When it comes to branding, most people think about logos and colors. But branding is about more than just recognizability. It’s about the impact that you have on a customer and how it sends a message. The first impression can say a lot about a company, its values and what it does. Entrepreneurs should be thinking about the unintended impacts of branding.
We asked members of the Forbes Agency Council about what to consider when thinking about branding assets. The answers given reveal a lot about what makes a good slogan, logo, name and more. After all, a company’s branding is a visible, and often tangible, extension of the company.
When creating your brand, it’s imperative that you think about everything from your logo to color scheme to to the tag line. You also have to have a memorable brand name, strong message, support system, and all of the necessary legalities, like getting trademarked, in place. But, that’s only the beginning of your branding process. To help you complete creating your awesome brand, give these nine tips a spin as well.
1. 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).”
2. 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.” Be 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;
- Be authentic.
- 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.
3. 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.
4. Be consistent.
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. Bot examples prove at just 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.”
5. 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.
7. Produce value.
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?
8. 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.
9. 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.