• WELCOME Grumblers
    Backup is now done at 3PM EDT. You may find the server down for up to two minutes at that time.

"Branding" your store

B. Newman

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Someone posted on HH that they were considering a name change and put it this way..

We want to develop a new name/brand for our frame shops.

And I responded...

Creating a "brand" for your shop... That's an interesting concept. I've been reading a lot about "branding" lately. Does anyone else consider their store/shop/gallery a "brand"?

So, what about you all? Are you a "brand" of frame shop? And if so, how do you go about creating that brand?

Sponsor Wanted


PFG, Picture Framing God
We are in the process of changing our name from Tracy Art & Frame to FrameMakers. We are also opening 2 new locations this fall.

Branding is key in 21 century business. Branding can be anything from shop shirts with the company logo, paper inserts in photo frames, to logos in you sales space.

Branding also is about attitude and how you handle day to day tasks such as designing an order. Think of Wal-Mart's door greeters. This is branding as well.

How many times has a client asked for the store name when there writing a check. This is an indication that you brand presence is not very strong. They knew you were a framer but they had already forgoten your store name buy the time they in the store.


PFG, Picture Framing God
We have a professionaly designed logo that we have been using for over 25 years. The logo is a JB with the name of our shop underneath, blue background, white lettering. We have used it on huge, backlit acrylic pole signs, newspaper and television advertising, mailers, business cards, our invoices, even our deposit slips.

It is a great looking logo & the design has been ripped off by other companies. A lot of customers identify us by it & a lot don't. After all these years & all that money, I think all it has realy done is show consistancy. Even if I went back to the old promotions I used to do, I know one thing for sure, my logo will never be recognised like General Electric or Nike.

If you do adopt a logo, the biggest thing you have to stay on top of in your advertising is that darn logo. You will not believe what your advertisers will try to do to it, from changing the colours to even changing the lettering style and the whole design itself. Do not let them get away with even the tiniest change. I have gotten free ads for as small an infraction as their forgetting to put the dot between my first and last name. Our lettering style is a clean modern block lettering. I had one paper take three tries before they could get it right, they started with a western, cowboy looking lettering.

The object is not to get free ads, the object is to try and have the same logo you started out with at the begining of the year and at the end of the year. Even printers will try to change lettering and colours. Stay on top of it if you start using one, or you won't have one for long.

The whole thing about a logo is that when people glance at it, your name will pop into their head. Try glancing at General Electrics logo without thinking about General Electric.

Few of us could ever hope to have that kind of name recognition. I know it would take a lot more money than I'll ever have.



SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
How many times has a client asked for the store name when there writing a check. This is an indication that you brand presence is not very strong. They knew you were a framer but they had already forgoten your store name buy the time they in the store.
Maybe but how many customers forget the date? Does that mean the calender needs better branding?

The King

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Originally posted by FrameMakers:
How many times has a client asked for the store name when there writing a check. This is an indication that you brand presence is not very strong. They knew you were a framer but they had already forgoten your store name buy the time they in the store.
That's interesting, Dave, and it makes sense. People who have been coming in for twenty years sometimes ask for the name before they write the check or they'll write the wrong name. And if they call home from my shop they'll often say something like, "I'm at the frame shop downtown and I need you to measure something."

I'd hate to think of changing the name after 25 years, but maybe I need to do a better job of helping people remember it. Maybe I need to talk to my sister, who's the public-relations director for a small college. Or maybe there's a workshop in Atlanta. Or maybe - heaven forbid! - I need to spend some money! :eek:

Maybe but how many customers forget the date? Does that mean the calender needs better branding?
Come on, Jim - now you're being silly. At least in our part of the world, the calendar has no competition. Maybe it's just the date that needs branding - not the whole calendar. Hardly anybody forgets April 15. ;)

Ron Eggers
The Total Picture

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I think branding is important for all framers -- left cheek, just below the belt line. ;)

But seriously, folks -- brand identification is what sets competing businesses apart from one another.

Strong brand identification is rare in our industry, which may be a remnant of the days when everyone went to the neighborhood frame shop. There was only one, and everybody knew where is was. Today there are six, and each one is distinctly different -- but the typical consumer thinks frame shops are interchangeable.

