5 Quick Tips in Promoting Your Brand in 2008
When you put your mark or “brand” cattle, you take a hot iron and burn a symbol onto the backsides of your animals so that anyone can recognize a stray as belonging to you. If you “brand” your small business, you market it in such a way that anyone seeing your promotions will recognize them as belonging to your products and services. How you brand your business is important. It is how the public perceives your business; and someone once said perception is reality. Consider these slogans: “Good to the last drop;” “Don’t leave home without it;” “Just do it.” If you recognized them as belonging to Maxwell House, American Express, and Nike, then they did a good job branding their products and services. But slogans are just one part of creating a successful brand.Here are five other things to consider in creating a brand for your business this New Year:
1. ValuesWhat does your business stand for? Are you dedicated like Avis? (“We try harder.”) Reliable like Federal Express? (“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.”) Confident like Braniff Airlines? (“When you got it, flaunt it.”)Before you brand your business, you have to determine how you want your target market to perceive you. You might think it’s a good idea to be flirty and fun in your promotions (consider the new Pepto Bismol commercials), but if your promotions don’t accurate represent your values, then they don’t accurately represent your business. First impressions are important, and you want that first impression to communicate those key values.2. PersonaIf you’ve ever listened to radio commercials for the Shane Company, you recognize the monotonous voice of CEO Tom Shane, who personally promotes their jewelry. While you may not want him to MC a big social event, he represents the stability and reliability of the Shane Company. You wouldn’t expect that persona to mislead or cheat you. But persona is communicated through more than just the radio voice-over. Consider your logo, the type-face you use, the personality and style of your promotional materials. Do you want your persona to be fresh and vibrant? Dynamic and reliable? Steady and dependable? The important thing is to recognize the persona you want for your business and ensure that every promotion you run adequately represents that persona.3. CostWhile most business owners don’t like to figure cost into the branding-equation, it’s important to recognize that it does influence the perception of your business. So why not be proactive and include it? Consider companies that state outright that they charge what they’re worth so that you get what you deserve. That type of honesty will be recognized as part of your brand.4. RangeWhat range of services do you offer? Consider Universal Accounting Center’s slogan: “If it’s about accounting, it’s Universal.” This slogan alone implies a range. Once the audience recognizes that UAC offers training, they can expect that anything having to do with accounting can be taught by Universal. Your brand should also include a range of services. The last thing you want is for potential clients to expect certain services only to realize you can’t fulfill their needs.5. BenefitsWhat benefits do you offer current and potential clients? This requires you to know your industry and articulate the edge you have over your competition. Consider State Farm Insurance: “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” The insurance industry is often viewed as cold and calculating. State Farm tries to communicate that their friendly and compassionate service is unlike any other insurance company. You should communicate the advantages your clients will experience because they’re working with you.
When you are determining your brand, it is a “long-term investment” in your marketing strategy. You need to be certain with what you decide upon, because you will be living with it for 5 to 10 years. A local company decided to place in the marketplace, amateurish, slightly obnoxious commercials, with outrageous costumes, and the like. Now five years later, they have branded themselves as those guys with the annoying commercials. Whatever you decide on, follow through with it and build it so when someone hears your jingle, or your catchphrase, they automatically think of your company.
Once you’ve gone through these five elements and have defined your brand, you should be sure it’s communicated in everything that represents you: your website, your promotional materials, your storefront, your business cards. Everything about your business should include this brand. And once your target market comes to recognize your brand, you’ll find they’ll come to you for the services they need.
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