Many business owners have challenges putting together an effective marketing plan. I have often found when reviewing marketing efforts by businesses that they don’t have a clear (or lack) a consistent and clear message. How you chose to “brand” your business can either make-or-break you, especially if you’re in a competitive and saturated market. Having just gone through the process of updating some of our marketing items and creating a new website, I’d like to provide readers with some tips regarding branding. Some things you’ll need to consider will include what your logo will look like, what your color scheme would be and even what your tag line will be. It’s important that your overall effort is memorable and easy to understand. Not doing so can be a waste of marketing dollars and can potentially do you more harm than good.
Below I’ve included some key points from a useful online article that you may consider, especially if you’re looking to embark on a new marketing effort. The internet has a plethora of business-related information but it can be a challenge identifying information that is useful and trustworthy. The following key points were published by entreprenuer.com, a well-respected online source on business-related topics.
How do people see you?
“The interesting thing about your personal brand is it’s never what you say it is, it’s actually what everyone else says it is,” writes founder and chairman of the award-winning matchmaking firm PCBA Paul C. Brunson. “Therefore, the first place to begin in the building and growth of your brand is to know what people think of you.”
Paul adds that you can find out how others view by: “googling yourself, holding a focus group (of close friends), or asking a life coach or business coach to conduct a 360 analysis on your behalf (we do this for all of our clients and it’s very effective).”
Build your online platform.
Blogger, author, digital strategist, and speaker Jeff Bullas recommends that you, “Build your own online platform such as a blog or website that you own, then amplify your content and engage with your audience on social networks.” He adds, “Use LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or even Pinterest and Instagram. You have options. Find what social network resonates with you.”
“The secret. Don’t wait to be perfect. Just start.”
Here are a couple of pointers to keep in mind when creating your brand:
Have a unique voice.
Build an email list.
Have a memorable design.
Create a memorable slogan that expresses your mission and purpose.
Empower your customers.
Also don’t forget to harness the power of content marketing, guest blogging and networking.
Weave your brand into everything you do.
Personal branding should be a large part of everything you do. It should be weaved into your life. It shouldn’t just be in the clothes you wear but in your every action with friends and business colleagues.
Your brand should show in how you blog online. For example, my personal brand always is helping entrepreneurs. When I attend networking events I try to have the same person you read about online, shine at networking events. If you try to be someone you’re not, it will show.
As a customer, think about the brands that you are most loyal to. Chances are that they’ve earned your trust because they are dependable. For example, Zappos is known for delivering superior customer service. Dropbox includes its signature hand drawn blue box logo on all of its messaging.
Both examples prove just how important consistency is for brands.
As Hannah Fleishman states on HubSpot, “All of your communications and marketing assets should tell your brand’s story.”
Don’t try to please everyone.
Years ago at a marketing conference, my friend Jonathan Long from Market Domination Media told me that “You’re never going to please everyone, so don’t try to be everything to everyone. Learn to be the best brand possible to specific set of users.” This still sticks out to me as myself as a business owner really can’t do everything. If I try and please everyone…. it’s not even possible.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself – even if that means saying the things that no one else will. Remember, you’re not in business to please everyone. You’re in business to grow a business, not please everyone.
You should be producing value with whatever you do. You don’t have to be Apple to have an amazing product. Even lower end products like Ikea produce a lot of value to their customers.
When thinking about the value that you can add, ask questions like:
What sets your product, service and company apart from your competitors?
What value do you provide and how does that value differ from that provided by your competitors?
How do these benefits tap into your customer’s emotions?
Is what I’m producing for my customer produce enough value for the price I’m charging?
Is my brand in sync with how I’m marketing myself?
Associate yourself with strong brands.
“Your personal brand is strengthened or weakened by your connection to other brands,” said Shama Hyder is Founder and CEO of Marketing Zen. “Find and leverage strong brands which can elevate your own personal brand.”
You can begin by looking at the three C’s: company, college, colleagues.
For example, you could contribute content to your alumni or company newsletter or blog.
Get sneaky with brand-building awareness.
Finally, you can start spreading brand awareness by using some outside-of-the-box techniques like:
Setting up a referral program.
Creating an infographic.
Offering freemium content.
Partnering with local businesses.
Wrapping your car with ads.
Giving away swag.
Running a social media contest.
Hosting a podcast.
Setting up PPC ads and a remarketing campaign.
The article in its entirety can be found here: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/276520.
Sonoma County has several free resources such as the Napa-Sonoma SBDC (napasonomasbdc.org) and SCORE (northcoast.score.org) that can help you identify your “brand” and other marketing-related items. If you have any questions regarding this topic or other business-related items, don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-838-5339. You can also find useful information on our website, www.discoverwindsor.com.