branding

Business Branding

Branding Your Business

Business Branding

Chances are, you’ve already heard about the importance of building a trusted and unique brand.

Words like “brand awareness” and “brand recognition” are often tossed around, and are synonymous with achieving success and gaining a strong foothold in your market, especially when there are thousands of other businesses competing for your customer’s attention.

You already know you need to establish a brand that is all your own, yet few people tell you exactly how to get started.

That’s what this little post is all about.

Defining Your Brand Message

Business Branding

When it comes to maximizing your income, and establishing a strong foothold within your market, you absolutely need to build a unique and recognized brand that aligns with a clear and direct brand message.

Your brand message explains to potential customers what you have to offer, and how committed you are to providing quality and value.

But here’s the thing:  you aren’t the one who defines your brand message – your customers do!

It’s your job to lay the groundwork as to what you want people to know about your business and then work towards supporting that identity through demonstrating knowledge, skills and capabilities to deliver what was promised.

However, your customers will be the ones who decide what your overall brand image is based on their interactions with your business.

A well-defined, strategic brand message can build instant credibility in your niche, while helping you gain authority in your market and shape how customers perceive your business.  It’s quite often the key difference between a well-structured online presence, and a faltering business that is struggling to connect with its audience.

So, how can you build a recognized brand that provides a clear message that resonates with your market?

Start by thinking about your target audience and what is most important to them.  Once you’ve evaluated your niche, you will be able to position yourself so that you are directly addressing their most burning questions, concerns and needs.

To do this, you need to gather as much intelligence on your market as possible, which you can do easily just by looking at the competition.

What are other business owners and product developers offering your audience? What kind of products and services are they successfully selling? 

Take things to social media and begin by evaluating social signals – which are clear indicators as to what is currently in demand, popular and selling well.  The higher level of interaction, the more advertising dollars spent, and the more engagement; the better.

Knowing how to develop a strategic brand message begins by recognizing what is already successful and improving on it within your own business.

You want to become the go-to person in your niche market, the obvious choice when customers are considering who to turn to when making their purchasing decisions.

When you work towards building an unwavering presence in your market, starting with a strong foundation of trust, you’ll immediately eliminate the barriers standing in the way of you connecting with your target audience.

To do that, you need to learn as much about them as possible so that you can build a brand around what is most likely to capture their attention.

You’ll also be able to lower the barrier of resistance, and leave a lasting impression in their minds. When you do that, they’ll come back to you time and time again.

And how do you do begin?  It starts with what is called a U.S.P.

What U.S.P Really Means

Branding Your Business

Let me get right down to it. USP stands for unique selling proposition (or unique selling point), and it is critical that you establish what yours will be right from the start.

Contrary to popular belief, a USP has nothing to do with logos, slogans or graphic design. 

Sure, those are components of your overall brand that help people identify your products and recognize you, however, a USP is far more important than that when it comes to building your customer base, and breaking through the barriers of resistance that most businesses experience when they first appear in their market.

A USP is what truly tells potential customers how you are different from the competition.  It helps to align your goals with your customer’s. Your USP tells them that you can be trusted, that you have their best interests at heart, and that you fulfill all promises.  And most importantly, a USP ensures you aren’t a faceless brand.

This would include key factors that differentiate a product or service from its competition, such as the lowest price, an extended, no-risk guarantee, a unique or exclusive product or offer not found anywhere else, or the first-ever product of its kind.

Your USP should also demonstrate your dedication to satisfying customers, and provide reassurance that you stand by your products, and that there is no risk to your customer when doing business with you.

To start, think about what your product or service has that the competition doesn’t.

Consider ways you can highlight those differences and emphasize the benefits. Paint a clear picture as to why a prospect is making a wiser, sound decision to purchase your product instead of someone else’s.

Your USP is the driving force behind clearly illustrating value and giving potential customers a reason to purchase from you rather than the competition. That’s its one and only job.

OK, that’s it for now but if you want an expanded version of this post covering other points such as creating a powerful brand, the 4 essential elements of a killer brand, plus a handy check list, then click here and you can download a handy pdf to read whenever is convenient.

And if you want to learn more about how businesses use branding then check out this great course called B.R.A.N.D. here.

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Benefits Of Branding Your Business

Benefits Of Branding Your Business

Almost every business has a trading name, from the solopreneur to the largest multi-national corporation but it would be fair to say that only a small minority of those businesses would have what could be classed as a brand.

Branding is the process of creating distinctive and long-lasting perceptions in the minds of consumers. A brand is a persistent, unique business identity including aspects of personality, quality, origin, liking and more.

Although most people will associate brands with big companies, even a small business can use branding techniques to great effect.

So what is branding?

