April 3, 2024
What’s the secret to great dog training business branding?

dog wearing glasses and hoodie looking at laptop computer; blog post on business branding

It’s often quoted that a person needs to see an advertisement a minimum of 6-8 times before they act on it. But this statistic was put forward by the film industry in the 1930’s, when people were only exposed to ads in very limited specific contexts. Just think about how many ads people saw daily then and how that compares to our exposure today! 

You might be wondering how this applies to you, especially if you don’t run ads. Well, the principle is important: people need to be exposed to your “stuff” — and recognize that it’s from you — many, many times before the information you’re trying to convey sticks in their brains. 

Brand recognition is simple classical conditioning. Think about how you teach a puppy a cue. It takes multiple reps to build the association between cue–behavior, before they hear “sit” and automatically plant the butt.

Your branding is the “cue,” and that link between your brand, your message and your business needs to be repeated again, and again and again… in lots of different contexts and formats so the classical conditioning can really take hold. 

You want people to see your branding and automatically think of you and your business

And the only way to get that happening is if people can recognize that this FB post, that Instagram story, and the other YouTube video they’ve seen over the last few days all come from the same person: you.

Sensibly, we teach puppies cues in quiet situations where there’s very little competition for their attention — but we don’t have that luxury when it comes to making our brand messages sticky. People are constantly bombarded with attention-grabbing noise. It’s inescapable! 

So how do we get those links into our prospective customers’ brains?

Consistency in branding is the key

Being consistent in training is pretty easy. You make sure you always give your cue in exactly the same way. Brand consistency is similar — it just has a few more components to consider.

(Note: If you’re not quite sure what I mean by “branding” other than your logo, check out the dog trainers guide to branding.

Basically, your brand consists of your: 

  • logo
  • colors
  • fonts 
  • image style

It can also include your: 

  • tone of voice
  • phrasing you habitually use 
  • topics you often reference

Less obvious parts of your brand might include:

  • images of your dog 
  • your own face
  • specific music or theme tunes
  • video intros
  • stylized graphic elements

In a nutshell, any element that is unique to you and is used repeatedly in your messaging can become part of your brand.

Why brand consistency is vital for your success

Every bit of marketing you put out needs to be instantly recognizable as yours. That can take a bit of thought and planning but it’s well worth the effort for the increase in traction it’ll give you. 

If you’ve found yourself constantly churning out social media marketing and it’s not getting you any results, checking your branding consistency is a great place to start troubleshooting.

So, let’s look at some branding consistency in the wild so you can see what I mean.

Headspace

Headspace is a meditation and mindfulness app. 

This is their Instagram feed:

And their FB photo gallery:

And finally, their FB video thumbnails:

You can clearly see how the style is the same, even when the images are different. Headspace has an instantly recognizable visual brand using bright colors and playful, almost childlike imagery. Once you’re familiar with their branding you’ll recognize it wherever you see it.

Laura Belgray

Laura is a copywriter and author who’s the mastermind behind Talking Shrimp copywriting. She has a very distinctive brand image — purposefully retro and irreverent, she talks about being lazy, life in New York and being in control of her time.

Here’s some images from her Instagram grid:

And from her website:

Apart from the usual components of color and font, Laura also uses her face and the aesthetic of each image to make them uniquely hers. 

Chobani

Chobani is an Australian food and drink company that has included “social impact” and “sustainability’ as major parts of their brand identity. Their tagline is “Better food for more people.”

The images in their Instagram feed strongly reflect these values in their style, composition, and subject matter.

You get a very similar vibe from their website imagery – it’s hard to define but clearly on brand. Chobani is a great example of a business with a clear brand personality

How to create brand consistency

Now you’ve seen some great examples of brand consistency, you may be thinking “Well. That’s all fine and dandy, but how do I do it?

We talked about how to create a unique brand for your business in this blog, but let me now introduce you to the style tile.

What the heck is a style tile? A style tile is a document — usually only one page — where you keep details of your brand’s styles. It can be as simple or detailed as you need, but it’ll usually include things like your colors (with their hex and print codes), your fonts (including the sizes and colors for different headings), your logo in its different permutations, and any patterns you routinely use.

Here are some examples:


The Click & Repeat style tile above includes website elements such as button styles, the favicon icon, and the background pattern repeat. You don’t have to go into that much detail, but it could save you untold headaches in the future if you do!

If you hire someone else to do your social media or work on your website, you absolutely need a way of keeping everything on brand and consistent. A style tile like these could be the difference between your marketing working for you — or it just adding to the online noise.

You can use Canva to create one of these. And even better, if you have a paid Canva account you have access to Canva’s Brand Hub to help you maintain consistency.

Tips for creating images that stay on brand

When you’re thinking about creating images for your marketing it pays to be prepared up front. If you can, have some clothes in your brand colors. Maybe invest in a collar and leash in your colors too.

Once you have some on-brand props, think about the style and “feel” of the images you want to use. 

How do you want them framed? Cropped? Tinted? Can you include graphic elements? Apply photo effects? Or routinely include your dog? Maybe you want to use a blend of realism and art? Or have every picture in black and white? How about removing the backgrounds so the subject really pops from the frame?

You can always edit photos if you need to (and learn a new skill in the process!). There are plenty of online photo-editing apps available for you to test out — and you can also check out our guides to taking and editing better photos with your phone.

But whatever you decide, try to stick with it to avoid creating a mishmash of random images, none of which are recognizable as you.

Now you understand the importance of brand consistency; go get creative and have some fun!

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