Branding Archive

All of us have posed for a group photo and if it’s worthy of being posted on Facebook, it soon finds its way there. It is commented upon and liked by all the people we know. People we don’t see for months ask us about the picture when we cross paths. So, whether we accept it or not, there is no denying that this is a type of personal marketing, as people enjoy capturing their memorable experiences and sharing it with others.

Benefits of genuine exposure

If it is done properly, your business or company can benefit from genuine and extensive exposure. But the key behind this is to put your customers first and make them look impressive. If you do that, they will naturally share it with their friends and talk about it, inadvertently marketing your company. This was the basis of the marketing strategy behind Facebook’s rise to prominence. It created a website where you could share pictures and tidbits about yourself and it brilliantly leveraged our tendency for self-promotion.

It’s not enough for a company to have a cool website and social-media accounts. It should help clients create content about themselves to share, which will in turn market the company. GoPro is currently doing a brilliant job of letting its customers create cool personalized content that is prone to being shared. When they share the video, they often give credit to the company – which boosts its reputation.

Important factors to consider

If you are planning to use this approach for your business, there are three questions that you need to keep in mind:

How does your company enable its clients to look great? Identify the ways in which your product excites them and showcases them. It is very important to maintain authenticity. Nobody likes to share things that are fake or forced.
What specific message or aspect would you like them to share in the marketplace? You could offer many services or products of value, but it is not possible for you to be everything to everyone. Focus on content that is sharable and makes your clients stand out. It is a very effective way of upstaging your competition uniquely.
Make sure that the customer generated content is powerful enough to provoke reactions and gets people talking about it both online and offline. Whether its videos, pictures or personalized websites, the content should be strong enough to cut through the mundane and be memorable. The goal is to make your customers feel proud …and your competition feel nervous.

Telling a compelling story helps businesses to generate considerable word-of-mouth and create brand awareness in the process. Any story that adds character and color to your business resonates deeply with customers and encourages them to recruit on the company’s behalf when they share it.

Most companies are accustomed to believe that marketing should be objective, rational and clear with no room for subjective thinking or emotion. However, the most persuasive and powerful messages have a human element delivered effectively through the use of storytelling. It can help a business stand apart from its competition and give it a unique personality. Prospective clients or customers are hooked because the story resonates with them and they have an emotional response.

The following rules can help you make up a compelling story to resonate with your target audience:

Values of the brand – It is important to understand what your brand is and who it is meant for. Define and accept what’s true about your brand, and back up the philosophy with stories that you put forth.
Create meaning – Never give raw data or information to the audience. Apply the values of your brand so that it has interest, meaning and value for them. Develop a narrative with strong imagery.
Motivate people – The story should prompt people into action. Think of Steve Job’s Apple presentations. They were fantastic stories that motivated people and simplified decisions for them with their understanding and clarity.
Make them easy to share – People tend not to repeat product benefits to each other. If there is a story that can be easily shared, people repeat those. For effective social media marketing, come up with stories that are easy to share.
The irresistible truth – This takes a little time to develop. Using brand stories are a sound method only if it is effectively grounded in a truth that you can own and sets you apart. Anything else will not have the same kind of impact. Build a strong brand with your story.
Long term engagement – It should be obvious by now that this is a ‘reap what you sow’ thing. It is not an SEO program or a campaign to display ads. Considered and integrated programs with a strong online campaign are an investment to help build the brand, unlike short campaigns that are just made to ‘engage’.

A simple way to come up with a memorable story is to create a relatable protagonist, a challenge and a eureka moment, where the company’s service or product helps them deal with the challenge. Of course, this is not a rule set in stone, but just one of the many effective ways to craft an impression on the potential customer’s mind.

Forums are an excellent way to increase your online presence, build a virtual community around your business or brand and maintain forward, positive momentum on the Internet. Forums are a natural progression from business blogging. This is especially true if your business blog has a healthy and active commentary community. If your blog has a lot of followers who talk a lot, then the time is probably right to develop a forum based on your business or brand.

A forum allows the most vocal of your followers to have a place to talk to their heart’s content. As a business owner in the process of developing a virtual community, these talkative fans are a godsend. They are the ones that will carry your flag and be zealots for the cause. Through their words, they will carry the message of your business and brand to the far corners of the Internet. They are your seahawks, your conquistadors and your shock troops all rolled into one.

When the time comes to start a forum for your business or brand, you want to be certain that the forum you build is the right forum for your needs as a business owner, as well as the right forum for the needs of your most vocal followers. When you make the correct decisions right off the bat in regard to these issues, you take a big step towards insuring that your business forum will be an overall success.

