I love lists. I've told you before, I'm a fan of lists to help me track progress, keep me focused on my goals, and to plan my day. An actual to-do list for projects is super handy. It helps me organize my thoughts and makes me less likely to forget stuff when things get really busy. I'm thinking about branding this week and I think a list is a good place to start. Here's a list I'd like you to make. When your customers hear your company name, what do you think comes to mind? Write down everything you imagine they associate with your business.
I'm guessing the first things on your list are the products or services you provide. That's a good place to start. What's next on the list? Hopefully something! Maybe good customer service, or being a trusted expert, or selling a quality product. Was it easy coming up with the rest of the list? How you answer that might depend on how tight and consistent your branding is. The more consistent, the more likely your customers are to "know" your company.
Branding isn't just for big companies. While giants like Apple, Amazon, Nike and others have perfected it — and spent millions doing so — that doesn't mean us little guys (and girls!) can afford to ignore our own branding. It affects how people — customers and potential customers — will perceive your business. And perception is everything, baby! (Almost.) So, small company, small budget... how do you brand your way to more recognition?
Friends Don't Let Friends Do Bad Branding!
A big part of branding is image. Literally, as in actual images. When it comes to the images you use to represent your business — whether on a business card, your website, social media, packaging, etc. — they should be consistent. This doesn't mean they have to be identical, but there should be a similar look and feel to them. You don't want to have a modern-looking logo sitting in the middle of a retro-looking website. That would make a confusing, jumbled visual statement. Definitely not what you want! So take a look at the visuals you're using and see if it's time to change any of them. That's a good step one in the branding process.
Now would also be a good time to revisit and re-evaluate all your messaging to make sure that it fits with your brand and the image you want to project. If it seems off, or confusing, contradictory or dated, then update it. If you're the business owner, sometimes it's hard to get enough distance to be able to discern what's good and what's gotta go. Enlist the help of a friend or trusted colleague (one who does not work for you) or mentor and have them tell you what they think. Ask them to be brutally honest, then try your best to take it like a grownup! Don't take it personally and get offended if they say something negative. Just consider their feedback as your chance to improve your image, messaging and branding for free. I do recommend taking them for a cocktail later to make sure you two are still good! Maybe dinner if the session was especially tough. But that's about all it'll cost you.
Partner Up To Increase Your Following!
I think you might know what I'm going to say next, since I mentioned it already. What's your social media presence and are you getting everything you can out of it? It's mostly free(!) and can be a great tool for customers to find their way to you. Once they do, you can keep them informed, interested and excited about your company. Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook... all great tools to project the image you want. You're in charge of your posts. You tell the story you want to tell, both visually and verbally. It takes time and thought to do a good job, but the reach the Internet gives you is invaluable. Consider hiring someone to help with this if it's not your forte. If you can do it yourself, even better! And cheaper! Love that.
You might also consider partnering with someone who can help influence your brand, as in an influencer. They're a thing now in the world of marketing so don't discount their power or... I can't avoid saying it... influence. The benefit of teaming up with someone who has an already-established following is that you can extend your reach and audience every time they post about your business. This is also a great strategy for anyone looking to reach a younger audience since most influencers are between the ages of 25-34, with the second biggest group being 18-24. Another way to partner is to join forces with a business or group that has a similar audience as yours, but that doesn't directly compete with you. This can be a very effective way to reach more people and reinforce your branding without breaking the bank.
Be Oh So Quotable This Week!
For a little throw-back fun, take a look at me on Fox Business (a few years ago) talking about five business branding lessons we can learn from the NCAA.
While you're improving your branding, do you also want to eliminate frustration and increase cash? Discover 8 simple ideas to get clients, identify the three types of clients and create your sales system. Get Our Top 5 Strategies right here for FREE!
I always say running a business means the work never ends! Ain't that the truth? I bet your to-do list is a mile long! Make sure that the items at the top of your list are the things that relate to being more profitable. Everyone is so proud of being so "busy"...But Are You Making Any Money? Don't be too busy to focus!
Check out the summary of last week's business tips and motivational quotes from my Instagram page which you hopefully got to see in real time! If not, let's make sure we're following each other on Instagram!! So...here is this week's roundup of Instagram images of My Top Business Tips and Motivational Quotes.
Branding – Tip #1:
"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently." – Warren Buffett
Branding – Tip #2:
"Your personal brand is what differentiates you from others." – unknown
Branding – Tip #3:
"The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity and accountability." – Simon Mainwaring
Branding – Tip #4:
"Your personal brand is a promise to your clients… a promise of quality, consistency, competency, and reliability." – Jason Hartman
Branding – Tip #5:
"If you’re not branding yourself, you can be sure others do it for you." – unknown
Let's talk! I'd love to hear how you've approached branding your small business!
Is branding something you're good at, or has it taken you a few tries? I would LOVE to hear from you! Anyhoo...I publish these business tips and motivational quotes to get you fired up for your work week!
Oh by the way, in case you're looking for something to help with time management, we've got this fun little quiz to test your productivity. Are you a Vodka & Red Bull? A Dirty Dirty? Or a plucky Blue Sapphire? Find out which cocktail you are by taking our quiz right now!
P.S. Of course that's not all we've got! Searching for more tips about running a business?
Then definitely take a look at these:
I'd love to hear your ideas! So please comment below and then SHARE!
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