This is a guest post by Matt Powers, if you want to guest post on this blog, please contact us.
There is a misconception when it comes to what a brand really is. It’s not just the Golden Arches of McDonalds, the Nike Swoosh, or Apple’s the half-eaten piece of fruit. A brand is more than just a logo, color scheme and slogan. It is the statement of your company.
McDonalds’ brand tries to convey good food, fast, and at the lowest possible price. Nike prides themselves on being the shoe/clothing company of the world’s finest athletes and Apple is innovative, easy and the best looking products in technology.
For entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses without a large team of marketing professionals to establish what is and is NOT good for a company, establishing a brand can be a difficult task. There are some key brand strategies you should implement when developing a brand for your company.
Strategy #1: Have a Plan
First things first, you have to develop a plan of attack before employing any other strategies. What is your brand trying to accomplish? We all aren’t out to sell products. Maybe you run an online blog and you are looking for reads and subscriptions to increase advertising on the site. Others may be looking to sell their services like landscaping, computer repair or construction. Make a clear statement of what your brand is trying to do.
Who is your target audience? Don’t say everyone. Nike doesn’t target everyone, they target athletes. Unless you’re coming out with the next Google, your demographic isn’t “everyone”. The answer will become clearer over time, but you should have a good idea of what type of people you are looking to reach. If you are a local business there is no need to chase leads across the country. The time and effort it may take to snatch up an extra client won’t be worth the money.
What is the end goal? This should be the easy part, conversions. How you get there depends on how you execute the next steps.
Strategy #2: Define Your Brand
Your brand should help compliment what your company stands for. Create a persona for your brand. Describe its personality, positioning statements and develop a solid backstory. These should all stay consistent with what your company believes in.
Do you work in a fun, relaxed work environment? Stay true to that with your branding efforts. Whatever stance you take, these attributes should stand pat throughout your other advertising/marketing campaigns.
Zappos is known for being a fun company, with great employee culture and customer service; and that branding truly comes across in all their marketing and advertising. When defining your brand and what you want to emphasize, stay in line with who you really are.
Strategy #3: Don’t be Afraid to Copy
Establish your competition. Your company isn’t fighting for supremacy with every other business in the world. Your efforts might not even be to go against the top of your niche/industry. Find where you rank and which companies you should consider to be your closest competitors.
Check to see how they embrace their brand. Recognize what they are doing and see how you can improve on what they are doing. We don’t have to be completely original in how we do business. We are all just trying to one up each other in all reality.
Strategy #4: Embrace Social Media
Embracing social media is becoming bigger and more important, especially for online businesses. ‘Liking’, ‘tweeting’, ‘+1’s’ and social sharing now have a larger impact on your rankings in the search engines.
Google+ and Facebook have just given a facelift to the layouts of their brand pages to make them more attractive to businesses. Large cover art photos, more descriptive histories, improved picture galleries and more customization gives companies an excellent opportunity to better show off their brands.
Twitter is great way to give your brand a voice. Old Spice does a great job embracing their brand on twitter taking on the personality of their new spokesperson Terry Crews.
Strategy #5: Measure the Effectiveness
Great, you’ve taken all the appropriate steps and implemented all the key factors into your brand strategy. That’s all well and good, but doesn’t necessarily equal success…at least not immediately. There is still work to be done.
Test to measure the effectiveness of your strategy. Ask questions, poll your customers, clients, vendors and employees to see if they have the same impressions. Review your results and make the appropriate changes. This doesn’t mean you have to go back to the drawing board if you don’t see the results you desired. Small subtle changes may be all it takes to make the right impression and finally see an increase in conversions.
About the Author!
Matt Powers is an Internet Marketer at Blue Soda Promo, an online promotional products company. BSP imprints logos on items like custom tote bags, polo shirts, koozies, sunglasses and stress balls at ridiculously low prices. We make your brand POP!