are ‘trendy’ just because they are the latest thing. Fads come and go, but what you align yourself with says a lot about you and is hard to ‘un-say.’”
So, Reaves said you need to decide on your brand essence, whether by yourself or with your business partner. Having such an intimate team on the decision will help you devise a clear logo, personality and likeness. From there, your brand will be clear and your communication true.
“There’s no right or wrong, as long as you circle back to your essence and use it as true north,” said Reaves.