Nowadays business competition is intense. Regardless of the product or service an organization is trying to sell, similar products or services are available. To become the first choice in a cluttered marketplace, branding online and offline is a must.
Building a strong brand is one of the most important things an organization can do to increase visibility, create a good reputation, and become a trusted business. Consumers associate a brand with a certain identity. These identities communicate messages, build credibility, and motivate prospects to contact and purchase from an organization.
When I create a branding plan for one of my businesses or clients, I follow these tips:
1. Consistency is completely necessary to effective branding. All marketing material tones and messaging (websites, logos, slogans, mission statement, brochures, postcards, sales letters, newsletters, advertisements, etc) must be consistent. Unclear or conflicting messages cause confusion.
2. A mission statement should tell who you are, what you do, and how you can add value to the marketplace.
3. Sponsor a charity event. Attend fundraisers.
4. Join the local Chamber of Commerce to network with other business owners in the community.
5. Develop strategic alliances and cross promotions with non-competing companies. 6. Whenever a company has a new product or service launch or a newsworthy event occurs, writing and distributing press releases online and to print media is a great way to increase visibility.
7. Endorsements and testimonials add value to a company’s brand because it creates credibility.
8. Add a media page to the website showing where the company was featured.
9. Become an expert in the industry by writing by-lined articles for industry blogs, websites, newsletters, newspapers, or magazines.
10. Create an organizational blog and print or electronic newsletter for consumers.
11. Social media is a great way to build a brand. I find www.Linkedin.com, www.FastCompany.com and www.Twitter.com very effective. For women business owners, www.BeautiesontheGo.com is also a great inspirational resource and network. Become an industry leader by posting on messages boards and forums. Get involved in conversations, ask questions, give advice, attend workshops, tele-seminars, and network with like minded people. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your network expands.
Branding is vital since it not only defines an organization, but also creates a perception of value.
If your business does not have its own brand, now is the time start creating a plan of action.