Think about your favorite brands. Since we’re speaking equestrian, we have Ariat, Charles Owen, SmartPak and more. Most consumers are brand loyal to at least one company, and it may not have to do with the product alone. The image created by the company, which is usually a combination of a logo, a well-written and relatable mission statement and the team itself, is what appeals to consumers and may help you transition a casual shopper into a lifelong fan.
Brands are not limited to products alone; one can also build a personal brand to increase notoriety and, of course, business. Whether one is a riding instructor, horse trainer, barn owner, or all of the above, a strong brand will aid in advertising efforts and, if executed correctly, should increase ROI when it comes to spending money on marketing. A great example of this is Sagamore Racing – most people in the equine business know them as a substantial name in the Thoroughbred racing industry. If you Google the business name, you’ll see the snippet under their home page link simply reads, “Our goal is to win the Triple Crown.” Simple as that, right? Sagamore = Success according to their branding. According to Forbes Magazine, “Brands outlive product cycles.”1 Whether or not a Sagamore horse wins the Triple Crown every year, the public will still remember the name as a winning one.
Consumers, in any industry, want to feel good about their purchasing choices and they want to be involved with a brand they can stand behind. The ’why’ is essential, but let’s talk about the ‘how’. Where do you start?
- Company Mission: Writing a mission statement is vital when it comes to developing your business, and this should be done early on in the game. Why do you do what you do? What are your goals and what do you hope to bring to the public eye? If you have a strong mission statement that people can relate to, then you’ll have a much easier time garnering a fan base from the beginning.
- Logo: A logo is what most people think of when it comes to a brand. Outside of the equine world, if you saw a logo with no wording that represents a worldwide company, you would be able to identify exactly what it represented. Think Mickey Mouse ears – we all know that’s Disney. The color scheme goes hand-in-hand with logo design, and colors must be chosen carefully when it comes to brand representation. If you were opening a holistic retreat for women and their horses that involved yoga, meditation, and daily rides, you wouldn’t want to use the overbearing colors of crimson and neon orange – you’d want to go with serene blues and greens. Colors translate into feelings, usually without the viewer even realizing it. You also want to design a logo that can be used as both one and full color, across many mediums. All visual aspects of the brand go in this category – from website to print collateral and beyond.
- Employees and Consumers: If your company has employees, get them to be ambassadors for your brand. People should love their work, and if your employees are working for a brand they support, that’s an honest and easy way of advertising. This goes for the target customer as well. In today’s world of social media, brand ambassadors and influencers are a great tool for promotion. A great example of this is the startup company C4 Belts. They offer applications on their website to become an equine brand ambassador, and they promote you and your equine experience if you promote their product via photos and hashtags on your social media channels. Working with likeminded people will not only increase your brand but will also increase your brand’s credibility.
Still not sure where to start when it comes to building your brand? The experts at Top Line Media Team can take you all the way from logo design to website design and beyond. We are a team of marketing and equestrian professionals who understand the uniqueness of the equine industry. Contact us today to get started!
Daina Behe holds a Master of Science degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from West Virginia University as well as a certificate in User Experience Design, and is well versed in many areas of digital marketing and design. Having been involved in the horse industry for years, she specializes in equine marketing as it brings her passions together. While not working behind a computer, you can find her training her Moriesian horse in the Western Dressage discipline, or teaching riding lessons to young equestrians.