Using the Power of Your Brand to Open Multiple Sales Channels

We’ve looked a lot at branding theory and examples, but haven’t spoken much about how to directly monetize it, so that is the topic for the final post of this month on branding.  We’re going to look at several different sales channels, and how you can leverage the power of your brand to create sales or improve the volume of existing sales of your product or service. Direct Sales – Building up a name and reputation as a reliable provider means that you have the potential to generate sales from people who come looking directly for you or your website.  Make sure that you have SEO done on your site so that people looking for a provider in your niche are more likely to find you than your competitors. Social Media – Social media is great for increasing sales by enabling you to offer all kinds of interesting promotions and coupons that offer exclusive benefits for those who find them via social media.  This has the side benefit of making your marketing investments into social media extremely easy to quantify in terms of efficacy.  Building a strong brand also helps with word-of-mouth spreading via social media. Targeted Ads – When …

When You Should Forego Branding for Larger Concerns

We’ve talked an awful lot about all aspects of branding recently.  As the month draws to a close, I’d like to address something you don’t often hear about much: the times when you should stop worrying about brand building and focus on other, larger concerns instead.  It’s easy for people to get so caught up in self-promotion that they lose sight of some of the core fundamentals related to successfully selling their product or service.  Here are a couple examples of times that you should ease up on your branding concerns and refocus your energies elsewhere: Before Your Product or Service is Perfected – Believe it or not, I’ve spoken with dozens of business owners who have become heavily involved in the promotion of their product or service…before they had much more to show for it that a prototype and hopes for the future.  While getting the word out is certainly important, it is equally important to have more to offer than smoke and mirrors, should opportunity come knocking. When You May Need to Re-Brand in the Near Future – Perhaps your business is about to develop a new product that will revolutionize the market place.  It may also revolutionize …

Some More In-Depth Branding Tips

We’ve looked a lot at general branding; do’s, don’t, examples of great work by companies, and some not so great work.  Today we’re going to look at some more in-depth branding tips that go beyond the simple ‘be consistent’ tips that most basic branding advice seems to boil down to.  In no particular order, here are a few: Develop a Good Slogan – A good slogan or tagline can be one of the most memorable things about a business.  Most organizations give some thought to developing one, but they never test it, and once they come up with an idea the original owners like, the issue is considered settled.  Instead, a slogan should be tested and developed so that it resonates well with your target demographic, not your own leadership. Use the Press – Take advantage of the local media in your region.  Issue press releases, keep in contact with local reporters, and even search online for blogs on interest in your niche and specialty.  With the growth of social media, it is easier than ever to build credibility by accumulating references on various press and media related sites, which directly translate into you being perceived as an expert in …

When to Seriously Consider a Full Re-Branding

We’ve been taking an in-depth look at branding this month, but there is one important aspect we haven’t spoken about in quite a while that we should definitely revisit: re-branding.  While people obviously want to avoid this whenever possible, in certain circumstances and situations, it just makes more business sense to proceed with re-branding an organization and moving forward in a different direction than with investing further capital into the current brand.  Here are a few examples: Serious Damage Done to Original Brand – The most common examples of re-branding can be seen by observing businesses that are trying to compensate for a damaged original brand.  Whether this was due to a lawsuit, a PR disaster, or any other reason, if your brand has suffered enough damage, sometimes you just need to toss it and start fresh. Organization Adopts New Strategic Direction – Business plans do change and develop over time.  In fact, smaller, more agile businesses can do so with alarming frequency, given correct market conditions.  If your business or organization adopts an entirely new strategic direction, it can make sense to re-brand yourselves at the same time you begin implementing your new strategy to provide a truly new …

Three Essential Steps to Building a Long-Lasting Brand

We’ve been looking a lot recently at different examples of branding; some large companies, some smaller, some ideas that have worked, and some haven’t.  For today’s article, we’re going to get back to basics and take a look at three essential steps that should be involved in the building of any brand.  No matter what you are trying to sell or what sort of organization you are trying to build, your efforts should always contain these three basic elements and actions if you want your brand to be successful and long lasting: Consistent Application –From day one, attempt to be as consistent as possible in the application of your brand.  Brands develop as people begin to associate the idea of a certain product or service with a company over time, and the public simply won’t make such associations if their interactions with you and your organization do not consistently deliver the same experience to them. Persistence – Successful brands are built and sustained over time; Rome wasn’t built in a day either.  This means that you have to constantly be mindful of your position in the market, and your interactions with customers, both current and potential.  Never lose an opportunity …

3 Epic Failures in Branding ‒ What Were They Thinking?

It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s even better if you can learn from the mistakes of others. Here are three recent examples of branding failures you’ll want to avoid: 1.  Kmart  Poor Kmart. In what looks like an attempt to cover for not having enough merchandise on the shelves, Kmart launched its “Ship Your Pants” campaign, assuring unhappy consumers that if their desired item wasn’t in stock, they could pay for it in-store and have it shipped to their homes. OK, it’s a funny joke. But since families are Kmart’s bread and butter, they’ve always maintained an uncontroversial, middle of the road brand image. Suddenly we’re associating the Kmart brand with having a load in our pants. The takeaway: don’t use excrement to promote your brand. 2.  JC Penney In an effort to revitalize drooping sales, the venerable Penney’s brand decided to get hip and appeal to a younger market. So they redesigned their logo, discontinued a boatload of merchandise, got rid of cash registers, and cut the whole concept of sales and discount coupons. The result? The brand’s strongest supporters, customers who’d been shopping at Penney’s for years, were driven away in droves. Now the brand is …

The 3 Keys to Brand Visibility ‒ Simplicity, Sociability, Sincerity

Some people will tell you that visibility is achieved by being the loudest guy in the room; that to win the prize you have to win the shouting match. I don’t believe that’s true. Being loud and persistent definitely gets you noticed ‒ but usually not in the way you’d like. When your brand is both recognized and respected, success will come. To open the door to lasting, positive visibility for your brand, use these keys: Remember the simple stuff Your best publicity comes from your personal network. Nobody wants to see your small business succeed more than your friends, your happiest clients, and your close professional allies. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials and recommendations! If you’re worried about coming on too strong, create an incentive program to reward their support. Not everything has to happen in the online world. Promotional giveaways still work. Try finding a small promotional product that meshes well with your business ‒ a flash drive for your software company, or a canvas tote bag for your recycling enterprise, for example ‒ and get your business name out in the public eye. Use social media Expand your network with social media. Join LinkedIn groups, …

Components of a Strong Brand: Knowing Your Target Market

What is branding? However you try to pin it down, great branding is hard to define ‒ but it’s easy to recognize. Try this little exercise: close your eyes for a second, and picture the customers enjoying a cappucino at Starbucks. It was easy, right? That’s because Starbucks knows exactly who their target market is ‒ so you do, too. Having a clear understanding of your target market is one way to start building a great, memorable brand. Here’s a quick overview of how it works: Define your ideal customer Begin by putting together a profile of your ideal customer ‒ the person who is most likely to purchase your product or pay for your service. Consider as many variables as you can, including age group, gender, location, income level, and marital/family status. Each one of these factors will have an influence on the way you tailor your marketing, and the way that customers will respond to it. Do some hard-core research You might feel like you don’t have the time or resources to put into market research. But research is the nuts and bolts of good branding, and without it you’ll have nothing under your feet but dreams. Organize …