Well, the basic concept of branding and identity is quite simple; it is to create a look and feel immediately identifiable and recognizable in their niche. Good branding can increase the value of the product/service that the company provides and also the company itself. A company’s identity in their marketplace can have a huge impact on their profitability.

Many people think of branding as just a company logo and/or colour scheme, but it goes much deeper than that. Your brand should be built around a core mission statement that reflects your values as an individual or company.

BONDING

Having a strong brand helps you to bond with your customers and prospects providing that your brand resonates with your target audience. If your core beliefs and values as a brand are in line with your target market, this can build an incredibly powerful bond with them which shouldn’t be underestimated.

It is human nature to flock to those who reflect our own core beliefs and values, so your brand should be built around these to attract the right consumer and repel those who won’t resonate with you.

RECOGNITION

This is one of the main benefits of branding; customers and prospects are much more likely to remember your business. A strong brand name and logo/image helps to keep your company image in the mind of your potential customers.

If your business sells products that are often bought on impulse, a customer recognising your brand could mean the difference between no-sale and a sale. Even if the customer was not aware that you sell a particular product, if they trust your brand, they are likely to trust you with unfamiliar products. If a customer is happy with your products or services, a brand helps to build customer loyalty across your business.

ACCEPTANCE

If a business develops a strong brand this can have a knock-on effect in that they become accepted as a “player” in their niche and this in turn can build preference for their products. Think about it; when consumers are faced with choices in a store, they will typically favour a brand they have purchased before and trust. This is plain common sense as they can know exactly what to expect from their purchase. This is an important advantage if you sell products that customers purchase frequently, such as food or other household products. In that sense, a strong brand makes an important contribution to customer loyalty and, just as importantly, your profits!

NECESSARY

If you can develop a strong brand strategy, you can become a necessity in your customers eyes. This means that you have been able to build true brand awareness and loyalty. This should be a long-term goal for any branding strategy as it will virtually guarantee your success when people start evangelising about your brand and its products or services.

DESIRE

At first glance this may appear to be identical to “NECESSARY” above but when it comes to desire, we are talking about positioning yourself as a desirable, even luxury, brand. A classic example here is Apple. In all honesty, Apple products are NOT truly innovative (although the iPod was when it was first launched) and yet they have raving fans (discussed in “NECESSARY” above). The differentiator here is that these raving fans are willing to pay a premium for these Apple products and this is mainly due to the fact that when the original iPod was launched it was truly innovative. This one product launch has basically enabled Apple to position itself as a desirable, luxury brand and are able to charge premium prices. This may be the ultimate goal for any business, but many will not succeed, but don’t lose hope because just be being “NECESSARY” you will have an extremely stable and profitable business.

Did you notice that the above points spelt out B.R.A.N.D?

Are there any disadvantages to branding?

Having a strong brand will almost always be a positive attribute BUT there are a couple of instances where this may work against you.

Negative Attributes

If somebody using your product or service experiences a negative event, that will inevitably become attached to the brand. For example, a massive recall or unintentionally offensive ad campaign can tarnish a company’s brand and image, and this may result in the company to needing to completely rebrand itself to recapture its place in the market. And in todays totally connected world of social media, if somebody starts bad mouthing you or your product or service, it can be devastating.

Can Become Too Common

Many brands strive to be No. 1 in the minds of consumers. Take Coca-Cola as an example; many people may request a Coke when they go to a restaurant, but this may not necessarily mean a Coca-Cola product, but any soda i.e. it has become part of the vernacular. While it is the goal of branding to become the standard, it is not the goal to become the generic term of a line of products.

Ok there you have it, branding in a nutshell.

If you want to learn more about branding, I have a free report giving you a lot more information than I have covered here. Click here to get access to the report:

warr.us/brandreport

If you are serious about branding your business then I urge you to watch this special video training all about branding and how it should fit into your overall business strategy. You can access the video training here:

warr.us/brand

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Your Mission Statement

When you are trying to establish your brand, you also need to create a mission statement that really defines your brand.

In all honesty, it is probably best to create this first so you really know and can focus on what your brand stands for.

So what is a mission statement? Well, put simply it is a short paragraph or line that tells prospects what your business is about, what you do and why you do it. This is your goal, your vision and your commitment.

From here, you will then have a more inspiring vision that you can use in order to inform your other choices – such as your choice of logo and brand name (if not using your own name as a personal brand).

Now your logo really stands for something. And when that’s the case, people can stand behind you and come into line with your ideals and become your biggest fans.

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What Is A Brand?

Any marketer worth his salt knows that branding is crucial to their long term success but many of them make the mistake of thinking that a brand is all about a logo, but this is thinking too simply.
 So if a brand isn’t just a logo, then what is it all about?
 
