What is a brand? Is it really important? Can’t you just skip it and focus on other things instead?
For those who are not aware, a brand is considered to be a unique fingerprint of a person or company. It’s how you are identified in the online community.
Whether you know it or not, each one of us has his own brand– both personal and professional. How we’re identified as an individual is our personal brand, while how we are associated with a specific profession serves as the professional brand.
The Importance of Branding
Here are some of the reasons why branding is very important:
Branding Promotes Recognition
People usually do business with companies they are familiar with or have tried in the past. A consistent brand that is easy to recognize can help people feel more at ease and confident when purchasing a product or trying a service.
An Effective Way to Stand Out Amongst the Competitors
In today’s world, it’s vital to stand apart from the huge Internet crowd. Keep in mind, you’re not competing in a local stage anymore, but in the global economy. There are a lot of competitors, that’s why you should strive hard in order to be noticed.
A Brand Is the Business’ DNA
From the visual elements, such as the logo to the way you respond to questions, are some of the ways on how a customer determines what kind of company you have.
It Leads to Referrals
Most people are fond of telling their favorite brands to family, friends, and acquaintances. People eat brands, wear brands, listen to brands, read brands, and they’re constantly telling others what they love. That being said, a strong brand is important if you want to generate referrals or become famous.
Oftentimes, the professional and personal brands are examined collectively. As a person, you’re required to actively participate in shaping the overall appearance of your brand. In a manner where you’ll be proud to represent and display it in front of other people. When building a brand, it’s important to consider these key elements:
Define Your Goals
What is your reason for building a brand? Try to decide why this is important to you. It doesn’t matter if it’s because you’re hoping to snag better job opportunities, better contacts for a business you’re building, exposure, or a stronger professional network. Knowing what kind of goals you want to achieve will give you a better idea on how to move forward with building your brand.
If possible, your brand should be related to your personal vision– what you want to do in your life. Even though your future isn’t guaranteed to change for the better, having an idea of what you want will allow you to stick with your goals.
The Identity of Your Brand
How do you want to present yourself and/or your business or expertise to the world? For this, it’s important to figure out what makes you unique and different from the usual crowd. Try to decide what niche you would like to create and develop in your practice area.
The Values Are Important
When it comes to building an incredible brand, you must learn how to identify your skills and what you can offer to the clientele. Be confident and believe in yourself. Try to determine what you can offer to the crowd– as much as possible, it should be something that no one else can offer.
Have a Team of Advisors
It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a professional, you should have a group of people whom you can trust and admire. Discus the goals of the brand with these people. Try to establish relationships with several mentors who can inspire you to strive harder. These professionals should be honest and as brand builder who asks for advice, you should be open to criticisms.
Once you have built your brand, the next step would be getting the word out. Here are some of the simple, time-tested tips for you:
1) Acquire a great logo and place it everywhere.
Come up with a slogan or brand messaging. Try to answer this question: What are the key messages your brand should deliver? Every employee should familiarize himself of the brand attributes your company has.
2) Brand integration.
Branding isn’t limited to having a slogan and a company logo. It extends to every single aspect of the business, such as how you answer calls, what your email signature is, and everything.
3) A “voice” of the company should be created and it should reflect the brand.
This voice will be applied to all forms of written communication and incorporated in the visual imagery– both online and offline. Is your brand too professional? Why not make it friendly? Is it too friendly? Be a little formal. You get what we mean.
4) A tagline is important.
Capture the essence of your brand by writing a meaningful statement that will allow your customers to remember the company every time they encounter that tagline.
5) Design templates and brand standards.
As much as possible, use the same color scheme, logo placement, and follow a uniformed look. There’s no need to be fancy. Just be consistent.
4) Be true to yourself and to the brand
If you can’t deliver the brand’s promise, then don’t expect the customers to return to you. Aside from losing their trust, this can also drag down your reliability and restrict you from getting new customers.
Last, but not least, this is the most important tip. Lack of consistency will result in brand failure.
The Easiest Ways to Build a Strong Personal Brand
Before we begin, you ought to know that this isn’t easy, but a time-consuming process. Don’t expect positive results if you’re not willing to exert any effort and waste some of your valuable time.
Also, you can’t expect these results right away– no matter how talented you are. Oftentimes, it will take 6 months to a year of hard work before you can reap the results.
