How to Build and Promote Your Brand (Part I)
How to Build and Promote Your Brand (Part I)
Whether you are a small business owner, have an Amazon or Etsy store, are self-employed, rely on the gig economy, freelance – or are any other shade of entrepreneur – you have a brand.
And it’s important to realize just how important it is to build and promote that brand in the minds of others.
There are solid reasons that big corporations spend so much time and money on their brands. If you’ve ever taken a marketing class, you’ve studied their processes.
Branding builds name-recognition and adds polish and professionalism to your endeavors. It shows others that you are a legitimate presence in whatever space you are working in. It sets you apart from the fly-by-night background noise of so many who come and go around you.
Where Do You Start?
A little introspection is in order when deciding on how to present your brand to the world.
- What is your backstory?
- Your mission?
- What do you have to offer to the world that is unique and sets you apart?
- What problems are you solving for other people?
Get some clear ideas together and get them down in writing.
Designing Your Logo
Think of logos that you can recognize in an instant, like golden arches or the Nike swoosh. These are so powerful! Logos are an emblematic means to communicate your message and the first impression some will have of you.
While few of us will achieve legendary logo status like the big-name corporations, don’t underestimate the power of this symbol. Put some careful thought into it and consult a graphic designer if your budget allows.
The best logos are simple, clever, professional, polished, personalized, communicative. Use those adjectives as a checklist to assure that your chosen logo reflects your purpose, mission, and vision.
Run your logo by people whose opinions you trust, and ask them if it communicates anything to them that is outside of your goal.
Getting your logo out there is the next step.
Beyond business cards, invest in a few freebies that get your logo in front of more eyes: pens, mousepads, koozies, t-shirts, and other fun giveaways.
If possible, line up your choice of freebie with the industry you work in, and choose something that people will find genuinely useful. For example, a home health company might choose to have their logo placed on a pill organizer box.
Build a Network
Never underestimate the value of old-fashioned in-person networking. Attend community events, conferences, and participate in networking organizations. Put your best face forward.
And, use the soft sell approach. You are using these occasions to build name recognition and forge relationships.
Go with an open mind and plan to do a lot of listening. You will not only educate yourself about your field and market in a broader sense but will forge powerful personal connections. Connections that will help you later when you are seeking new clients.
Never Forget Your Customer
An indispensable aspect of building your brand is impeccable customer service.
Each client must feel like they are valued and important to you. Quickly respond to any issues or complaints, and come to a reasonable and consistent way of settling problems.
Customer service also includes post-purchase service and sets you apart from the company that forgets the client after the sale. Quality post-purchase service creates brand loyalty and invaluable word-of-mouth marketing.
Encourage customer feedback, and don’t be afraid to ask for it directly.
You want good reviews to accumulate, and you want people to share their positive experiences online. Potential clients put a lot of weight on reviews!
Customer service takes other forms as well: a useful FAQ page, instructive and supportive web content and videos, and a willingness to pick up the phone or meet in person to talk people through any issues with your product or service.
Quick and efficient response to clients shows them your professionalism and their value to you.
Another great step is to give back to your community in some way. Opportunities abound to step up and serve in ways that fit your business model and vision, as well as to put your business in a positive light.
A cafe, for example, might offer a certain portion of profits to a food pantry, and a pet store can contribute to an animal shelter.
The recent coronavirus health crisis has also been an opportunity for small businesses to do good while getting their name out there. Tattoo artists, for example, have an inventory of masks and gloves that they will not be needing while shut down, and there was a movement in that industry to donate the overflow to hospitals.
The tattoo artists, among many others who found a meaningful way to give back, then shared what they did on their social media accounts. This sends the message of being an integral part of a community and focusing on something bigger outside of oneself.
Don’t Forget to Promote Your Brand
That brings us the real biggie: social media.
Pursuing social media and online options to promote your brand is essential, in fact so important, that it will be covered in a follow-up article. Check back soon!
Building and promoting your brand is challenging, exciting, and ultimately a fun exercise in creative thinking and energy. It is the essential means of putting your name out there and letting people know what you have to offer – and that you mean business!
And, this is only the tip of the iceberg. We’ll be back with Part II on Wednesday.
The Money Revealed Team