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Branding can be a big mystery to many, but letting this essential business-building tool slide its way down your to-do list can be a VERY costly mistake. Tracey Dooley reveals why…
There seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding branding. Some people think that you just need a logo and, voilà, you are instantly ‘branded’! Others back away from it altogether, assuming (wrongly) it involves a lot of money and effort, and therefore is something only big organisations bother with.
While it’s true that branding is more than a cute logo, or a catchy slogan coupled with TV ads, it’s certainly not the preserve of big business. It needn’t be costly or complicated, either.
Branding, in a nutshell, involves making your product or service known — on a consistent basis — to as many potential buyers as possible while effectively using your time and other resources. It is what you stand for or are known for.
Too long a definition?
How about: Branding is about creating a picture in your prospect’s mind that he or she can’t easily forget.
That ‘picture’ could be one that paints you as someone trustworthy. (Someone people will WANT to do business with.) It might be a certain belief… Or a big benefit… Or it could simply represent a feeling. And the better the experiences your consumers get, the more likely they will result in sales or referrals.
Given that brands have the potential to create effortless referrals as well as consumer loyalty and even new business, wouldn’t branding benefit ANY business – large or small, offline or online?
Build Desire For YOUR Product or Service, NOT That of Your Competitor
What about YOUR business? Wouldn’t it have the edge over your competitors if you paid attention to your branding? Imagine what would happen if you designed an influential brand based on the power of emotion…
For example, my brand emotions include passion and possibility. I’ve made sure that every service, every programme, every product and every article I offer yields highly practical, actionable information (or, in the case of my services, advantageous results), which creates a “We CAN do it!” feeling.
A truly great brand will, over time, build desire for your product or service. That is, what it means to your customers beyond function or use can help inspire them to make your product or service a part of their professional or personal lives. The emotional attachment or connection one can have with a given brand can dramatically increase the perception and, in time, sales of the product or service the brand represents … which, in turn, will help increase market share.
No Need to Shout to Get Noticed
If you’re a solopreneur or one-man band, then ‘personal branding’ can be a great way of adding a bit of oomph to your career, your online business, your job search … your everything, really. The processes are similar to those that come with product branding. Only instead of promoting products or services, you’re the one who’s taking centre stage. And let’s face it; in today’s noisy, overcrowded marketplace WE ALL have to do more than simply shout to get noticed.
So, ultimately, I like to think of a successful brand as a big, friendly personality — out there to offer something novel … to win friends and ultimately make sales.
The problem with most brands is that they are a loud and unhappy mish-mash of inconsistent messages. They may have evolved over time to something that is now out of date or confusing. Or they may not have had the necessary focus spent on them in the first instance.
Careful What You Say, Do or Even Hint At
The fact is everything you do, say, publish or produce makes your brand. And that includes the words you use and the way you write. My business writing aims to be friendly and conversational, yet professional and businesslike. Yours may go in a very different direction. But the point is, brands exist in words and, accordingly, your words should consistently reflect WHO you are and WHAT you’re about.
How do you find your own particular brand language? Start by becoming a student of what your brand represents among your clients or customers. Make sure you fully understand your target market along with the language they prefer and respond to. Why? Because you are more likely to make an impression that sticks if you speak in the language of the your prospects.
The bottom line is this: Branding is an amazingly powerful tool for putting you or your business in the spotlight. Therefore, it’s worth taking the time and investing the necessary cash and effort that you might put into a costly logo and instead put everything into creating an overall brand experience that people will WANT to remember … and for the right reasons.
By Tracey Dooley, CopyWriter | Editor | Proofreader
Need help with developing, executing or managing your branding? How about word-of-mouth marketing? Get in touch and let me know what you need help with:
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