The Simple Personal Branding Tip You Are Probably Forgetting
Branding refers to the deliberate actions you take to influence people’s perception of your product or service, so they will choose your brand time and again. Essentially, it is the way your product or service lives in the hearts and minds of your customer.
While it may seem like a simple idea to comprehend, branding is an ever elusive, hotly debated topic that is not easy to define. Why? Because, as we mentioned above, branding is emotive, and subjective and not something that can necessarily be measured or quantified. In order to fully conceptualize branding, let’s go back a step and understand what is a brand. To quote author and entrepreneur, Seth Godin, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another”. Meaning branding is everything you do to actively influence those decisions.
Think about it, when consumers need to make a choice, how will they make their decisions? Whatever motivates them, branding is what shapes the perception of your business in their minds and ultimately what converts new customers into loyal buyers
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Why is branding important?
In the saturated world of marketing, there is a lot of noise. If it only takes about 7 seconds to make an impression, then your branding has got to be strong and well-designed right off the bat. Effective branding is the mechanism that can make your business stand out and get your prospective customer’s attention. When done right, branding has the power to influence, to inspire and to create change. Look at some of the biggest and most well-established brands out there like Google, Apple, Nike and Coke, it is no coincidence that they are successful. These companies understand the importance of branding and leverage it from every aspect of their business and marketing. Furthermore, they continue to strategize, learn and grow through their branding efforts to maintain customer loyalty.
Let’s dig a little deeper to see the personal branding tips you are probably forgetting and the impact it has on your business.
It set you apart from the competition
Regardless of what industry you’re in, competition is always fierce. Whether you’re opening a bike repair shop, selling CBD infused products or becoming a social media consultant, branding allows you to differentiate yourself from your competitors, by highlighting and distinguishing what you have to offer, and why it is a better choice.
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Develop brand awareness
Brand awareness refers specifically to the ways in which your business is perceived, both in market position and in consumers’ minds. Ideally, you want customers to have a positive impression of your brand with the service or product that you offer. Strong brand awareness is one of the main motivators to encourage your target audience to select your brand explicitly, even if cheaper or alternative options are available.
Establish brand recognition
A key component of brand awareness, brand recognition applies more pointedly to the ways in which consumers remember your product or service, also known as brand recall. This can be prompted by visual branding assets like brand colors, a logo or a catchy slogan. For example, imagine you’re on a road trip, and on the highway in the distance, you see golden arches without even thinking about it, you already identified McDonald's.
Build brand trust
Brand trust is important both for the impression your business gives to potential customers, and within your industry. According to Intelligence Node, “over 60% of online adults in Canada, the US, and Europe want the companies they buy from to be transparent about their business practices.” A company with a strong brand not only presents itself as more professional and polished, but also evokes trust through transparency and authenticity. Beyond this, outlining your brand values upfront and keeping your brand promise is what encourages prospective and current customers to believe in, and support your brand.
Give your business an identity
Just as each person has their own unique identity, so does your brand. Imagine you’re setting up two friends on a blind date, and you need to describe each person to the other. How might you identify or characterize them? Try to think of your brand as a person rather than a commodity or an object. This idea challenges you to visualize your brand like a human to better define how the brand acts, speaks, dresses, communicates or impacts the world.
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Establish employee pride
Employees who stand behind their brand and take pride in their work are not only good for business, they also play a key role in shaping public perception of your brand. This has positive implications across the board. It can influence the ways customers identify your brand, but it can also encourage prospective employees to seek out your company. A well-branded company should make workers feel a sense of belonging, overall satisfaction and pride. This will encourage them to authentically promote the brand across all types of channels and platforms.
Enhance your business value
Whether you’re a small business owner or an established corporation, branding plays an important role in validating your financial value and building your brand equity. The growth of your company can depend on successful branding when attracting new customers, generating business or breaking into new markets. Even more, in regard to expanding your venture, an expertly-branded business is a more attractive investment for potential investors.
Essential branding elements
Branding is a strategic and critical process, but also requires creativity and consistency across all brand touchstones. As there are many branding elements to consider, it is wise to create a strong and cohesive brand style guide that acts as a manual, or catalog to accompany both visual and non-visual elements. If you're looking for a little inspiration, you can explore these style guide examples to help you get started.
Let’s look at the most important branding elements:
Visual branding elements
Now more than ever, having a professional online presence is an essential branding asset and a critical part of your digital marketing strategy. Regardless of your industry and company size, or if you have an eCommerce business or a brick-and-mortar shop, a website serves as the hub of your company. The type of website you create will depend on your industry, but nonetheless it is the place to attract new visitors, generate leads, promote and sell products, educate and inform customers and most of all communicate.
