Archives for March 2013

How to Benefit From A Cohesive Brand Strategy

bragAn interesting brand strategy to me has always been putting the owner’s persona front and center. Make them the face and voice of the brand. Everything we read today speaks to the relationships we build with customers. Make ’em smile when they see you coming. Volunteering for local charities. Networking. A good number of small business professionals I come into contact with invest a lot of face-time in their markets. These efforts make their names synonymous with their brands. In the greater world, think of Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. As you read each name, no one had to tell you the company behind each. Attaching the visionary to your brand image extends the effort you put out to a greater effect. Relationships extend to your marketing and sales, benefiting from your notoriety in the marketplace.

Humility often gets in the way of this strategy. It may seem like boasting, but if you identify yourself as a product for the greater good of the brand, then the benefit becomes obvious. By coupling the two you would also benefit from the fact that your marketplace won’t view the brand and the very public owner as two separate entities. As it stands, the public owner is seen as the pillar of the company. If they were to die tonight, most would view the brand as vulnerable. Viewed as a spokesperson on the other hand, the company has brand cache of it’s own. It carries on in the spirit of the spokesperson, i.e.: Walt Disney. Of course this strategy takes some nurturing, but at the very least it can be argued that cohesiveness of efforts bears more fruit than separate strategies for a common goal.

So You Want To Build A Brand.

brand buildingWhere does one start to build a brand? Do you just let nature dictate, or should you plant your own seeds and nurture it along? My answer has to be the latter. As I see brand as essentially your reputation, I often tell start-ups to determine what they’d like their brand to stand for and then to work to that end. I think that that’s a little easier than to trip along unengaged with who you are and what you stand for.

I also think that you should differentiate your brand from the get-go. If you use differentiation as a strategy, then you can analyze the competition and then do something different then they are doing. Use them as a “what not to do model.” The strategy here is to resonate with your customers by positively standing out. It’s not to be different for the sake of being different, but different by being better – a leader. Your brand image should reflect something other than them. Most industries use a follow the leader mentality. Look at the leading brand in a category, more often those competing against the leader use the same colour palettes, the same images and the same conversation.

You want to own the conversation and attract by your difference. Values you adopt and consistently abide by will see you go from start-up to flourishing. Your brand values define you and your brand. Who ever you decide to become, be sure to be authentic and passionate. Branding can be your friend and positively affect every touch point of your brand.

Are You Holding You Back?

stressedIs your brand continually evolving? Are you always watching for tools and education to put more opportunity in your cross-hairs? Just last year I fine-tuned my website. I really thought the look and functionality was exactly what my brand reflected. In the year or more since that re-do I recognized that to update or improve the sight I really should have not completed it in html (which I did myself). I am now in a major re-do porting the site to a WordPress platform. This is beyond me so I had to engage the services of a professional in this area. I’m anxious to get the flexibility that this platform allows.

Are you finding it easy to get the brand information and/or training you need to help you grow your brand? I’ve signed up for a few webinars and online lectures only to have them deliver generalities. I leave with more questions than answers. You come to realize that the webinar is really just a come-on in a complicated sales funnel. This can happen in a paid webinar as well. I set my sights low in many things that I attend. I am usually just looking for a nugget or two that can help me more effectively deliver my products. When I deliver to my clients, I often ask myself if this is how I would like to be treated? Is this price point something I would consider paying?

Do you monitize your services? Do you find it difficult to do? I’m curious to know what platforms you find advantageous and are you and your audience having an enjoyable experience working together? I’ve seen just having a book out there draws people to you and your brand experience. When you have a strong brand, you’ll find yourself in demand for your opinion. How many people offer to buy you a coffee to get your opinion on something? These questions are exacting the reason I found that the platform of my website was sorely lacking to allow me to quickly adjust to new revenue streams. I like to react immediately not six months or more down the road. My brand expects me to jump while the iron is hot. Who better to invest in than myself? A few thousand well-directed dollars can make a HUGE difference in how your brand develops.

How many people do you know, who whine on about the economy but do nothing to develop opportunities that will will positively impact their businesses? It’s as thought their answer is to ignore the problems and success will eventually find its way to them. I wish that were true but it’s never worked that way for me. I’ve always had to create my own opportunities. It’s like the old adage. “I seems the harder I work, the luckier I get.”

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