Well, one other obvious aspect of a brand is the name. Your company needs a name and likely this name will also be the name of your website. Having a brand name like this for your website is one of the best things you can do to start getting attention for your business immediately. Try to make your name congruent with your business and easily recognisable.
Google has stated that brands are far more successful at search engine optimization these days, and certainly from a user’s perspective, brand names are a lot more memorable and professional sounding. In other words, calling your fitness based website something like ‘FitLand’ will work much better than ‘FitnessAndHealthArticles’.
You also need a visual style. Once you’ve created your logo, you’ll have chosen some colors and maybe some images that will relate to your business and that will form the basis of these logos. Now you need to take those colors and shapes and work them into everything else you do. If your logo is red, your website and your social media pages need to incorporate this red color. Having this consistency across your logo and website helps to tie everything together and makes it easier for people to remember you.
If you want to learn more about branding and how it fits into your business success, you may want to take a look at this free video.
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Branding

Making An Impact

If you want to make the maximum impact on the web, then it’s simply not enough to have a social media account(s) and a blog. You really need to ensure that there is a brand behind that social media account and behind that blog – something instantly recognisable that ties all of your posts and comments together under a single banner and something that people will feel is more than the sum of its parts and is a guarantee of quality.

But a brand isn’t just a logo. In order to have a real brand that has raving fans, you need to know what it is that makes something like this work and how to go about building yourself an image and then (more importantly) how to gain exposure for that image

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A Note To Us Marketers

One of the jobs of us as marketers is to attract those you want to sell to and work with, BUT equally importantly, you need to repel those who don’t resonate with you or your message.

A big mistake that many new marketers make is to try to appeal to everyone but, trust me, that will make you miserable as you will be dealing with people that just don’t “get it.”

Draw a line in the sand and stake your claim. Be YOU and don’t apologise for being yourself to people who just don’t resonate with you. Just say goodbye, move on and focus on those people who DO appreciate what you have to offer them.

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How to Create a Versatile and Effective Logo

When you create your logo, you will be developing a symbol or a stylish way of writing your company name that you will subsequently use to represent the entirety of your brand. As you can imagine, this is an important consideration as you are going to be using that image in every piece of marketing and on every product and service you put out.

So it needs to be good. The question is; how do you make sure it is?

Brainstorming The Idea

Coming up with a killer idea is going to be the most difficult part to start with but there are a few ways you can get over that blank screen staring back at you.

The first is to look for inspiration. Create a mood board by collecting anything that gives you ideas or that you like the looks of. At the same time, draw down all the related images and symbols that you associate with your industry or niche.

The next thing you can do is to try combining that imagery in various ways alongside your company name written in various fonts. Don’t be afraid at this stage to try absolutely anything – just throw out every idea and see what sticks. You will eventually end up with a few different designs which you can then decide upon by asking around. As a rule, the simpler ones are preferable as they will prove to be more versatile ultimately.

It’s worth noting at this stage that the colors you choose are likely to affect the coloring of your website, of your products and more – so don’t choose a color that’s too garish!

 Creating Your Logo

To actually create your logos, you need to use vector software, the most popular example of which is Adobe Illustrator. This software has the advantage of creating images that you can subsequently edit with ease and which you can scale to any size with no loss of quality.

You might find in future that you need to use different versions of your logo. For instance, if your logo is white and it needs to appear on a white background, then you might have to invert it or make it a light grey. Illustrator will allow you to do this quickly and easily, as will having a relatively straightforward and simple logo to begin with. Follow this advice then and you’ll be able to ensure your branding works in as many different situations as possible.

If you want to know more about branding and how it can fit into YOUR business, take a look at this FREE video here

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Content Marketing Strategy To Establish Authority In Your Niche

Once you’ve created a brand for yourself, the next job is to start making that brand recognisable by creating a reputation around it that will encourage people to seek you out and to (hopefully) order more of your products and services. The idea here is to establish your brand to the point where people consider your logo and/or your name to be a ‘guarantee of quality’ so that they know they can trust you. People will then seek you out to get your opinion and at that point, selling will become a LOT easier. This is essentially how you become an authority and a thought leader for your chosen subject matter.

One of the best ways to reach this point is through content marketing. This means publishing content on your site and on other channels that will demonstrate your knowledge and gradually help you to build a name for yourself.

The mistake that a lot of bloggers and business owners make here is in thinking that they can build that name for them with just one or two posts. But in reality the ‘process’ of content marketing and of building trust is a long term strategy.

