Companies such as Nike and Apple have turned branding into a science—and you can too
Take a branding stroll with me down memory lane for a moment. Do you recall when it was popular to wear product brand names prominently across your chest or even your bottom? Companies like Ralph Lauren, Coca-Cola and Calvin Klein really took advantage of creating huge marketing opportunities with the concept of self-branding.
Well, not too much has changed since then. Branding is evolving into an even bigger marketing goldmine through social media. Hardly a new marketing concept, personal branding was first introduced in a self-help book in 1937, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. As a new entrepreneur, I knew branding would be a vital component to the overall success of my business. Therefore, I didn’t’ take it lightly and dedicated my full attention to the process.
Branding is defined as the development in creating a unique name and image for a product or service in the consumers mind. My branding goal was aimed at establishing a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.
I started the branding process for my health-coaching business at a local coffee shop with a friend. I soon realized I would need additional time and guidance to ensure my brand was a true representation of my business and myself. I’m sharing a few insights I learned along the way that helped me and might help you whether you’re developing a brand now or want to refresh your image.
Do Your Research
Conducting thorough research on the onset of the branding process can potentially save your business money, time and even embarrassment in some cases. At the coffee shop, the iPad and iPhones were buzzing with all sorts of web searches that included website domain names and popular logos. I scribbled out several ideas and key words I wanted my brand to represent on a napkin.
During this phase of branding, I discovered several valuable resources for guidance and assistance. I attended a few SEO (search engine optimization) classes provided by a local university small-business development center. I also took advantage of online courses on the Foundations of Logo Designs and Brand Building Basics through Lynda.com. These classes were extremely helpful in providing me a bigger picture of how my brand could make a greater impact in social media with key knowledge and proper planning.
As a health coach, I wanted my brand to portray a theme that was relevant and real to my trade. I made a connection with the word “movements” but still felt it lacked personalization. So after a few more creative sessions, “Q Movements, Go Further Today” was created.
Once the brand is determined, your consistency will begin to play a major role on its reach. Because of the many social media marketing opportunities available for businesses, the main goal at this point is to be consistent throughout the outlets you decide to use. Your Facebook, You Tube, Vine or Google+ presence should all resemble the same theme and concept of your business, including logos, tag lines, colors and content.
Being consistent with your brand sounds easy and logical. However, given the speed at which technology and social media move, it can easily get away from you if you get complacent or lazy. I have a few logos designed for “Q Movements” for variety, but they all exhibit the same essence of the brand. My social media outlets are consistent with my website, which are in line with my print media and merchandise.
Consistency may sound boring but I assure you it’s fundamental to attracting your target market. As a result, I encourage continuous creativity within your brand so neither you nor your clients get bored and fade away.
Branding is an extension of your business and you. As a health coach, my life is centered on making healthy choices for myself with regard to fitness, nutrition and spirituality on the web as well as off. Therefore you could say I am always working. I enjoy wearing my merchandise and sharing information about my services with potential clients at the grocery store, church or whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Authenticity is essential in creating a successful lasting brand. Consumers know they have many choices and understand the value their loyalty adds to a brand. Consequently, fully living and embodying your brand can yield high returns for your business.
Branding was a great overall personal and business learning experience for me. I’m sure I’ll need to modify and tweak aspects of the brand as social media changes and my business evolves. In the meantime, having an awareness of these simple tips can also get your business in the marketing game and on the same playing field with brands like Nike and Apple. And if I play the game right, a new generation may be begging their parents for “Q Movements” products and services.
Article published on Latin Business Today website: http://latinbusinesstoday.com/2013/10/small-business-branding-whats-name/