“Branding”, a term that once meant simply stamping your business logo on everything, has evolved into the process of building a company’s identity and personality. While branding still involves developing a name and symbol or design that sets your business apart from the rest, it is so much more than that. Effective, strategic branding gives you an advantage over competitors and makes it possible for your company to target markets as tight or broad as you like. Because branding is so foundational to success, I thought I would offer a few more tips for creating a strong brand that I’ve picked up along the way (see the first four here).
1. Know Your Key Messages
What are the most important things you want to communicate to your market? However you decide to present these, your audience and anyone you partner with should not have any confusion about these messages.
2. Think of Your Brand as a Person
The reason it’s important to think of your brand as a person, especially during the strategic and developmental stages, is that people are dynamic; your brand needs to be dynamic, too. Thinking of your brand as a person or character will help you develop your brand strategy (to whom you market, what you market, and how and where you market) because a character’s personality and background determine how he behaves. How would your brand dress? What would he or she say or do in certain situations? What does your brand’s voice sound like in social media and newsletters? Imagining your brand in this way can be an extremely insightful exercise that catapults your branding process to a competitive level and offers you valuable insight into the real purpose of your business.
3. Be Consistent
It is important to drive your visual branding, professional persona, website, packaging, product, mission, and online content through consistent images, messages, and quality. This doesn’t mean repeating yourself verbatim over and over, but rather aiming for cohesion and striving to illustrate who you are and what your business is about through the above platforms.
4. Believe in Your Mission
If you are not passionate about your mission, your brand will communicate a lukewarm commitment. Dynamically living your mission through your brand and products gives you the power to respond to your clients’ needs and sustainably evolve your products and services. Your mission is the foundation of your business, but that doesn’t mean that it must stay a buried, secret force; proudly communicate your mission by including it in your branding campaigns and strategies.
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