10 Simple Ways to Give Your Brand and Business a Boost
08 May 2015
What makes the biggest brands so successful? They follow some of the most important rules of developing and cultivating an incredible reputation. Because at the end of the day, that’s what branding is: your reputation. What do people know you for? Why do they prefer your product or service over of the competition’s? And what makes your brand sustainable? You don’t have to be a multi-million dollar company to create a dynamic brand. But you do have to follow some basic rules to stand out above the noise and gain new clients and customers. Read on for tips on how to develop a brand that stands heads and shoulders above the competition.
Tip #1: Develop a clear and compelling message. When deciding how to market your product or service, the first question you need to ask yourself is "What makes us different?" If you can’t define that, neither can your customers. Before you spend a dime on marketing, determine what message it is you want to express and stick to it. Use your mission statement to develop a compelling tag line.
Tip #2: Be consistent, persistent and diversify your outreach strategy. This message should be weaved into every piece of collateral produced and every channel used to promote your business. Your web site, e-news, stationery, Facebook and Twitter pages, blog, PR strategy, and marketing collateral, are opportunities to cement your brand. The key is making sure it all looks like it’s from the same company and sends the same core message.
Tip #3: Create strategic partnerships. Align yourself with promotional partners (i.e. online sites that focus on your industry, influencers, newspapers, prominent blogs and bloggers, vendors, etc.) who will help you get the word out about your product or service in exchange for sponsorship and/or exposure.
Tip #4: Align yourself with influential, well-respected people. When you’re new and still building your reputation and your brand, you need to connect with people who know you and your work personally. Reach out to those whom you respect and admire, get to know them, and turn them into advocates of your work by doing great work—every time!
Tip #5: Invest in your image. Perception is reality. Your visuals should reinforce the impression you want your audience to have of you. Many people underestimate the importance of having a polished, up-to-date web site. Since we now live in a technologically-savvy world, your web site is often the first point of contact prospective customers or clients have with you. This also goes for your printed collateral. You may be a two-person outfit, but you don’t have to look like one. Image is everything: invest in your brand. I love a quote by Ronnie Harris Tyler that speaks to this: "You can't build an empire on free stuff."
Tip #6: Build an amazing team. Your brand is only as good as the people who represent it. By working with people who are just as passionate and dedicated to your mission as you are, you avoid having to get buy-in from your most important asset: your team. They’re already vested. Brands are driven by the people behind them, and every contact with anyone in your organization should leave a customer wanting to do business with you again.
Tip #7: Develop a PR angle. Work with a good public relations consultant to get earned media. But don’t waste your time or theirs by not already having a compelling story angle. Your media advisories and press releases should be adapted to specific writers and publications. If you can't afford a PR consultant, do your own research and know which media would be most interested in a particular story angle.
Tip #8: Look at your entire team as Brand Ambassadors. Every member of your team should be responsible for outreach and promotion. The tasks can be as simple as inviting friends to your organization’s Facebook page, and personally contacting individuals, to sending out emails to everyone you know and creating a promotional video for YouTube. It takes more than just the Marketing and PR department to make any endeavor successful and to build an exciting brand.
Tip #9: Have fun! We all remember people who make us laugh. Having a great sense of humor is a key component in developing a memorable personal brand. Make sure to inject a dose of fun that leaves people wanting to come back for more.
Tip #10: Make sure the brand lives up to the hype. Now that you’ve done all this work, don’t let it go to waste once the opportunity for face-to-face contact with your organization presents itself. From the beginning to end of your customer’s experience, they should feel like the most important person in the world. Smile, ask them their name (and remember it!), thank them for their business and let them know that you’re looking forward to working with them again. You’ll have a customer for life and will have established an unforgettable brand.
When it’s all said and done, don’t forget to follow up and collect feedback and testimonials. Stay in touch with your customers and keep them informed about what you’re up to. Remember, out of sight is out of mind. Don’t spend all this time and money building a profitable brand only to let it be forgotten because you forgot to keep in touch with your customers.
Happy brand building!
*This post originally appeared on LinkedIn.