The Effort of Branding or Rebranding Your Business
The standard theory of defining your business through your logo and pamphlets alone has been taken to a new level more recently. Today the term “branding” is everywhere. It means creating a visual profile of your business that is backed up with tangible action and proof.
Your branding profile should be so specific that when people hear your business name they get a clear picture of who you are, what you do and how you do it.
The benefit of having a focused brand is that you will be able to communicate to would-be customers with greater clarity just who it is you are and what you have to offer so that they will be able to make a clear-cut decision as to whether or not you will fit their needs.
Companies have always been branding themselves, though the process has never been quite as dissected as it is today. Branding is important in order for companies to stand apart in a fiercely competitive marketplace.
Don’t Like Your Brand? Re-brand
If you don’t have a clear brand there is plenty of opportunity to re-brand yourself. Some businesses change ownership or toss up their internal leadership team in order to convince the public change is happening. Change creates a great opportunity for re-branding.
Re-branding has also been around for ages. How many times have you purchased something with “New and Improved” written on the label? In this type of instance, a manufacturer has re-configured a product in some way in order to re-brand it. This type of marketing campaign arouses customer curiosity and re-engages them with the goal of making more sales.
Protect Your Brand Reputation
Social media is such a highly used tool of business engagement. If you already use social media but haven’t already defined the picture you want cast, you might have already stuck your foot in your mouth. If you engage in social networks without thought, you can mess up your image without realizing it. Some of your customers might only know the virtual impression you leave. They won’t know how great you are to do business with in person. Your updates might paint a picture that your business is flaky or not trustworthy instead.
Your social media profiles should paint a positive picture of your business that draws in potential clients. Restricting what you post or having your public relations advisor edit what you say may seem like spoiling your fun or being unauthentic. When it comes right down to it though, making sales is the bottom line to social media interaction for businesses so it pays to do it with thought.
If you are part of the leadership of your business you need to be careful not to tarnish your company’s image through inappropriate social media interaction. In the past no customer cared what you did in your spare time. Today it is far too easy for others to get glimpses of how you spend your time and to see you in an unfavourable light if you have the wrong type of material leaking through your social network.
Tips for Identifying Your Brand
- The process of developing a business brand can be complex. Here are a few questions and tips that are designed to help you get started:
- Ask yourself what separates your business from other brands? What do you do that’s completely different?
- What sets you apart? That is, where do you shine that another similar business doesn’t?
- Take in inventory of businesses you admire or enjoy doing business with. What is it about them that draws you? What similar type attributes do you have that will make people come to you?
- You can ask existing customers what they like about your business. That’s referred to as crowdsourcing. Outside input can be very useful.
- If you were to picture your business as a person, what would that person be like?
If you aren’t sure of your company’s best assets you can take a battery of tests that will help identify your company’s top strengths. Or you might want to work with a professional branding expert.
Prepare for the Tangibles
The whole idea behind branding is to use it as a basis for your marketing campaign. The goal is that all the collected concepts will provide a foundation for what you want represented in your communications. In order to paint a more tangible picture of who you are, ask yourself these questions:
- What colour do I see my business as? Zesty red? Calming blue? Eager or environmentally friendly green?
- What do I want other people to think we are?
- What three or four key words might describe us (example: Intelligent; Compassionate; Solution Provider; Inspiring)?
- What do we want people to know we’ll do for them?
- What emotional response do we want to illicit when customers think of us?
- What picture do we want customers to have in their minds when they hear our name?
Keep Your Heritage
Who are you now is all part of who you will be next if it is advantageous to carry through. Some of the best businesses have a story behind them. Others tell great new stories in their marketing. Customers connect with stories.
Don’t negate any unique characteristics that make you who you are. Is yours a family business? People tend to admire and trust a business with a family line. It speaks expertise and commitment.
Look at your personality and ask if there are any parts that can be used to your advantage. As an example, what do you think of when you hear the names Martha Stewart or Julia Childs? Both of them were authentic homemakers. What they’ve done and promoted has been part and parcel with who they are/were. Other homemakers can relate to their suggestions because they’ve walked the talk.
What images come to mind when you think of your favourite pizza or burger outlet? Do they have personalities? Why does KFC still include Colonel Sanders in their branding? Why does Subaru use Sumo wrestlers in their advertising? What is the connection they want you to make?
All of these questions provide food for thought. Gather a few creative people around you to help you design your business direction. Sometimes it takes time to prove yourself and build your brand. Bit by bit your brand reputation will emerge.
Stay as consistent as you can and follow through on the promises you make and you should go far.
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