B. Newman

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
One of the articles I've read recently on branding is called "Microbranding". It's like the local dealer for a major vehicle, or the local store of a major chain. Or even (as I recently told someone) like your local chapter of the PPFA!

But in this article, it talks about the difference between a logo and a brand. They're not exactally the same. The logo is what you see (for instance the Nike swoosh) the brand is what you think (sports for the masses). Or Jaguar (logo) "luxury cars for the few" (brand).

I have a great logo for Newman Valley Studio. It is the N inside a V (Newman in the Valley) and then Studio after it (see www.newmanvalley.com ). The "brand" I hope to convey with this is "top quality craftsmanship". I have used this logo for over 10 years now. It is everywhere! And yeah, John, I've had to fight for it too. But it's paying off. I've had people tell me when they see my brochue or card, "Yeah, I've seen this before." I've always dreamed of "Newman Valley Inc." All my "divisions" under one "roof". (Hey, they're small divisions, but they're mine!



CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
I have a slightly different problem with name recognition. I own THE FRAME SHOP.

How many of us are out there???

I've had a phone call from hundreds of miles away in order to ask if I knew the phone number of another 'The Frame Shop' in a nearby town. I had to explain, "no, we are not a franchise" as I'm courteously looking up the number they want.

On the other hand, I have introduced my self away from the shop and said, Hello, I own The Frame Shop, glad to meet you". The reply was, "oh, what is the name of your shop?'. :eek:

Linda CPF


PFG, Picture Framing God
Have you thought of contacting the other "The Frame Shop" to share marketing ideas or forming a group that could take advantage of a franchises size. Maybe hiring a PR firm to design a marketing campain and brand.


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I have been wondering about names for shops.Mine is a bit of a mouthful to be honest.I can`t get a stamper made up for cheques and I can`t fit it all into the credit card slips on my terminal.And absolutely everybody always asks me who to make cheques out to.I don`t have a logo either.Or a prominent shop front.Or easy parking.I see myself as a fairly traditional type of framer and I really don`t like "quirky" names for shops.Plus all the kind of obvious ones like framemaker etc(no offence)are all in use.

The best name for a shop I remember was a record shop in Loughborough called The Left Legged Pineapple.I wish I had the nerve!


SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
My frame shop hasn't really become a brand, even a micro brand, yet but our photo studio is starting to. Most people know the frame shop as part of the studio and it doesn't matter to me if they write that name on the checks, it all goes to the same place. Since our studio bears our name (LeBouton), it's easy for people to associate it with us. One theory I heard on naming small businesses is to try to use the owners name some how if possible so people associate it with you. This isn't always feasible, especially for someone with a hard to pronounce or unusually last name. (Two photographers I know come to mind, one is named Swiecichowski and the other is Anger, neither of which used their own names for their businesses.) :eek:

Lance E

I'm not sure how it works on average there, using a family name is not the best of ideas when you are trying to build an asset with your business that you would like to sell, a name can definitly be the tripping stone. Effectively we are trying to build a business in a similar manner to the way we build frames, to the best of our ability so as to achieve the best possible price we can from the sale of the item.
When it comes to branding keep in mind that framing (and photography) are service based businesses, you are definitly selling a brand. Creating a brand for your business would most likely start with having a professionally designed logo as a base to work from, then get it on everything you can afford (bags, pens, calendars, clothing for staff...). Using advertising as a reasurance of quality as often as necessary you should be on the way to building a well recognized brand.

B. Newman

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Family/individual names: Mr. J.C. Penny. Mr. Sears and Mr. Roebuck. Bob Goodfriend (Goodys). Eddie Bauer.

A few years ago I started to change the name of my business to B.Newman Studio. I was thinking that "Newmans" could someday be known like Sears or Pennys. I didn't change it because of how difficult it would be (in the beginning) to be listed in the phone book. Would it be under "B" or "N"? If "N", then it would be "Newman, B. Studio", and that would ruin the whole effect.

So my plan is to make "Newman Valley" a brand as well as a place. Make it easy to spell, easy to say, and most of all, easy to remember!

