Guest post by Ray William Nelson
Building a stronger brand identity is an essential part of growing any business or nonprofit organization. Even the biggest brands in the world had to start somewhere. While there is no guaranteed formula for success, there are a number of strategies and best practices that virtually any organization can use to help improve the results of their efforts. These five tips offer simply yet powerful ways to boost your brand building efforts.
1. Create an Image for Your Brand
You have probably heard the saying “A picture is worth 1000 words.” This also applies to brand building and marketing. From your business cards and Web site, to your signage and promotional materials, creating a cohesive and consistent visual identity for your brand will help to build familiarity, trust and promote a professional appearance.
2. Define Your Brand
What makes your brand stand out from the competition? What can your brand offer that others do not? Why should a customer choose your brand? These are all part of what defines your brand.
Many small businesses start off great by finding demand for a product or service. They then neglect to define their brand and provide customers with a reason to choose their brand. Define your brand with concise message, quality promotional materials and a unique approach to your market. This helps to create brand recognition and boost branding efforts.
3. Refine and Hone Your Brand Constantly
Even billion dollar companies are constantly assessing their brand and how it adds value to their company. This is especially crucial for small businesses and non-profits where market trends can shift quickly. From sales and market analysis to website analytics and customer surveys, tracking your brand building efforts and business performance will help to make it obvious which efforts are paying off and what aspects might need additional tweaking.
4. Be Your Brand
With the Internet and social media, information is constantly traveling between businesses, customers, media outlets and other potential sources of exposure. This means that if you are not living your brand message, you are asking for trouble.
You have defined your brand and created an image, now give it a personality and a voice. From staff etiquette to newsletters, your core values and personality should be a part of every aspect of your brand. When done properly, this can also help to build rapport with your customer base.
5. Be Consistent
Results do not always happen overnight. One of the biggest mistakes that many businesses make in building a brand is failing to be consistent. Changing your logo, switching social media platforms or renovating your newsletter may provide a benefit in some cases. However, in most cases, you are only undermining your own efforts and potentially alienating your existing audience.
Make changes in small ways and analyze the results before attempting anything drastic. By being consistent, you help to reinforce your brand identity and build a relationship with industry peers and your customer base.
Brand building offers obvious benefits for businesses of all sizes. Whether you are an established small business or an Internet start-up, these tips and strategies offer valuable ways to improve your brand identity. With a little determination and proper practices, leveraging the power of your brand can help take your business to the next level.
Do you have any brand identity stories to share? What has worked and what hasn’t for your business or nonprofit?
Ray Nelson is a writer specializing in branding and market research. He enjoys writing about best practices for small business owners and professionals.
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