Get in front of your customers, and your competition, by branding your lab with unforgettable words and graphics that establish your reputation’s expectations.

Branding lets customers identify your lab in an instant with just a few words or a slogan. Think, “Finger Lickin’ Good” from KFC, “I’m Lovin’ It” from McDonald’s, and “Taste the Rainbow” from Skittles. Without a branding strategy, it’s easy for your lab to get lost in the shuffle.

Lead with your brand so it instantly comes to mind when people think of your lab. With few words or possibly even just a graphic (think Nike’s swoosh) you can get your point across and put your lab in control. Here’s how.

Our brand at i-see Optical Lab in Blackwood, NJ, is “Your Trusted Local Optical Lab.” Accounts immediately know that i-see Optical is in their neighborhood, and the trust is more than implied, it’s stated. Current as well as prospective customers know what to expect when working with “Your Trusted Optical Lab.” In this way i-see Optical zeroes in on accounts specifically within the local tri-state area.

Branding is your way of setting a precedent on expectations and taking control of what accounts might otherwise assume. FEA Industries, Inc.’s Bill Heffner talks about his lab’s brand as “Focused on Technology.” This slogan lets their accounts know that they are dedicated to using technology to push the envelope in providing the best quality and innovation available at that moment.

“We did the opposite of what everyone else was doing,” Heffner said about FEA’s branding strategy. “In an industry like ours, where consolidation seems to happen more and more every day, being different is the only way to get noticed. In many of the major logos and branding, you see the same thing regardless of what company creates it — safe, corporate and probably with an eyeball in it somewhere. We wanted to shake this up but also establish some brand guidelines in order to communicate a consistent message.”

One way FEA has differentiated itself was by creating its own magazine. (See “‘Opt’ Out” May 2016 OLP.)

“Providing Patients With the Best Vision Possible” is how Greg Ruden describes Expert Optics in Shorewood, IL. When branding your lab, Ruden explains that you want to specify what makes you different and why accounts should use your lab instead of a competitor.

After creating your brand comes the next most important step, getting your brand out there . . . and keeping it out there. Both Expert Optics and i-see Optical go about accomplishing this in the same way, using their skilled sales consultants to go out and convey their message to prospective accounts and to reassure current customers what they stand for. “Our sales reps go out there and keep our brand relevant,” said Ruden. “Along with that we host webinars that go along with our brand.”

In addition, i-see Optical Lab has a large social media presence that it relies on to convey its brand to a wide audience. Rebeca Nicole, account relations for i-see Optical Lab, explained further, “We make sure that everything we put on social media goes along with our brand of being ‘Your Trusted Local Optical Lab.’ Always letting our customers know we are there for them with whatever they need and that they know they can trust us is a part of who we are; it’s our brand.” Along with social media, i-see Optical also makes sure its branding is on all material it sends or gives out.

FEA’s approach “in order to ensure the brand is known” said Heffner, is “we adopted a consistency in our presentation. Branding standards and guidelines help give us this consistent approach across multiple platforms. That helps to ensure that if someone finds us online, in a magazine or from regular mail, they see the same branding and imagery and get the same message.”

You want to live and breathe your brand and make sure your sales consultants are relaying that to your customers and prospective accounts. When you look at Expert Optics’ website, the brand is the first thing you see on the homepage, and the company also makes sure the brand is also on all the marketing items that go out.

Your brand sets expectations. It is how you want to be recognized by your current accounts and prospective customers, so start thinking about it, develop it and spread the word any way you can.

Jaimee Palkovicz is marketing coordinator of i-see Optical Lab in Blackwood, NJ. Her “I-Catching Lifestyle” blog is updated every Tuesday and Friday.


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