(But not like my friend whose last name was "Bogus". Somehow "Bogus Enterprises" just didn't work out! :eek: )

Framing Goddess

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Reading this thread made me wonder about a few things...

I have not read about "branding" as a concept, yet, but I will. (Note to Betty of Newman Valley: request for reading list, please! :D )

I wonder how branding relates to the products we sell and "manufacture." Do certain shops get a reputation for framing in a ,say, more rustic style while another is known for gold leaf? Sure they do. But most of us "do it all." That is the custom nature of the business. I am thinking of a fine art dealer customer of mine- she has told me about a framemaker in the east who has a one-name thing going- "See this here?" she asks, "this is a Bruno* Frame!" And even without looking at the signature on the back, it is obvious.

My questions are these:

How can we "brand" our look/style/feel without limiting ourselves? This might be easier to do in a multi-location operation. Or would it?

How can we really determine what our "brand" style is? By what we personally like? Or are good at doing? Or what the demand is? (if there is a difference, that is!)

How much attention should we pay to prevailing trends?

Are there any other ways in which "branding" manifests itself in our industry? Or could?

Thanks for the "food for thought," Betty!

Edie the Marketing Goddess

names have been changed to protect somebody somewhere!


PFG, Picture Framing God
using a family name is not the best of ideas when you are trying to build an asset with your business...
Just to be contrary (and aren't you surprised? hehehe) we planned to change Howard's Art & Frame to Hagerstown Art & Frame, but before we bought the business, several folks said things like "You're buying Howard's? I LOVE that store!" so we didn't change it. The best advantage to not changing is gettig to be mean to cold callers, "May I please speak to Mr. Howard?" "I'm sorry, he has been dead for 20 years." My husband Roger answers to either Howard or Mr. Howard. For a while we had a dog named Howard. That was REALLY fun! "Howard can't come to the phone; he is asleep in the office." Folks still talk about Howard's when it was downtown in such a fondly nostalgic way, and we get to bask in that reflected glory, as well as the totally faux "A Hagerstown Tradition Since 1941" cachet.

B. Newman

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Reading list:
May issue INC was the first article I read about it, then it seemed like every other thing I picked up said something about Branding!

July issue The Crafts Report http://www.craftsreport.com/july02/wise2.html
H/P e-mail newsletter http://www.homeandoffice.hp.com/hho/us/eng/brand_identity.html

Microbranding was in a local tabloid put out by First Tennessee Bank called "Business Review" but the article was written by T. Scott Gross http://www.micro-branding.com/

And I understand there's an article in Entrepreneur Magazine, but i haven't read it yet.

It's everywhere!!! Edie, I've printed out your questions. There's some good stuff there. I'll work on it.



SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Branding is such an interesting subject I just had to respond. Being a grumbler in training but having spent most of my life in advertising and marketing prior to this "profit center" - one of my main goals as a new shop owner in a community that is very "community based" was to bring "name recognition" to my store. I have worked on ad campaigns for the "Big co's" like Kodak, Xerox, GM, etc and found that regardless of the logo (or symbol representing their company) the name is what really carries the recognition. Although I must admit when I see a swoosh I do think of Nike!! So.... the bottom line is to advertise, advertise, advertise and constantly reinforce your name in the customer's thoughts.... so that they do remember your name when writing those all-important checks!!!

I want my business to reflect my personality and carry that through many areas of the business... starting with the name: Rozmataz Art & Framing (being a take off on Razzmatazz and all that jazz!) - which gets customers attention! And most give a giggle!! They love the name. And I want them to love my store, my work and my atmosphere so they return again and again and tell everyone they know about "all that jazz"!!! So far - it seems to be working quite well!!


My partner is a graphic artisit who has worked on "Corporate Presence" for many types of industry and when we opened, he developed a logo and ad campaign that has carried through to today.

Will it ever become a Community Icon? Don't know, but our reputation has grown steadily over eight years and our ads, work shirts, aprons, cards, stationary, newsletters, flyers, etc all work together to present our company.

As part of the business plan, our "image" is very important and for anyone in business, it should be given considerable thought and preparation.

The biggest problem is when certian advertising tries to change colors or fonts, so we are ever diligent in watching them!
Sponsor Wanted