As social media became the online media of choice businesses thought that it would help their branding. They believed it would let them easily form relationships directly with consumers. People thought social media would give their business a communications center and all they had to do was tell stories to get people to connect with them. Many believed it would pass traditional media, making it a thing of the past. For most this has not worked as envisioned and few inspire serious interest.
What is branding?
I’ll tell you what it isn’t. Branding isn’t simply about a name, website, or logo; although, they are where you should start. It isn’t just about your communications either. It’s all this and more and includes distribution, visual and verbal communications, and where you advertise. It is both a long-term plan to accomplish your goals, and the process of adding value to your customers. Branding is a key part of all businesses. Let’s look at steps involved in brand building.
Creating a Brand Strategy
The first thing you want to do when starting out is to define your brand. Defining your brand is something you want to take your time to consider because it is what your brand stands for. It can be a little time consuming since you have to do some research and you want to show your customers what you are contributing.
When researching you want to find what your customers want, need, and desire so you can attract people. Write down what makes you different from all the others, and a good place to start is your skills and strengths. Some things you want to think about when defining your brand include:
Personal vs Company
When defining your brand you need to think about what type are you building. Are you branding your business or yourself? You really can’t do both, company branding is more of a long-term strategy and personal branding is a short term strategy.
Building a personal brand the focus is you and you are your business, but your name doesn’t really tell people what you do or what you are offering. Another thing to consider is a personal branded business is harder to sell compared to a branded business.
Building a business brand focuses on the identity you create for your business, and it has a unique name you create. As you work to build a business brand you will create a plan so you can grow your business.
Knowing how to connect emotionally with your customers will help you differentiate yourself from your competition. These relationships are less likely to go to another company than price or convenience type relationships. It requires a personalized marketing strategy and is the only way to really use social media to your advantage, but you have to put the needs of your customers first.
When it comes to choosing a name for your business it can be a make or break phenomenon. You want to show your customers have a positive experience so you want to get your name right. One way is to think of what your business does and describe it. Write down different variations until you come up with something that is good.
Color psychology is crucial when it comes to picking and choosing the right colors in your logo because certain colors can mean certain things. Understanding the meaning of colors and the cross-cultural meanings will help you choose the best color scheme for your business.
Your logo helps attract potential customers because it is one of their first impression of your business. It can help create your identity, build loyalty, and act as a symbol of professionalism. Make a great logo and put it everywhere. Having chosen your name, color scheme, and logo you should consistently use the same look in all your marketing materials. Remember your brand will either grow or stay in place depending on the strategies you choose.
What are they saying about you?
When your information, photos, videos or any piece of content is place on the internet it will for eve stay there even if you personally remove it from your social media or personal websites. It is Crucial you are strategic in what you share and when you share it, if it doesn’t benefit your branding or image this will lay against you and you will loose the respect of your current and future buyers.
Getting the Word Out!
Okay now that you defined your brand you want to spread the word and it takes both time and consistency. You need to develop what people say and think about your brand so you can build engagement.
Now think about your message and how you will communicate it. You have to keep reinforcing your message so you can get exposure but there are many online promotional tools you can use. Blogs and social media may help you create a voice that reflects who you are. For your brand building to be successful you have to personalize it and give it an identity and get customers to relate with it.
As your brand grows, expectations do too and for you to continue building your brand. Always review your progress so you can improve your levels of engagement.
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By: Moraima Buonafede
Stec, Carly, (8/11/ 2015), Introduction to Brand Strategy: 7 Essentials for a Strong Company Brand, Hubspot, http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/31739/7-Components-That-Comprise-a-Comprehensive-Brand-Strategy.aspx#sm.001pixjg418mffe5v3w1azwbphms3
Williams, John, The Basics of Branding, Entrepreneur, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/77408
Powell, Annetta, 5 Effective Brand Building Strategies to Attract Customers, CoxBlue, http://www.coxblue.com/5-effective-brand-building-strategies-to-attract-customers-2/
Wilson, Pamels, Should You Build A Personal Brand or Business Brand, Big Brand System, http://www.bigbrandsystem.com/personal-brand-or-business-brand/