If you are a business owner who works and runs your business alone, you have to brand your business and that could be a struggle!
Knowing that branding is a key element of building a successful business, did you ever sat down to carefully think about your branding strategy?
You might be thinking…yeah, but I’m no Coca-Cola, Nikes, or McDonalds and don’t see when I’ll have a team of people dedicated to manage my branding like these guys do and furthermore, I have no idea of the types of strategies and tactics they use to build their brands.
Don’t despair, as branding isn’t just for the big boys and girls any more. Solopreneurs and small business owners can brand their business effectively as well once they know how. So without further ado, let’s dive into the subject and see what branding really is and how it can help grow your business.
What is branding?
Usually, people do not care about your brand, product, or service—they care about their own needs and interests. Therefore, your brand is your promise to your customers.
Tell them what to expect from your products and services, and what differentiates your offerings from that of your competition. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.
Be aware that branding is crucial whether you’re a one-man show or a large global company. It will allow you to reach your share of the market and put your stake in the ground with much credibility and enable costumers to make quick decisions about why they should buy from you.
Step 1. Let them hear about you. Let them know you exist.
Step 2. Explain what you do.
Step 3. Let them understand your uniqueness.
When they try out your products and services, they will get the feel of your added value and decide if it fits with their ultimate needs and wants, thus acknowledging an instant recognition, good or bad. Here’s an example:
A lot of consumers are turning to ‘greener’ products, or ones that are all natural.
Imagine you’re in the toothpaste aisle at your local supermarket. A tube of Colgate is selling for $3, next to a tube of Crest for $3, next to a no-name brand for $2, next to a Tom’s of Maine natural toothpaste for $4. Which will a consumer pick up?
Tom’s started in 1970, so at that time, it was one of the new kids on the block and had to go head to head with Crest and Colgate, but it achieved market share because of what the brand represented, a healthy alternative when it comes to brushing your teeth.
The vast majority of people pick up one of the brands they’ve heard of. They assume that because the company has a strong brand, the product is better and they have a higher chance of having a good customer experience.
If they have tried it in the past, they will know which taste they prefer. They will tend to buy it no matter what the price is.
However, they can also be swayed into trying something new if the price is right and if it fits in with their values, such as the Tom’s of Maine tube.
But no matter what, the key element here is that people have to know that these brands exist!
That is why it is so important that you, as a solopreneur, build your brand awareness; in other words, make your target customer aware that you exist.
Business Branding Statistics
Studies have shown that ‘it takes 17 exposures to a brand before the brand even starts to register on a consumer’s ‘radar’’, and even then, if they are not interested in that niche, they will not be able to get them to try the product.
That being said, if your wife is a tennis player, you might take a peak in her equipment bag to see what she buys and get some to offer her as a gift or go to the sporting goods store to ask the salesperson for help. I’ll bet you that the recommendation will be for one of the top name brands.
If you don’t have branding, it will be a lot harder to conquer your share of the market or have anyone to pay attention to you.
The good news is…we live in a world of information and technology and thanks to the Web, it is now simple and easier than ever to brand yourself so that you will be instantly recognizable and people will know how you can serve them best.
Your brand reputation will grow with time, and might suffer from negative publicity on social media networks, for example, but rest assured, there are a number of ways to build your brand effectively to connect with your target market and generate revenue.
Being able to manage and control what is being said about you on the web has never been so crucial to your personal and professional success. That is why I highly recommend the all new Reputation Management Made Simple training course just released by a great mentor of mine, Connie Ragen Green.
“A good reputation is more valuable than money.” ~ Publilius Syrus
PS: For transparency, I am an affiliate of Connie’s course. However, I recommend it as someone who is a paid up member and active student of it and as someone who has gained a lot of value from it.
More on business branding in next blog post. Stay tuned!
Further reading: Branding – It’s More Than Just Your USP ~ Karen Thackston
Janice Dugas is a social media consultant, strategist, trainer, speaker and bestselling co-author. Works with entrepreneurs to increase Web visibility and have their businesses shine online. Stay connected on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.