Don’t worry, each and every month, you’ll see some progress and small results. When starting off, these techniques are highly recommended:
Tactics for Beginners:
Tactic #1: Guest Posting
The Internet is a huge place and there are a lot of popular webs lurking in this massive hub. From Entrepreneur, to Forbes, to Inc Magazine… the possibilities are endless. If you can, try to post on all these blogs on a regular basis.
Tactic #2: Blogging
If it seems like guest blogging isn’t enough, then you should consider setting up your own blog (in case you haven’t yet since you’re a beginner). There’s no excuse as you can easily do this on WordPress for free. This shouldn’t be stressful nor excruciating at all, because all you have to do is blog once a week on topics associated with your industry. For instance, you can post reviews if you want to blog as an affiliate and your job is to try products and give opinions about them.
Tactic #3: Be a Part of the Social Web
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, Google+. There are a lot of social webs out there. When building a brand, you should pick at least 2 social sites that you’re going to be a part of. Search for people within your industry (stalk them if you must). Then, you can either follow them or add as friends. As you do this, make sure that you participate and interact by answering questions and updating your account. For instance, if you chose Twitter and Facebook, you can do a “tip of the week” related to the niche. This will help in gaining exposure and generate followers.
Tactic #4: Help Others
One of the simplest, yet effective ways on how to build an incredible brand is to help others. When people send you questions, do your best to answer them. Likewise, when someone approaches you at a conference, don’t have any second thoughts and help or assist that person right away.
Tactic #5: Voice Out at Conferences
Even if you have stage fright or you just hate speaking in front of a large crowd, you’ll eventually have to start somewhere. Speaking in front of a huge crowd is a great way to show that you’re an expert and you know what you’re doing.
How to Promote Your Brand
These simple techniques will allow you to promote your brand:
Tip #1: Your Brand Should Be Very Unique
Catch the eye of the general public by creating something different, something they have never seen before. Instead of doing what has already been done, why not take a risk and do the opposite? Who knows, this might help you gain more customers.
Tip #2: Stability Is a Must
Don’t Rush. Instead, take some time as you establish your brand and reach your company’s goals. Like what they always say, it’s always better to spend time fine-tuning your design for the expected outcome, instead of rushing. If you’re one of those who often change the slogans, colors, taglines, etc. This doesn’t support stability nor reliability.
Tip #3: Promotional Products
It’s easy to help your brand gain more exposure by giving away low-cost items. Promotional products inspire possible clients to keep in mind that your brand is generous enough to give freebies.
The Advantages of Building a Brand
If you have reached this part, perhaps you’ll agree by now that contrary to what most people believe in, your brand is more than just the logo. It is the business’ mission, focus, and image all combined together in order to create a brand. Here are some of the advantages you can enjoy if you have managed to build your brand successfully:
You’ll Always Be Remembered
A company with a generic name is impossible to remember, no matter how promising the company is. Aside from that, it will be quite impossible to distinguish the purpose and business focus of a company who doesn’t even have a brand. Why would you even call a company if you can’t even recall what they did. Branding a business ensures that the customers will always remember what your company is all about.
Gaining Customer Loyalty Becomes Easier
People build close bonds with brand identities. No doubt about that, consumers want quality products that have been tested and something they completely trust. That in mind, your business should have an identity that your customers can hold on to. If your company is capable of delivering quality products and professional services, as well as a great brand identity, then your customers will always remember you. Not just that, there’s always the huge possibility that they’ll refer the business to their family, friends, and colleagues.
The Business Becomes Well-Known
Aside from your customers, you want the people whom you have not done business with to know who you are. Having a remarkable brand identity is a great way to deliver your expertise, and when the right time comes, they’ll remember your business as something they can try.
Customers Pay for the Image
Living in a brand-aware society means that most people usually associate brand names with quality. This is the main reason why a lot of people opt for popular brands. If people only want one brand of a particular product, they’ll be willing to pay, even if it costs more than the rest. A great brand will give you an assurance that your company will always be the first choice of those who are looking for the products you offer.
Lastly, despite the fact that brand building is important, especially if you want to succeed online, one must never be so consumed in perfecting a brand to the extent of losing yourself and personality all throughout the process. After all, you’re going to work with people you like and trust– not machines without emotions nor personality. It’s true that brand building doesn’t happen over night and it will take a lot of time and dedication in order to succeed and stand out from the crowd. By committing your time and energy as you build your brand wisely, you’ll soon realize that all of the hard work and sacrifice you have made are worth it.
By the end of the day, a successful brand can make your family, current clients, and even future customers to prefer your brand– “that thing” that only you can offer.