Many business owners, especially new ones, are daunted by the prospect of building their brand. But, if you want your business to be a success, it’s essential you get this step right. What is your vision for your business? Is it profit-driven, passion-driven, or a combination of both? Do you want to provide a superior local service or sell your product globally? Whatever your vision, you must ensure your brand helps you to achieve it.
Make Your Brand an Experience
Compel your customers to remember you by creating a brand experience. People are more likely to become return customers if they enjoy the experience they have with you. If you are selling a product, ensure it enhances your customers’ lives. Provide exceptional customer service while making their buying experience smooth, seamless and quick. Similarly, with providing a service, create an experience that stands out from the competition by making it so enjoyable and memorable that your customers will be compelled to return again and again. More than that, they will tell others about their experience, thus help you to market your brand.
Test the Market
Whatever you are selling, make sure consumers want it. This statement may appear to be glib, but seasoned entrepreneurs have stories to tell about falling into the trap of mistaken beliefs. Many entrepreneurs have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars designing and creating products that they believe will enhance the lives of consumers. Then, they find out no-one wants to buy them! They made the mistake of relying on their judgements instead of testing the market. Before building your brand, test, test and test some more. It’s much easier to adjust and make improvements at the beginning of the process than wait until it’s too costly and your brand takes a knock.
Build a Professional Website
Quite often, business people create a mediocre website because they don’t think it matters that much. It does. Your website is the most important aspect of building your brand. When consumers visit your site, they get a sense of who you are in an instant. Make it count. Ensure your website is attractive to look at and that it provides informative, compelling content. Create a blog page and if appropriate, a newsletter. Invite comments and questions from visitors and interact at every opportunity. If your website isn’t up to scratch consumers will believe you aren’t up to scratch; if it’s mediocre, they will believe you’re mediocre; if it’s disorganised, they will believe you’re disorganised. Get the picture? Consumers won’t do business with a brand that appears to be unprofessional. What do you want your brand to say about you? Make your website match your expectations and aspirations.
Create a Presence in Social Media
The internet has changed the way we do business. Just about everything you need is online, from products to services to learning, etc. If your product or service is great, social media will help you to spread the word. (Be careful, because it can work the other way if it’s not a good product or service.) Don’t try to be everywhere and appeal to everyone. Be selective. Choose sites that you use regularly and where you know your target audience is. Generate interest with a regular blog on your website and share it on social media platforms. Provide options for linking back to your website, to buy from you, or to sign up to receive your newsletter. Ask permission for their email to be added to your list so that you can inform them about new products, services, sales and discounts. Always respond to queries in a timely fashion, and follow through with solutions to build confidence in your brand.
Network to Develop Your Brand
Social Media provides great opportunities to join business community forums such as LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. They are a great source of getting help and advice from experts on ways to build your brand. However, don’t forget about face-to-face networking opportunities in your local business community. It’s there that you will find like-minded business people with expert local knowledge, which is particularly useful if you run a local business. Networking regularly allows people to get to know you and see how credible and trustworthy you are. When they see how authentic you are and know how serious you are about building your brand, they are more likely to help, advise you, and mentor you. Networking is about forging long-term relationships with influencers who will recommend you to their network of customers and acquaintances; accordingly, the market potential for your brand is huge.
And finally, if you want your brand to stand out, make sure you stand out. You and your brand are inter-connected. – Always be authentic, professional, helpful and trustworthy if you want to be memorable.