The word brand came from cattle ranchers, they would burn a symbol into a cow’s hide with a hot iron to clearly show which ranch it belonged to. This wasn’t just any symbol, it was unique and easily identifiable by its own unique syntax and morphology.
So, you’re thinking what’s this got to do with branding? Well, just the same as cattle ranchers wanting their cattle to be easily identified, as an expert in your field, you want your message to be easily identified from a sea of other brands that are similar to yours, and you do this by branding the minds of your target audience. Think of your message as a hot and fiery iron. You take that message and sear it into the minds of your target audience. Just stop and think about that…….it means that you don’t brand services or products, what you brand
Think of your message as a hot and fiery iron. You take that message and sear it into the minds of your target audience. Just stop and think about that…….it means that you don’t brand services, or products, what you brand is the minds of your target audience with your hot transformational message. You do this automatically without thinking about it, every time you post content on social media and through all of your marketing material you are telling your audience what to think about you, you are burning your ideas into the minds of your target audience.
Your brand is not your logo, your font or color scheme. Brands are about meaning and connection, it’s everything that your audience carries in their hearts and minds about you, so everything your customers think, feel, say, hear, read, watch and even hope for about your product or service.
Create a clear brand identity
Your brand identity is the presentation of your brand and the way you convey your brand attributes, values, purpose, strengths, and passions. Great brands are easy to recognize. Their mission is clear, and it creates customer loyalty that all businesses crave. Your brand is the most valuable asset of your business and it must be carefully crafted to ensure it properly represents the business, and resonates with your audience.
Think of your brand as a person with a distinct personality. Describe him or her and then convey these traits in everything you do and everything you create. It’s essential for your brand to have a good reputation, so determine how your employees and joint venture partners will interact with your audience and customers to convey your brands personality and ensure your brand “lives” within your company.
Create your brand story
I said earlier that brands are about meaning. A brand story is not just a catchy tagline that’s pasted onto a billboard to attract attention for a week or two. Your story is the foundation of your brand and a strategy for future growth. You create a meaningful brand when you emotionally connect with your target audience. You do this by creating your brand story and communicating it, in life and in marketing. Great stories make people feel something and those emotions create powerful connections between the audience and your brand. Stories are the perfect catalyst to building a bankable brand and customer loyalty. When you can develop an emotional connection between your brand and your audience and continue to repeat it, your brand’s power will grow exponentially as you re-position yourself from a replaceable commodity to a brand. If you don’t have a brand story, you have no way to differentiate your brand or your business.
Position your brand
Brand positioning is where you want your brand to be, not geographically, but where in the hearts and minds of your audience you want to place your brand. Brand positioning is also referred to as a positioning strategy, brand strategy, or a brand positioning statement. That is where you would like your brand positioned so that they choose you over your competition.
To position your brand, you must know your target market or specific niche for your product or service. What you want is to create a unique impression in your customer’s mind so that the customer associates something specific and desirable with your brand that is distinct from everyone else in the marketplace. That being said, you must know who and where your competitors are, so that your position is very clear and different, so that you occupy a completely different space in their hearts and minds. Brand positioning statements are often confused with company taglines or slogans. Positioning statements are for internal use. These statements guide the marketing and operating decisions of your business.
Create what you want to be known for
Everyone wants to be known for something specific in business, and this is where personal branding comes in. When you think of a business, you think of something, whether consciously or subconsciously. This is what tells you whether you want to go into, or not go into a certain store, visit a website or stay away, or if you’re going to buy or not buy. What you think of that ‘thing’ is directly related to how you perceive them as well as through the experience you have when you interact with them. What do you think of when you see these brands?
1. Mercedes vs Ford
2. Sears vs Macy’s
3. Walmart vs Kmart
4. Tiffanies vs Dollar Store
5. Primark vs House of Frasier
You thought of something, didn’t you and I’ll tell you why. It’s because they strategically created what they wanted to be known for, which frames your thoughts as to what you think of them.
You only have a few seconds to make your initial impression and seconds in order for people to create in their minds an identity that is your brand and in order to do that, they have to experience you repetitively.
Talk about what you do effectively
Talking about what you do, making it absolutely clear to your audience, who you are and why you are worth listening to is paramount in creating a bankable brand. One of the reasons why some business owners fail to run a profitable and thriving brand is that they struggle to articulate what they do, in a clear and compelling way. Some get nervous and can sound confusing or just plain boring. What you don’t want is to sound like everyone else. Make it clear that you have identified a problem and you can solve it. Shed light on the problem and how it impacts lives, then let your audience know how you solve it. You want to talk about what you do and the exact solutions you provide, as well as its benefits.
Develop your brand personality
Your brand is not a what, it is a who; a brand personality is the human traits or characteristics associated with a specific brand name. A brand personality gives your audience something that they can relate to, now remember that you will get different responses from your audience, which is what you want. Just like your own personality, not everyone will like it, I’ll explain this later. Your brands personality is your value, it’s what makes you different, what makes you memorable, what makes you magnetic. The way your brand expresses and represents itself is its most dominant characteristic. Whatever your brand’s dominant personality trait is, we need to see more of it. Is it sarcastic, confrontational, passionate or funny? Whatever it is, own it. Let’s see more of it. Be you, everyone else is taken. This is what will make you more money, and get you more attention.
Polarize your audience
Your brands’ secret sauce isn’t a formula to make everyone like it. You decide who you do and don’t want to sell to. Deciding this early on is so important and you will know to speak only to your target audience. Once you know who you can use your gifts and talents to best serve, you will make your life a lot easier, so don’t be afraid to alienate people. To make a real impact you will attract one group and repel another. If you worry too much about being outspoken you will kill your brand. Being middle of the road is where your brand can die. it’s in the middle of your brand where you will get killed.
So how can you be polarizing? Start to communicate what you feel strongly about. Remember you’re not in business to make friends, so don’t fall into the trap of people pleasing. Your irresistible brand will never please everyone and that’s what you’re aiming for.
Finally, customers pay according to your perceived brand value. If your customers view your brand as discounted, cheap or premium, they will pay you accordingly. How consumers perceive your brand is dependent on what you put out there for the world to see at every touch point, such as social media, email and voice mail. All of this creates intangible attitudes and feelings about your brand. Once you implement all that we have spoken about so far, your brand equity will increase, you will attract high paying quality clients and build a tribe of raving fans. Happy brand building!