When you build a website, you can customize it to suit your business needs with a range of free templates and advanced free tools. You can be sure that your customers will instantly have an idea of what your brand is all about, and all that it has to offer. From your homepage to your blog posts to your email marketing campaigns, your website is an opportunity to showcase your brand in the best possible light.
Oftentimes the ideas of logo and branding are used in tandem, or thought of synonymously when in fact they are two different entities. A logo, arguably one of the most important branding assets, is still just a piece of the bigger branding puzzle. Your logo serves as a symbol, a visual representation of your company that should be easily recognizable and memorable. Everything from the color palette to the typography you use when you create your own logo speaks a visual language and plays a vital role in branding.
What's in a name? In relation to branding, a lot. However, coming up with a brand name is no easy task. Your brand name must embody who you are, but also represent what you do, while simultaneously making a good impression. No pressure.
Some brand names are so effective that they are used interchangeably for the product itself, even when they’re manufactured by a different company. There are a few things to consider before choosing your brand name. For starters, you’ll need to check whether the name you like is available, if it has any unusual linguistic connotations and ensure that the name is representative of your brand values. You can brainstorm and test out different ideas or use a brand name generator to pick your perfect one
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While business cards might seem a little old-fashioned in our digital world, they are still very relevant, and an important part of your branding assets. When choosing how to design a business card, keep in mind that it is not only an opportunity to share your contact information and logo, but a chance to build connections and make an impression. As you expand your network and grow your company, business cards are a professional and friendly reminder of your brand.
You can create business cards in all types of shapes and sizes, however, keep in mind that they should be cohesive to your other branding assets, and express your brand identity.
Types of branding
In the same way that brands are different, so are the types of branding that shape them. There isn’t a universal branding strategy that works for everyone because each brand has its own unique identity, purpose, reputation and goals. Whether you’re branding a person, a place, a product or a service there are distinctive approaches to branding.
Although there are many more, let’s take a look at three different types of branding to highlight their particular nuances, including real-life brand examples:
When it comes to self-promotion, this is not the time to be shy. Personal branding is all about your outward appearance, reputation and the image you portray both personally and professionally. Personal branding refers to the 'whole package' including your CV, social media posts and website design.
Take a look at Kylie Jenner. Known as the one of the youngest billionaires in the world, Jenner is a prime example of personal branding done right. Having started her career on the successful reality TV series Keeping up with the Kardashians, Jenner has leveraged herself on social media and with her lucrative makeup business, Kylie Cosmetics.
Beyond her companies, Jenner has iconically branded herself by using her own personal life to promote her products. For example, when she first launched her famous lip kits, she shared videos of herself using them on social media and as a result they sold out within hours. She also models all her own products on her website and in her ad campaigns.
Furthermore, Jenner’s personal branding approach is strategic, and constantly evolving by paying attention to trends (and setting them), and understanding her loyal followers. Jenner lives and breathes her products with authenticity, focus and shares her real experiences (even when they fail).
Product branding refers to the persona or identity given to a specific product using branding elements such a logo, colors, packaging, voice and overall design. The goal of product branding is to make an item stand out in the marketplace, become easily identifiable and be a preferred choice to others. Think of heavyweight brands like Apple, Google, Disney, Target or Starbucks, and even as you read their names you can visualize their logo, products and customer experience.
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How to build a brand
Ok, so you’ve got a better grasp on branding, it’s importance and the key elements, now it’s time to build a brand. There are a few things to keep in mind when starting out and creating your brand like researching your competition, understanding your target audience and connecting with your customers.
Identify your brand purpose
Before you can dive into color palettes, taglines or building trust, you must first identify your core purpose, the ‘why’ behind your brand. In order to conceive a successful and recognizable brand, you should establish your core brand purpose right from the start.
Create a logo
When it comes time to decide how to design a logo for your brand, keep in mind that, while small, this branding element carries significant importance. And with power, comes great responsibility, since this small symbol is a visual representation of your company. Your logo can evoke emotion, persuade or inspire your customers just from a single glance. Take the time to craft a design that is authentic and represents your brand identity.
Build a strong brand strategy
In order to develop a strong brand, you need to strategize each step along the way. Your brand strategy serves as a roadmap to guide each aspect of your branding efforts, from your design to your customer service. Through research, analysis, planning and preparation, you can outline long-term goals and achieve great branding results.
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