By definition, branding is the process involved in the creation of a unique name and image for a product in the mind of a consumer. This is done through advertising campaigns and with a consistent theme. The primary goal is to establish a significant and differentiated presence in a market to attract and retain loyal customers.
Simply put, the process is a pull and not a push. It is the expression of the key value or truth about your business, product and service. You will be communicating your values, characteristics and attributes to clarify what your brand is and what it is not. At the end of the day, it is your brand that will encourage customers to buy your products.
It is only with proper branding that you can achieve sustainable levels of sales by developing loyal customers. With that in mind, let us look at the strategies you can use as a startup to create an effective brand.
1. Personal Branding
Personal branding is the result of how people perceive you.
- How much do they know about you?
- Can they trust your product?
In this step, the goal is to make the public aware of your business. If consumers don't know you, their doing business with you will be very hard. Make use of the social media. Create updates on your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts; and engage prospective audiences on interactive blogs.
To make your personal brand strong, you have to engage your audience frequently on social media and have a central focus (consistent theme).
The benefits of a strong personal brand include:
- Your products will be referenced in the content of other people.
- It increases referrals and the number of followers
- Consumers will trust your products/ services
Almost all your competitors have a personal brand. The big question is this; will yours stand out from the herd? This article on Branding by Ryan Battles shares more in-depth information on Personal branding. A must read I say!
2. Maintain your blog and share your opinions about things that matter
This could be a part of your personal branding strategy. Consider creating a business blog. There is no better way of delivering branded messages than through blogging.
An active blog that shares meaningful opinions will increase brand visibility, foster trust, improve your customers' knowledge of your products and also aid in search engine optimization. Opening and running a blog is easy and if your schedule does not allow, you can delegate your blog to a third party. Find third-party bloggers on oDesk, Freelancers and Elance.
3. Social Media for branding
The social media empowers businesses to seamlessly link with consumers. However, close monitoring is required. The enormous power of the social media may be a curse for your business if you don't carefully consider the content being released and the advice being given. Your strategies and content must also be consistent on all platforms. Other than that, the platform offers immediate feedback and responses. It also encourages word-of-mouth and networking.
Branding is essential to the success of every startup. Don't be afraid to think outside the box. The important thing, however, is to be smart and conscious of your actions.
Photo Credit: Branding and Startups/shutterstock