Branding for the military is a special task and requires special skills. Let’s talk about that here. There are few occupations with more ideas, symbols, and stereotypes attached to them than being in the military. People tend to have very strong feelings about the military and everything associated with it.
For many people, the very idea of military service raises feelings of strong patriotism. It calls up images of bravery and courage, and of sacrifice and honor.
Any company that hopes to do business in the military sector – or any military organization that wants to be recognized as such – must find a balance between people’s expectations and carving out a unique place for themselves in the minds of the public.
Military Logo Design Considerations
The first thing you need to think about when branding your military organization or business is what you will use as your logo. Every industry has its standard iconography, but the military presents some special challenges in logo design.
Prohibitions on Using Government Icons and Symbols
As a military company, you probably want to do everything you can to link your company and its products or services to the military, However, there are some constraints that you need to know about.
For example, any organization outside of the United States government is prohibited from using the icons, symbols, and other recognizable markers as part of their logo and marketing.
In other words, you can use an eagle in your logo, but it must be an eagle that is unique and recognizably different from any of the eagles that appear on United States money, military crests, and government seals.
You may suggest the idea of a government agency or unit but never appropriate anything from that entity’s logo for your own.
How to Convey Patriotism and Honor with Your Logo
Any company that is affiliated with the military or providing services to it must convey the particular qualities that are most associated with the military.
Two of the most important are patriotism and honor. Let’s look at each one.
To convey patriotism, many companies choose the colors red, white, and blue as a reminder of the colors of the American flag.
They may also use traditionally patriotic symbols such as the flag, the bald eagle, or an image of a solider in uniform.
Honor is a little trickier to convey. You want customers to feel that they can trust you and that you will deliver on your promises. Patriotic imagery can do that, but so can using a solid shape like a square or rectangle, both of which convey strength and trustworthiness.
Blue is a color that is often associated with reliability, a trait closely related to honor. Ultimately, your logo should be strong, patriotic, and demonstrate that you and your company represent American values.
Branding Logo Analysis – Scent Craft
To see how these things might work together, let’s analyze a logo that we designed for a company in the military sector:
Let’s look first at the patriotic elements of this logo. It uses the colors red, white and blue – but with a twist. The blue is a bit brighter than the blue on the flag, and so is the red. The white has a somewhat metallic appearance and is highlighted with blue.
This logo also incorporates stars – a common patriotic symbol – and the image of the tail end of a bomb, something that is also strongly associated with the military.
In terms of conveying honor, the shield shape takes care of that. Shields usually symbolize strength and protection.
What makes this logo unique is the way the elements are combined with the image of rather menacing looking dog. When you read the tagline to find out what this company does, the whole thing comes together. If you need to train a dog to sniff out explosives, this company can help you do it.
How to Brand Your Military Organization
Once you have designed a logo for your military company, then it’s time to think about the overall branding message you want to send.
Branding by Building Public Trust and Confidence
In the military industry, few things are more important than trust and confidence. Whatever your company does, whether you provide benefits to veterans, train explosive-sniffing dogs, or manufacture components for weapons, the public (and the establishment) need to have faith in you.
Your brand must be strong, consistent, and recognizable. You can’t afford to play around with your image too much because consistency is the cornerstone of trust.
The more consistent you are, the easier it will be for people to believe that you will deliver on your promises.
Choosing the Right Persona for Your Military Company
The next thing to consider is the persona you will use for your company.
A company’s persona is a representation of its customers. If your typical customer is a military supply officer, then all of your branding and marketing must speak directly to that person. In other words, that is who your persona should represent.
Some of the traits to consider when constructing a client persona are the person’s age, gender, responsibilities, budget, and concerns. The chances are good that most of your clients will have quite a few of these things in common.
Keep in mind that you may certainly make more than one persona if you feel it is necessary. If you do, you will need to choose a target persona for each marketing campaign you run.
Branding Differentiation For The Military
Finally, one of the most important elements of branding is brand differentiation. How will your brand stand out from your competitors?
Brand differentiation for government entities starts by identifying what sets you apart from other companies in your industry or niche? For example, some military companies stand apart because they manufacture a proprietary product or component. Others stand apart because of their innovation or standards.
Decide which things your company does best and then find ways to contrast them with what your competitors do. If you do that, nobody will confuse you with them.
Content marketing Ideas for Military Companies
Now, let’s talk about content marketing for military companies. The bottom line is that content marketing is the gold standard in marketing right now.
Many years ago, Bill Gates once declared that “Content is king.” The passage of time has certainly proven him to be correct.
Any time you write a blog post, share a photograph or infographic, or make a video, you are content marketing. Here are some ideas to help you do it well.
Branding by Blogging in the Military Industry
Blogging started as a vanity thing – an opportunity for individuals to share tidbits about their personal lives with the internet at large.
These days, though, blogging has become a matter of course for many companies. They do it as a way of keeping their websites up-to-date and connecting with their audiences.
If your company provides services to veterans or service members, you might want to share some personal stories and highlight the ways that you can help.
Likewise, if you manufacture weapons components, you might want to share some information about what you are doing – excluding all classified or proprietary information, of course – and highlight your culture of innovation and reliability.
The key is to keep your blog relevant. Your posts don’t have to be long, but they do have to represent your company and brand well – and provide value to your target audience.
How to Use Social Media Effectively when branding for the military
Social media might seem like the last place for a military company to spend time, but it actually makes a great deal of sense to maintain a presence there.
For example, service companies often have Facebook pages where they share information about what they do and offer live support to their audience.
Companies that sell directly to the military may benefit from using LinkedIn to connect with military professionals and others in related jobs.
As long as you choose your social media sites wisely and keep them up to date, they can be an excellent way to build your brand and stay connected to your audience.
Branding for the military using Email Marketing – it still works
Finally, you may want to consider email marketing as a way of reaching out to your audience and growing your company. Email isn’t the newest kid on the block when it comes to online marketing, but it’s still one of the most cost-effective and reliable ways to build on your success.
For example, a company that is releasing a new product might use email marketing to hype it and to build anticipation.
A non-profit that provides mental health support to veterans might use email to discuss its services and encourage people who need help to get it.
With any email, make sure to keep it brief and compelling, and to include an attention-getting (but accurate) subject line and at least one image.
Wrapping It Up
Branding the military industry poses some special challenges, but remember that your job is to convey trust, consistency, and strength at all times. If you can do that, you will be sure to continue growing your company.