I hear marketing folks throw the word branding around expecting everyone to know what they mean in the context of online marketing. Then, I have clients ask me all the time:
What exactly is branding?
The official definition:
- To mark with or as if with a hot iron.
- To mark to show ownership.
- To provide with or publicize using a brand name.
- To impress firmly; fix ineradicably: “Imagery of the war has branded itself into the national consciousness.”
How does this apply to your website or online business? By being aware of the image your business portrays and working to “brand” your business, you are setting yourself apart. Apart from all the noise and competition out there going after the same market you are.
Branding efforts set you apart by how the impression, the “look”, of your brand makes theme feel. This includes logos, site colors and style including what your business stands for. A look and feel that is relayed consistently everywhere someone may run into your company. Online, off-line and all social media platforms.
I've been asked about my competition. To which I always respond “I don't have any.” I'm not saying there aren't folks who do what I do, some even better than I or are in the same field with great reputations. There most certainly are.
While there may be perceived competitors there are a rare few who have been doing this as long and as successfully as I have. So my brand is all about me, my personality and the years of experience that cannot be offered by most. I am my brand.
Notice how I said “perceived” competitors. Your branding efforts depend on you doing all you can to ensure that your brand, your company name, your methodology, when logically compared to others in your industry, will not be perceived as competitors.
Because your brand sets you apart and there is no comparison!
But there's the rub… We live in a culture with the attention span of a gnat. Onliners don't want to read, they don't take the time to pay attention to details and unfortunately, they don't have much of a desire for knowledge acquisition. So how do you tackle that?
Realize there is only so much you can do and that you can't be everything to everyone — so brand yourself to cater to your target market. But brand you must!
Figure out what is unique about you, your company, your product or service. Then use that consistently in everything you do and in every marketing effort you make. You need to clearly be different than any other website or similar business. You want to stick out like a sore thumb and be remembered!
That's how you brand! Whether it be a slogan or a methodology that carries over to all actions and reactions that involve your business. Sit down right now and determine what is going to represent your brand. Words, images, icons, colors?
Being I am a one-woman-show, I am my brand and I do not hesitate to let my personality shine through. That in of itself sets me apart from most techies who may lack in the personality department. Combined that with my particular set of skills and experience, there really is no other “me” out there.
Tell Your Story
- Why did you start your business?
- What’s your start-up history?
- Who are your main characters?
- What’s your mission?
For a brand story to work, it must go beyond a brand’s products and services. Your story should invite site visitors to become part of your journey. You want to them to know that you “get” who they are and understand their needs.
Also including where you struggled, maybe even failed, and how you recovered let's your customers get to know you. That you are human just like them. If they can relate to you — chances are they'll do business with you.
Branding = Consistency
One of the primary ways I brand myself is using the same handle on all forums and social media sites, my sign-off and the name of this site “At Your Service…”. I solidify that further by having the best and most responsive customer service out there (that is a rare commodity on and off-line).
Once folks begin communicating with me, compared to most they've run into, I make an impression. I've made my “mark with or as if with a hot iron.” And, I deliberately reinforce that branding as our relationship grows and matures.
Check out this interesting report Top 5 Branding Trends for 2019. You might become inspired or at the very least learn a bit more about the importance of branding and how it can work for you!
At your service,