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A Purveyor of Pre-Packaged Trademarks With Powerful Branding

Susan Murphy, president of marketing firm CirclerBrands sat down with Blue MauMau to enjoy a virtual cup of coffee in the cyber world and to discuss a novel marketing concept of creating pre-fabricated brands. Yes. You heard that right. CirclerBrands creates and trademarks comprehensive brand identity packages in advance of any client initiative. 

BMM: Your website speaks of a company that creates pre-packaged brands that propagate a powerful message that is positively memorable. That’s p-p-perfect.  But pre-packaged? What’s that all about, Susan?

Murphy: We are passionate brand architects that have reverse-engineered the standard approach of branding by creating and trademarking brand identity packages in advance of any client initiative. Pre-packaged properties include registered brand names and taglines (by way of licensees), logos, global toll-free vanity numbers, Internet domains and corresponding marketing strategies.

CirclerBrands’ ready-made pre-packaged brand identities offer one-stop shopping for franchise startups and those wanting to jump-start new projects. They are ideal for franchises seeking to rebrand or reposition their company. All a franchisor has to do is plug their infrastructure into one of our brand packages and they’re ready to hit the ground branding.

For example, Forbes recently released a study that identified the ten most profitable businesses to start in 2008, wherein accounting services trumped all. It makes sense that a promising accounting startup will need a brand message that’s right on the money. Ahead of the curve, we pre-packaged and trademarked the brand name/tagline “WE Do the Math” together with a toll-free vanity number 1-800-CPA-MATH and matching domains, to catapult a progressive accounting franchise into a household name. While creating a brand without a client is out of the ordinary, connecting a firm with a culturally resonant catchphrase like “do the math” is unheard of, and a golden opportunity to making the WE Do the Math brand stand out and instantly gain an equity position in the minds of the firm’s target audience.

The WE Do the Math brand name/tagline is a declaration of accountability that instantly communicates the nature of the profession while conveying promise, personality and performance – a distinction that is sorely lacking in the brand messages of most accounting firms. When you consider the role that consumers play as brand ambassadors today, incorporating a brand name/tagline that the public is predisposed to promote is a huge advantage.

BMM: My CPA had better be able to do the math. What’s in a name? Wouldn’t a valued business by any other name smell as sweet to a customer?

Murphy: There’s no better way to begin the journey of a promising enterprise of any kind than by choosing a powerfully compelling name and brand identity for a company. Naming is the first public act of branding and never before has so much been required from a single word or phrase. 

There are a few things to keep in mind when crafting a sustainable name that can be leveraged well into the future. Is your name:

  1. Easy to spell, easy to say; pleasing to the ear? Is it strategic in sight and sound?
  2. Memorable? Does it stand out from others in the same market?
  3. Evocative of a core benefit or positioning? Does it tell a story, conjure an image or make a promise? Such is the Holy Grail of naming: make an emotional connection and begin the branding process in the consumers mind simply by way of your name.
  4. Available? In your state, the U.S., globally and in some logical form as a dotcom?
  5. Ownable? Can it be registered and protected as a trademark? Trademarks are the fingerprints of commerce.
  6. Extensible? Can it evolve to accommodate potential growth and expansion?

Bottom Line: a great name saves you money and makes you money. And while there is a cost to hiring a professional to name your business, bear in mind the only thing more expensive than hiring a professional for your brand identity is hiring an amateur.

If you’re too far down the branding path to change your name but want to tweak or seal your positioning in the consumer’s mind, an engaging tagline can serve as an emotional hook of a promise for a brand, an abbreviated mission statement, or a point of difference in the marketplace. Last but not least, don’t forget about projecting your image through a professional logo. A logo is your company’s “coat of arms”: a "visual" expression of a franchise’s credibility. An effective logo is instrumental in portraying the image, character and objective of the company.

BMM: Are you using off-the-shelf names for new franchisors? Doesn't that skip the process of self-inspection through asking, “Who am I”?

Murphy: Our pre-packaged brand identities are all one-of-a-kind; hence, they are not for everyone. If a prospective client doesn’t see a “fit” for their brand concept in our existing portfolio we can custom tailor a brand identity. Our strength is in creating a brand identity that helps consumers see your franchise’s value in an instant. By the way, that’s all the time you get to make a vital impression in the age of the overloaded consumer. Naming requires an understanding of your business (service/products), your core competencies, your competition and your target audience, for starters. It’s not enough to know what you do, we, and your target market, need to know what you do different or unusually well.

BMM: The main readers of Blue MauMau are owner-operators who already have trademarks and major marketing initiatives developed for them from the franchisor. What sort of suggestions would you have to increase the marketing efforts of these small business owners in their neighborhoods?

Murphy: The advantage of being a franchisee is that the operator is in business for themselves but not by themselves. While the franchisor's main concern may be keeping all marketing in line with corporate branding, there are often a number of opportunities for franchise owners to deliver a relevant community message and market themselves at the local level.

The best ways to build local brand awareness and emotionally connect customers to a brand is for franchisees to get involved in their community. There are a number of ways to do this, all of which entail determining your personal and professional strengths. There are professional associations and networking groups that offer countless opportunities to connect in every neighborhood. Word of mouth is some of your best advertising at this level. You may also establish a philanthropic position that is aligned with your beliefs and the needs of your community. This, too, imparts goodwill and community spirit on behalf of your franchise.

If you’re considered an “expert” in your chosen field, we always recommend positioning yourself within the community for interview opportunities on related news items and public speaking engagements. And, of course, public relations activities (promotions and special events) can garner community support. You'll want to build a local media contact list and send out (and follow up) press releases when a newsworthy occasion arises. These are all great ways to engage your community while increasing traffic and sales.

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Don Sniegowski is editor of Blue MauMau, the daily news journal for franchise & small business owners. Call him at +1 (270) 321-1268, tweet @bluemaumau or email don@bluemaumau.org.