What is Branding?
Branding is a vital part of marketing because it is the image you project to the world.
Here are a few definitions I found online.
According to Entrepreneur.com, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors'. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.
According to the Branding Journal, you can consider a brand as the idea or image people have in mind when thinking about specific products of a company, both in a practical (e.g. “the shoe is light-weight”) and emotional way (e.g. “the shoe makes me feel powerful”). It is therefore not just the physical features that create a brand but also the feelings that consumers develop towards the company’s product. This combination of physical and emotional cues is triggered when exposed to the name, the logo, the visual identity, or even the message communicated.
The Tronvig Group says, Branding is the expression of the essential truth or value of an organization, product, or service. It is communication of characteristics, values, and attributes that clarify what this particular brand is and is not.
Branding is who your are, it's your story, your image, your behaviour. Understand your brand to ensure your marketing message reflects what you want it to represent about you. Click here to get your free Branding Workbook to define your brand.
Branding is Your Reputation
Your reputation is what people say about you when you aren't around based on their interactions with you, your product, your service, and your marketing message. Today, you are able to be part of your reputation's conversation online.
If someone posts a comment on social media about you or your business, you can address any negative comments and post gratitude for positive comments. By doing so you are building your reputation.
Each social media mention, online review, and all your digital marketing content work together to build a larger picture of your reputation. The more content the more complete the picture.
Don't fear digital comments, embrace them and build a virtual reputation that enhances your real world rep.
Branding Based on Your Strengths
Quick, make a list of everything you are good at. You know, those tasks that you are passionate about and do better than your competition.
Focus your marketing message, business, and services on these strengths to set yourself apart and create a reputation based on what comes easily to you.
As for those pesky weaknesses that could ruin your reputation? Either hire someone who is an expert at those tasks or find a strategic partner to work on projects together.
Brand Yourself as an Expert
What is the one thing you do that you do better than anyone else?
Create a marketing message based on that service, product, or skill and once you have saturated all the media channels, start talking about the next thing you are great at.
People want to hire or buy from someone they trust and knows what they are talking about. We want to deal with those people who can teach us something, who come across as experts because we want to know we are being taken care of by the best and not having the wool pulled over our eyes by a con artist.
Create a Personal Brand
Whether you own a business, are a professional, or on the corporate ladder fast track, creating a personal brand with a website will help increase your chances or being hired.
As a sales professional you can transport your reputation from one company to the next and benefit from having a portable customer base, image, and reputation. That way people buy from you and not the company you work for.
As a sales professional you are a personal business that contracts out their skills to businesses, even as an employee.
If you are a Realtor, Insurance Broker, Financial Planner, or any other 'Agent' type position, having a personal brand is vital to your success. At anytime you want to switch broker's there will be little disruption to your cliental because your personal address doesn't change, your website is still in operation, and your online reputation remain consistent.
Don't Hide Behind a Brand.
People like to buy from people the like and trust. They engage with people online more than businesses and brand logos.
No one wants to feel like they aren't getting personal service and they want to know whom they are communicating with. No one likes to talk to AI robots online, no matter how many businesses employ them.
Make sure your brand has a personal touch with a professional, clear, friendly headshot. Use the headshot on all your social media platforms for consistency.
Create an Authentic Brand
They say the best lies are the ones based on truth. Even the best liars can't keep all the facts straight and it is no different with your brand.
Customer dissatisfaction is due to brands missing expectations. No one likes to find out that the person they have been dealing with isn't what they say they are, or worse, whom we think they are.
No one likes to feel that they've been duped by a lie, a con, or a selfish jerk. We all want to deal with a person who provides the products and services they promise they will, or we expected they would.
Manage client's expectations by being open and transparent about what they can expect from you.
Create a Memorable Brand
Manage your customer's expectations by holding back on everything they can expect from you. When we receive what we expected to get we are satisfied, however, when we receive something we were not expecting to get - we are blown away.
If you want your customers to become your cheerleaders you have to surprise them with extras they didn't expect, either service or product add ons.
Create a marketing message that is trustworthy and authentic, but don't tell the whole story, hold something back. Managing expectations will make your life easier in the long run, providing a bonus surprise will make growth of your reputation faster.
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