One of the most important things you’re going to do as a business owner is create your brand. Your brand is a way to represent what your audience thinks, says, and feels about your products and/or services. Often, this has to be developed over time and is encompassed in not only the physical representation of your business, but also the feeling that develops in people over time when talking about or thinking about your business.
There are some do’s and don’ts you should consider when seeking to better brand your business. If you can remember that your brand is really all about your audience, and how you want them to feel than about you, it’ll be a lot easier. Branding is a long-term strategy that you’ll need to work on.
* Create a Plan of Action – You cannot properly brand your business without giving it a lot of thought in advance. While it may be something that is developed over time, it’s not done willy-nilly without a plan.
* Build Up Your Online Presence – Everything you do online represents your brand, from the colors you choose for your logo to the words you put on social media. In order to do that right, you have to set up a branding guide to help you and others remember what you want to represent.
* Build Up Your Offline Presence – While your business may be an “online business” today, it’s becoming more important to market your business offline too. If you truly want to be a brand people remember, don’t trap yourself into only being online. As the tools to get your products and/or services delivered to your audience change, you want to be ready.
* Watch Your Competition – You may be a step or two ahead of your competition, but you may not be. Checking up on how they’re doing things is essential to keeping yourself on track too. You want to do a little better than your competition and stay ahead of the game.
* Push Your Comfort Zone – It can be frightening to get your name out there, but you need to. Post articles, guest blog posts, and do interviews. Host webinars and teleseminars, and even publish a book. The more you can do to push your brand, the more people will start knowing who you are.
* Make Connections – Make connections that matter, both online and offline. Follow up with people you meet. Find creative ways to maintain the connections you make both online and offline. Consider sending a card in the mail, or a copy of an article you think they’ll enjoy.
* Blow Smoke – Don’t confuse branding with advertising. In advertising, a certain amount of smoke blowing is acceptable and legal. But, when it comes to branding, you don’t want to do that. You want to tell it like it is.
* Be Crazy on Social Media – You tell your kids that social media is dangerous, and one wrong picture will follow you forever; it’s true. Don’t post pictures of you living it up at that wedding, or hanging from the chandeliers at the bachelorette party. Keep your social media G-rated and appropriate for business.
* Lie – You need to be yourself and don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Lying about how much money you make, or about your experience, or about how well your business is doing is wrong (whether online or offline), and has no place in business.
* Avoid Offline Activities – It can be easy to get used to doing everything online if you have an online business. But, you have to remember that tools change. What used to seem like an anonymous adventure is now bringing people together in real life more than ever.
* Forget Your Call to Action – If you don’t ask people to take action, they won’t. Most people need to be told what to do next to make that next step.
Following these do’s and don’ts will help you with your business branding experience. The main take-away is to be yourself, realize it’s about your audience, not you, and that branding is a process that takes some time and will not happen overnight.