What the Heck is Branding and Why Should I Care?

 


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There's been a lot of buzz lately about branding. But what exactly is it, and who needs to do it? Simply put, a brand is what makes your business uniquely YOU! It's the way you present your business and how the world perceives it. And, importantly, it's the way your clients remember you when it comes time to make another purchase. Branding encompasses your key marketing messages and tagline, logo, marketing materials, image, and your clients’ complete experience with you from start to finish.

Do you think branding is just for those big companies, like FedEx and Coca-Cola? No way! Branding is just as important to small business owner like us. By creating a unique image and message, we tell the world what we're all about. And if potential customers like what they see, they're sure to become money-making clients!

Okay, so you have a great logo, and you use it on your brochure and business card. That's a great start to building an image for your company. But, have you taken it any further? Perhaps you have a unique concept that identifies your company, or a specific clientele, or a great customer service policy.

However your brand yourself, make sure you're carrying it over to ALL aspects of your business. Consistency in your image and message is so important to portray your company's vision. When potential clients see your brochure or web site, they get an idea of your services, your personality, your commitment to them as customers, and the way you do business. Don't have an identity crisis by mixing messages. Stick to one key concept, and do it well!

GETTING STARTED

While branding your business may seem overwhelming, it's really quite simple! Ask yourself these questions:

1. “What services or products do I offer?"
2. “What do people think when they hear my name?"
3. “What sets me apart from others in my field?"
4. “What do I want my clients to remember about their experience with me?"
5. “What type of clients do I want to work with?"

By answering these questions, you're on your way to determining not only your key marketing message and tagline, but also your choice client and unique position in your industry.

CONSISTENCY ACROSS THE BOARD Are all of your connections with your clients consistent? Make a powerful presence in your industry by incorporating your branding into every opportunity for client contact:

  • marketing materials (brochures, business cards)
  • web site
  • letterhead and thank you notes
  • newsletters and e-zines
  • proposals, invoices, receipts, and other forms
  • postcards and other keep-in-touch direct mail methods
  • presentations, handouts, and report covers
  • advertising and media interaction
  • thank you gifts
  • your 60-second commercial
  • voice mail messages and on-hold music
  • email signatures
  • your personal appearance

    Remember, your brand is your promise of the experience that your clients expect and receive from you! I encourage each of you to take some time this month to determine and declare your brand. You'll make it easy for your clients to have a distinct mental image of you. And not only will your clients better understand your offerings, YOU will declare your position to yourself, helping with all future marketing efforts!

    Copyright 2005 Time to Organize. All rights reserved.

    Sara Pedersen, author of the FREE e-zine “The Marketing Fairy's Guide to Simple Self Promotion, " is a professional organizer and marketing specialist. She helps small business owners make their marketing dreams come true. Sign up today at http://www.time2organize.net to receive your FREE monthly subscription.

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