These are the steps that any blog must go through to become an authority in the eyes of any one customer…

  1. A visitor finds a blog post by accident and reads it, finds it valuable and entertaining. They then leave your site and give you no further thought.
  2. They then come across another blog post and finds it this one entertaining too. Now they might make a note of your website name/brand.
  3. They then find your blog a few more times and eventually come to think of you as someone they can trust on a particular subject. They may actively start to look around the rest of your site at this point and may even subscribe to your mailing list.
  4. In future, when they are looking for information about a given topic, they will specifically search for your website or business name along with their question because they believe they can trust your answer.
  5. At this point they now consider you an industry leader and if you suggest something for them to buy they will be more likely to trust your judgement and make a purchase.

As you can see, a content marketing strategy is a long process and is predicated on you delivering consistently high quality content for a long time! But it will be worth it in the long run.

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4 Ways To Help Your Customers Get To Know You

If you are trying to build a personal brand in order to build trust and authority in your niche, then one way to achieve this is to get your visitors to feel as if they know you. By doing this, they will be far more likely to trust your future posts and far more likely to want to listen to you when you suggest buying a product.

Think about it: who would you be more likely to listen to your recommendations to purchase a product; a friend or an advert? Obviously it is the friend and that’s because we feel as though we know them and can trust their judgement. If you can be seen in the same way by your audience, then your suggestions will carry much more clout and your offers will be much more persuasive.

So how do you go about establishing this level of trust? Well here are a few options…

Write in the First Person

Try to write some of your messages in the first person. This is rather different to what you may have learned in school. Most schools will teach that writing in the third person is preferable for business as it sounds more professional and authoritative but the point here is that you want your readers to feel as though they know you and as though you are personally recommending something. And you can do this by writing in the first person. Use ‘I’s and ‘Me’s and generally write as though you’re talking to that person; write as if you are writing a letter to your mother!

Honesty is the best policy

And don’t just write in first person, make sure you’re being honest too. If you have concerns about a product, let your audience know; believe me, they will appreciate it. Not only does this fill in your personality but it also shows that you’re willing to ‘tell it how it is’ and boosts your integrity. The same goes for talking about issues in your personal life which has the added bonus of making you more relatable; you can be seen as a fellow traveler along the journey.

Make good use images or photos

Including images of yourself is a great way to help people feel as though they’re getting to know you. Remember that a picture paints a thousand words and it is always nice to put a face to a name. If you’re writing about the benefits of a certain exercise, then why not include an image of you performing that exercise? This is also a good way to get graphics for your site without paying the high prices charged for stock images.

Get on camera!

Why not go one step further and put yourself on camera?! If you are confident enough, then going on YouTube is a great way to reach a larger audience in a way that will leave a more lasting impression. Video is infinitely more engaging than text so if you have the confidence, go for it!

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ᗯᕼY ᐯᗩᒪᑌE IS SO IᗰᑭOᖇTᗩᑎT ᖴOᖇ YOᑌᖇ SOᑕIᗩᒪ ᗰEᗪIᗩ ᑕᗩᗰᑭᗩIGᑎ

What is the secret to being successful on social media?
The answer is simple: delivering value.

This might sound obvious to you, or perhaps it’s just obtuse and confusing. Either way, it’s undeniable and perhaps the best way to explain what I mean by this is to show you the opposite.

Which happens to be how most brands use social media…

TᕼE ᗰIᔕTᗩKE

The way that a lot of businesses use social media is to set up their accounts and then occasionally post to them. They’re not posting regularly enough to be considered consistent but what’s worse is the nature of what they’re posting: posts talking about their products and services.

You’ve probably seen these kinds of social media pages in the past. They say things like:
“Our new POS is the best in the industry!”
“Check out our new range of clothing!”
“For service you can trust, give us a whirl”

The thing you have to ask yourself then is: why would anyone want to read that? What incentive are you giving for following your page?

This is something that a lot of businesses simply forget about: in order to get people to listen to them, they need to be offering something in return. The best litmus test you can always use is this: would you follow your own page?

OᖴᖴEᖇIᑎG ᗩ ᔕEᖇᐯIᑕE

The solution is to turn your thinking on its head and to change the way you approach social media. Instead of thinking of this as a chance to promote yourself, think of it as a chance to provide an additional free service to your audience. This should be the same audience you’re trying to monetize but in this case you’re offering something completely free whether that is information, entertainment, news or inspiration. Either way, people need to look forward to your posts and they need to know what to expect.

Maybe you sell fitness products? In that case, you could provide a good service to your audience by posting new workout ideas or inspirational quotes every day. Maybe you sell clothes? In that case how about posting images of outfits to give people ideas?

Then, when you want to make a sale, you offer a genuinely exclusive discount. You have the ears and the trust of your audience and now you’re providing a limited time and exclusive opportunity. That’s how you influence through social media!

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