Build a brand that lasts Branding is an incredibly important part of a business. Your brand is your businesses personality and reputation. Your brand is what differentiates your business from the competition. It represents what you do and how you do it — and how you communicate that to the world.
Branding is one of the most important aspects of your business – especially if you are a small business – but what exactly does “branding” mean? How does it affect a small business like yours?
Your brand is your promise to your customer. Your brand tells them what they can expect from your products, services, and company.
Step #1: Define your brand
Are you the incredibly innovative company in your industry? Are you the most experienced or reliable company? Is your product or service the expensive, yet high-quality option, or the inexpensive alternative? What you brand emanates should be exactly what your target market customers are looking for.
Define your business voice and message.
Is it upbeat and witty? Serious and trustworthy? Reassuring and dependable? Your message should speak to the challenges of your target audience.
Richard Branson on Building his Virgin products “We have always tried to ensure that Virgin products are innovative, that they offer good value and that there’s a great attitude about service. When you have those basics right, you need to make sure people know about your business: Too many great businesses remain “well-kept” secrets for too long and never get the attention they need to grow and thrive.”
Where to start?
~ Get a great logo. Be sure you love it.
~ Write down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Be sure every employee is aware and understands your brand attributes.
~ Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of your business—your website, how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything.
~ Come up with a tagline. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.
~ Make sure your business logo, company colors, typefaces and imagery are consistent in your print materials (including quotes and invoices), e-mail campaigns, and online – on your website and social media sites. Note: Be sure to also include your contact information (even just your website address).
~ Delivery. Customers will not return to you or sing your praises if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.
Step #2: Consistency is key – even online
Once you have that fantastic logo and message, place it everywhere your target market audience hangs out. Brand recognition is often thought of as the way you portray your business or organization visually, but it’s more than that.
Your brand is the way you look and sound to others, so make sure you’re consistent with your brand and message online, too.
Some smart ways to use your brand online…
~ Be sure you use your logo or your image online as your avatar. Sign up at Gravatar.com so anytime you comment on someone’s blog, your image or logo appears as the thumbnail (note: it is linked to your email address)
~ be sure your Twitter profile includes your image or logo
~ be sure the profile image on your Facebook page has your logo and/or image. Note: you can further brand your page with a custom url in Facebook and LinkedIn. Click here to see our previous blog posting covering urls.
~ put your photo on your LinkedIn page. This is important especially for B2B businesses. Giving your page a personality builds trust and credibility and makes you a real person rather than simply an electronic profile. And it’s the first thing people notice. Just be sure it’s professional Ultimately, you want people to recognize your brand whether they see it online or offline.
Combine your brand look with the fantastic reputation you build by being professional, respectful, providing great customer service, being a resource and networking, and you have a winning combination for a successful brand!