Branding is one of the most important activities your business can engage in. Building a strong, recognizable brand will help you connect with your existing customers, sell to new ones, and encourage loyalty and recognition.
But like any other business task, successful branding requires careful planning and a smart strategy.
Strategies That Can Improve Your Brand…
1. Make a Good First Impression
Most of us know intuitively, that first impressions are important.
We don’t like to think that we judge a book by its cover or a person by what they are wearing or how they appear, but the reality is that we often do. It’s second nature.
For micro and small businesses (and larger businesses too), what potential customers think about you and how they judge you, is often determined by their first impression.
A first impression based on your outward appearance. Things that are evident right away, before they dig deeper:
- Your store front location (tidy, clean, organized, messy, modern, dated, caring staff, uncaring staff, etc.)
- Your website (professional looking as appropriate for your type, loads quickly, well laid out and easy to navigate, helpful content that is up-to-date, mobile optimized and easy to view and navigate on mobile devices, etc.)
- Your social networks (complete profile, high-quality profile photo and cover image, up-to-date information, active with regularly shared content that is helpful and interesting)
2. Always be Reliable
3. Do A ‘Values Check’
Branding isn’t about your logo; it’s about your message – what you’re broadcasting to the world.
First, check in with your own values: Does the wording and look and feel on your website, social media profiles and materials match up with those values?
Look to make all your messages and images congruent with your values and the world will notice. So establish strong values and be transparent.
4. Start With Your Value Proposition
Branding is an exercise in establishing an impression about yourself to others, but if you start with branding first, you have a very shallow brand.
By contrast, an authentic and compelling brand starts with knowing your personal value proposition. What does your audience need and how do you fulfill those needs?
If you can answer those questions, your branding will be a natural extension from there.
5. Educate Employees About Your Brand
6. Know Thyself And Align
The most fundamental part of branding is truly understanding who you are so that you can align all of your actions and your environment.
The deeper your understanding of values, vision, and other brand attributes, the better able you are to align all parts of your life consistent with your brand.
You are the most critical part of your branding strategy.
7. Give Great Customer Service and Exceed Expectations
8. Be True To You
Be authentic to who you are, the values you have, and the skills you excel at. Authenticity is imperative to branding success. Avoid pressure to constantly reinvent yourself or overstate and inflate your message.
A simple articulation of who you are and what you are good at – shared succinctly and clearly – will suffice to nail down your brand.
9. Repeat Your Message Again and Again
10. Use Great Photos
Most small businesses are “personal brands,” meaning you are the face of your brand. The days of the boring head shot are done for most coaches, consultants and service providers.
Use photos of you that reflect your personality and style to make your website and brand stand out from the crowd online. You’ll attract your ideal clients and get your message across with less effort.
11. Display Your Brand Colours and Own Logo Everywhere
12. Define Your Niche
You can’t be all things to all people.
Narrow your target market by either offering a specialized product or service, or by serving a specific demographic.
Related Article: Determining the Perfect Business Niche for You
There’s a reason brain surgeons get paid more than general practitioners!
13. Display Your Back Story
14. Meet Your Audience Where They Are
If you want to be unique, get your branding right. Address your target market in the places they hang out with the message they expect to hear, using the distribution methods and mediums they like.
It’s a simple formula that many do not follow. Your brand is your identity, and once you have that set, you can get creative with the rest.
15. Listen to Your Customers
16. Stop ‘Selling’ And Be Helpful
Your customers don’t want to be treated as though they only represent dollar signs to you.
If you focus on being helpful by crafting well-researched social media responses instead of driving traffic, you can give your brand an edge while building trust.
Prioritizing quality engagement through creating meaningful interactions can lead to loyal customers and sometimes even gain brand ambassadors.
17. Network To Start Conversations And Build Goodwill
The way you talk to customers has a big impact on your brand, and nothing delivers customer satisfaction quite like consistently delightful communication.
When you’re thoughtful about the way you convey information to (and receive feedback from!) customers, that yields better results than any splashy new logo or 25 percent off coupon ever could.
Remember to engage local as well as nationalor even world wide customers.
18. Improve Your Culture
The most visible brand you have is your company’s culture. It’s culture that defines your uniqueness and provides you with a competitive edge.
It’s a social and psychological form of DNA that can become a catalytic mechanism. Your company culture is a key element relative to how people “see” your company.
Since it’s your company’s soul, it’s worth paying attention to.
19. Grow your Brand with your Business
20. Don’t Get Stuck in the Information Age.
Like it or not, we’ve transcended the Information Age.
Welcome to the social business era, characterized by a growing transparency (some of it unintended) that is revolutionizing the way we do business.
“There’s now a distinct overlap—maybe even a full convergence—between three things that used to be separate.
Your brand, your culture, and your leadership style.”
– Justin Foster, author of Oatmeal vs. Bacon:
How to Differentiate in a Generic World
21. Understand the Convergence Between Personal and Professional.
For leaders (certainly entrepreneurs), their personal brand is an integral part of their business brand; their business is a manifestation of what they believe in: their values, goals, and dreams.
It begins with you. Your personal brand is reflected in the business you create and in the team member you choose, which collectively form the culture of your company. In turn, this culture becomes your brand.
22. Stand out from Competitors
23. Don’t Lose your Confidence.
Confidence emerges from self-belief. It’s hard to be different but it’s even harder to be authentic if you don’t believe in yourself.”
24. Don’t Try to Please Everybody.
The biggest pitfall in branding comes from ‘people pleasing.’ In other words, trying to please everyone. A lot of entrepreneurs believe that they have to serve everybody. If being yourself doesn’t rub somebody the wrong way, there’s something off.
Apart from it being impossible to create a message or solution that caters to everyone on the planet, it’d be untrue to you. You can’t do that while still being unique and authentic. Being your own person means that you’ll naturally repel some people. And yes—that’s exactly how it should be.
“You have enemies? Good.
That means you’ve stood up for something in your life.”
– Winston Churchill
25. Have a Long-Tem Vision
26. Rattle People’s Emotions.
A successful brand rouses emotion. It’s riveting. Yes, even controversial. Brand strategists seek to trigger emotional responses from our right brain, the limbic, primal portion of our minds.
A bit of controversy should be inevitable. Just think of brand wars like Apple vs. Microsoft have staunch supporters on each side. Justin summarizes it perfectly: “If you cannot generate emotion, there is no brand.”
27. Continue to Learn
28. Partner With An Expert
Finally, nothing beats getting outside feedback from a branding expert to get clear on your reputation, values, brand and how to best articulate your business and services to your clients.
Conduct an audit of your brand strategy with an expert and, together, align your next steps for your target audience.
29. Become an Authority in Your Field
30. Gain a Reputation
So what’s your branding strategy?
Properly developing and implementing a branding strategy can have a huge impact on the success or failure of your business.
Having the right promotional materials, effective marketing messages and visual designs for both online and offline will help you increase sales leads and sales conversions.
If you market with sales letters, fliers, brochures, catalogs or on the Internet, then the message you are sending through your corporate branding, product branding and promotional materials must make an impact.
A common mistake many people make in marketing is not understanding who their target market is, sending the wrong benefit message or no benefit message and then expecting the buyer to figure it out.
Learn more techniques to use to promote your Brand and improve the profitability of your business, check out our proven lead generation system by clicking on this link now.
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Remember a logo is not a brand. A branding strategy is a vital step in creating your product or business identity.
Nicky and Dave