The New Brand Benefit

bowIn a lot of ways starting a business and giving birth to a new brand can be an exciting process. No one knows who you are yet, so they have nothing to build an opinion on. On the other hand, since there is no formal introduction yet, everything about you is essentially rumour at this stage. A good place to start your brand is PR. Having a basic introductory website, and a weekly update to media, will help build interest and keep your information factual.
Any contact with suppliers and potential customers should alway be cordial. How you treat any contact at this initial stage, could set the tone of your new brand. Determine how you would like to be perceived and then strategize as to how you might influence this. Developing a positioning strategy that makes you the leader or the best at something will give your new brand resonance with your market. The worst thing you could do, is “follow the leader.” In doing this your brand offers nothing to the marketplace. Why bother existing at all? Every decision you make should assist in differentiating your new brand.
In discovering your difference, your launch can be exciting. You could be on your way to building a remarkable brand. Dream big! Don’t strive to be one of the best – strive to be the best. Just delivering good customer service isn’t enough – deliver the best service. Discover ways to over-deliver. Never forget that every thing you do affects the success of your brand. Don’t take designing your brand image lightly. An amateur attempt just reflects back on you. I’ve known some small businesses who took more interest in their decor than their brand image. Ultimately this shows in their success or lack there of.
Another important strategy is to build your “expert profile.” Your expert profile is your customer’s perception of your level of expertise. I typically recommend using Linkedin as a good start. Bringing your profile as close to 100% is a great way to get a handle on your level of expertise. Next round it out with a Facebook business page. But, I think that the number one activity that defines your expertise better than anything is blogging. It allows you to actively put your opinion out for all to see. With blogging the trick is to give away valuable information. It’s a lot of effort but the rewards over time can be extraordinary. I’ve not only gotten leads from blogging but press interviews and unique opportunities.
Your brand is in your hands. Ignore it and the competition will step up to define you. Own it, live it and strive from it.

My Self-Investment = Self-Confidence Rant!

whatisyourbrandI’m always trying to find ways to improve on what I do. I do a lot of reading, I reach out to people. I’m continually looking for great opportunities to get my message out there. I recently launched my new website that I had ported over to WordPress. Now my blog is within my site rather than at a separate location. I’ve also just launched my new ASK ED! question service. In the bag and ready for promotion is a 3 product mastermind like consulting packages that I will start promoting very soon. Also In the works is a new branding product for those in the graphic design industry and I’m also half way through my second book – “101 Branding Tips, Volume 2.”

All of this takes an investment in time, effort and money. It is frankly a dedication to self-investment. It’s important to keep the wheels in motion and continually and consistently delivering on the promise of being of value to my audience. What I see out there though (and on a regular basis) is a lack of self-investment. I can’t understand the attitude that to do nothing is acceptable. All businesses have peaks and valleys. I’ve heard every excuse why business is bad. Every time I’m involved in this discussion I ask “what are they doing to change this.” I get the same response – absolutely nothing. I do get lots of reasons for the lack of commerce, customer apathy, the bad economy, competition, advertising doesn’t work, promotion’s not for me, I’ve got no money, blah, blah, blah.

From my seat this lack of self-investment is a testament to their lack of self-confidence. These people WILL spend money on everything but the very things that will make them money. To do nothing delivers nothing. To wait is to add another excuse down the road – “shi*! I should’a done that 6 months ago!!!” If your self-confidence is waning, recognize it and do what have to to boost your moral. Join or start mastermind group. Network more. Speak to groups of people. A lack of self-confidence is written all over your face so there’s no hiding it. You either deal with it or suffer from it. This equates to your brand both personal and corporate. To do nothing defies logic.

Thanks for putting up with my mid-summer rant.

Get Your Expertise Out There

We are all experts in something. You might be humble in your discussion of your expertise, but be assured that you ARE an expert. I think that it’s imperative, that you share that expertise with your audience and allow them to benefit from with their exposure to you.

October has been a good month for exhibiting my expertise. On Tuesday past I spoke to 120 women leaders when I presented to Athena International in Chicago. Yesterday I was interviewed on List Builder Tele-Summit, an initiative spear-headed by Donna Ward and Rodney Rich. Next week, I’m featured at the grand opening of The new Windsor Small Business Centre at the University of Windsor signing my new book, 101 Branding Tips.

All three events were opportunities to expand my reach and profile my expertise. In all cases, it’s a great way to meet new people and see how I can potentially help them with their brands. In every case I am providing opinion free of charge to help those in attendance. It defines my brand, and in turn provides me with the opportunity to develop new leads. What do you do to share your opinion? It’s a great way to show your expertise in your category. It’s very much a three dimensional form of marketing your brand.

Challenge yourself to stand up and express your leadership topic. Put yourself out there and I can assure you that you WILL benefit from the effort. Outside of self-promotion another worthy effort is to mentor younger people with your expertise. It takes a leader to recognize the value in helping others grow. It’s rewarding on many levels.

Exhibiting Your Small Business – Why Exhibition Stands Make Sense

Why should a small business invest in an exhibition stand? The costs can seem prohibitive. However, those businesses that present themselves to the public not only earn back everything they put into the exhibition stand, but they generate tremendous amounts of potential revenue. In any business, retaining customers is essential, but creating new ones is equally vital.

In many ways, an exhibition stand functions as one of the most cost-effective methods of advertising and promotion. By securing a physical locale at a trade show or venue, a business can literally attract people who are interested in a particular product or service. By exchanging information with them at the stand, these businesses quickly build a base of people with which they can send product announcements or service launches. This highly targeted approach enables a company to create new customers at a much faster rate than with more blind avenues of advertising.

Meeting people in person is also highly underrated in an age where many transactions occur virtually. Small businesses may or may not have a large number of walk-in customers. In some cases, small businesses do not even have the facilities for a traditional reception area. An exhibition stand functions as a temporary reception area in a region swarming with likely customers. By being able to physically shake hands, hold a conversation, and generally communicate about interests, ideas, and requests, a small business can grow its sales. This is partially because people enjoy the human aspect of communication, and are more likely to buy a product from someone they feel they “know” than a company which has no human representation.

In this way, exhibition stands offer a competitive advantage against businesses that do not exhibit. This can be especially useful in “virtual” industries such as computer software or gaming. A product display, even if it is as simple as being able to view a function on a computer screen, is far more effective in person than in isolation. Generally speaking, exhibition stands should be staffed by highly genial, friendly members of the small business. If the small business owner does not choose to work the stand, he should send his most affable sales representative to do so.

By creating a positive impression in people’s minds, positive word of mouth invariably follows. Exhibition stands excel in this regard, especially if people feel welcome and informed. If a visitor to the stand meets a friendly representative of the company and is given a short but informative tour of the product or service, that visitor will ultimately describe her experience in positive terms to anyone else she meets. This kind of personal recommendation is invaluable, and will only aid in the acquisition of more new customers.

Small businesses should research local events, gatherings and other business oriented locales to determine the best time and place for their exhibition stand. The question is not whether or not to invest in a stand, but rather whether to do so now, or a few weeks from now.

Resource:

Find out more about exhibition stands at the the Nimlok website.