Now that we have defined what a brand is, let’s move on to how to make a brand work for you and how to market your business in such a way that capitalizes on your brand, improves your branding capabilities, and increases your market exposure and visibility.
Here are 27 tips for making branding work for you and your company:
- Cater to your target market’s wants, not their needs. Wants establish an emotional connection that goes beyond simple need, and it is how you can create a personal relationship with your customers and keep them coming back time and again.
- Create a mission statement that puts in words what the focus, aim, goal, or future direction of your company is, and the value your business can provide to consumers.
- Purchase your own domain name (if you haven’t already), and make sure the domain name has something to do with your company. Make sure the name is as short as possible, easy to spell, and doesn’t have punctuation in the name (i.e., hyphens, underscores, etc.).
- If your company participates in local or regional events, trade shows, exhibits, fairs, or similar public activities, make sure you include a calendar on your website that tells people where you will be and when. Invite the public to attend and visit you at the event.
- Create a periodic newsletter available via e-mail and distribute it to subscribers. Make sure you included ample information about your company, products, services, or other industry information specific to your brand.
- Create an opportunity for human connection by telling your company’s story, thus making it become a tangible construct rather than a vague concept in your prospects’ minds.
- Create a memorable tagline that conveys what your company does in as few words as possible.
- Make sure your company has a great name. Also make sure your company name doesn’t invoke images of other companies or have any negative associations with the word or words used for the name. (You wouldn’t want to call a luxury cruise ship – or a communications company – the Titanic, would you?)
- Provide content on your primary website that is strictly informational – no marketing, promoting, or selling involved. Do this on a regular (at least once a week) basis.
- Put your customers first. Yes, you are here to make money but without your client base, you have no income.
- Ask for help when (if) you need it. Tackling branding and marketing schemes on your own can be daunting and you may not be up to the task simply due to lack of knowledge or experience. This can be a fatal mistake, so if you find yourself treading water to stay afloat, make use of the variety of diverse professional services out there that can help you position your brand, market your company, and increase your revenue.
- When you provide informational material on your primary website (see #9), make sure it demonstrates your authority and expertise in your industry or niche.
- Establish a blog and make regular posts that focus on your company’s industry, products, or services. (Make sure you add a new entry to your blog at least 3 times a week, if not more.)
- Do not follow the crowd. Be different and stand out from your competitors.
- Develop a great logo for your company, and make sure it doesn’t resemble anyone else’s in any way that could cause brand confusion.
- Put your company’s logo, brand name, products, and services on as many social networking sites as possible. Make sure you update your social media sites regularly and keep your content changing to reach out to different types of consumers.
- Be consistent with how you advertise and market your brand image. If you have a dozen different logos, taglines, slogans, and other means of associating with your company, that only creates confusion. Find one and stick with it.
- Make sure your promotional efforts don’t appear to be “used car salesman slick-pitches.” You want your marketing to demonstrate your value, not emphasize your greed.
- Be accessible. Provide your company’s physical address, and include a phone number where the phone is answered by a living human rather than a recorded message. Not being able to connect with a company is extremely frustrating and has turned many customers away from businesses that are stand-offish.
- Offer something for free. Whether you offer a “gift with purchase” or free do-it-yourself instructions, make sure you give something to your target market at no cost at all. (This is a great way to get otherwise uninterested people to sample what your company does.)
- Determine what you are REALLY selling to your target market. Someone once said that people don’t buy drill bits, they buy holes. What are your customers buying from you? Figure that out and then determine how to reinforce your brand by tying in what you sell with what you are.
- Be committed to your company, products, services, ideas, goals, and mission. If your heart isn’t in your business, you’ve already failed.
- If you have a restricted target audience (elderly, female, geographically limited, truck-driving, married, cat-loving, etc.), make sure your company’s image and marketing efforts specifically focus on that audience.
- Know your competition. Study what your competitors do and how well they do it. “Out of sight, out of mind” is not a phrase you want to apply to your competition because what you don’t know CAN hurt you through their successful efforts versus your failure to be aware of their strategies.
- Make every customer feel like they are receiving VIP treatment. By giving them a “special” or “exclusive” experience, you’ve turned them into a customer for life.
- If you are changing your branding scheme, do not implement it in pieces. This creates confusion. Roll out your new branding package when you are able to do so for all aspects of your business.
- Make sure your company, logo, and brand are associated with a “face.” This can be you, another employee, your pet, a mascot, a fictional creation, or whatever you choose – but develop a visual personality to go with your branding package.
Above all else when you are marketing your company to the public, never – ever – settle for “good enough.” Once you decide that your efforts are “good enough,” you’ve committed your company to the grave and are just waiting for it to expire. Aim high – higher than you think you can go – and then constantly and consistently do everything you can to achieve those aims.