One of the first things to consider is that forum creation is not a short term money making proposition. Instead, there are a number of up front expenses to deal with, as well as an extensive amount of time before those expenses might be recouped. Forum creation is a “long trigger” undertaking. It will yield extraordinary benefits only if you give it the time and space to grow and nurture it in the meantime.

Another issue involves choosing the correct platform for you forum. There are numerous choices available. Anyone starting a forum wants to make certain that the forum platform they are considering meets the needs of the community as well as the brand. Decide ahead of time what features will best suit these needs. Ask yourself whether your community needs or wants things like instant messaging or chat options. Once you’ve decided which features you need, compare platforms so that you are not paying for features you don’t need or won’t use.

It comes as no surprise that one of the most successful ways for any business – online or offline – to build its presence and community lies in blogging. But why is blogging so important to attract customers, followers and supporters? In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons a virtual neighborhood for your business is such a vital piece of the social media puzzle.
Traffic.

When we refer to visitors to your website, that’s called traffic. Quality content in the form of blog posts will attract traffic to your site. And without traffic, you can have absolutely no sales. So it is abundantly clear why building up a steady stream of reliable traffic is so important to your business.

One of the most direct ways to obtain traffic is through purchasing it – through ads on Facebook, relevant websites, Google Adwords, etc. While buying traffic is a method you can rely on, there are a couple issues to think about before spending the money.

First of all, you will generally spend a great deal of your businesses cash before truly “nailing down” how to advertise effectively online. If you have an abundant flow of cash, this is less of a problem. If your business, like most, is on a budget, it’s much more of an issue.

Secondly, the traffic that comes to your site through paid ads is not “organic” in nature. This means that you will come to rely on traffic that is getting directed to your site, and the “director”, so to speak, may change their mind at any time. Any blogger is aware of the past Google slaps that have brought so many online businesses to their knees.

Alternatively, when you bring content to your site through your unique and interesting blog posts (blogging), you gain attraction in a number of ways, not the least of which is that the visitors to your site actually want to be there.

The more interesting blog posts you create, the more pages from your site get indexed in Google, and the more “roads” there are for visitors and buyers to find your site.

This particular traffic is organic, and relies on you and you only. The more consistent you are, the more people will find your site, and Google nor anyone else can take that traffic away from you.
Conversions

Of course, you can have lots of visitors to your site, but then not have many sales. The great thing about organic traffic is that, as stated above, these visitors are truly interested in what your business has to offer.
By building your online presence through blogging, and subsequently sharing those posts on social media sites, you’ll receive many more sales leads because you’ll come to be known as an authority in your niche. Quality blogging simply equals sales.

Many people assume that branding is a more difficult process than it really is. This is probably because we are so inundated with branding each and every day. Branding is so pervasive in our modern society that we, as consumers, learn to accept it almost subconsciously. It’s only when we take a step back, and look at the process at a whole, that we see what a common force branding is in all of our lives.
Taking this necessary step back, we see that branding is based on the idea that humans are designed to see patterns and to associate those patterns with certain expected results. This process of pattern recognition and association developed as a way for us, as humans, to conserve precious calories by not having to waste energy deciphering situations we had already repeatedly encountered. When we saw an edible plant that we had seen before, we didn’t have to decide again whether it was safe to eat. When we saw a dangerous predator, we didn’t have to decide again if it was time to run.

Branding takes advantage of this evolutionary predisposition to allow us to associate a business, and its products and services, with certain concepts. These concepts can be anything – a musical note, a shade of color, a shape or a phrase. The idea is that the business and the concept become wielded together in the minds of the general public through repetition. Our brains operate as they were designed, and save energy by not having to consciously associate the concept with the business.

This unconscious branding process becomes apparent when we look at a couple of examples. If someone shows you a picture of a generic set of yellow arches, what comes to mind? Alternatively, if someone shows you a stylized apple with a bite taken out of one side, what do you immediately think of? We all know the answers to these questions; we just might not want to admit that we do.

Branding requires that the business behind the brand know exactly who it is, what it does and who it wants to attract as a customer. It is this steadfast and focused clarity on identity that makes the world’s best brands instantaneously identifiable. The companies with the most potent brands know who they are and know who their customers are. This clarity is what drives the brand and also what makes the brand successful.

If your goal is to develop an online community that is built around your brand, then it follows you need a brand for that community to gather around. Fortunately, branding is all about attraction. You brand your business and its products and services precisely because you want to develop an audience that will become fans of your business philosophy. Furthermore, they will become fans because of the way that philosophy affects the development of the products and services you provide. Another way of putting this is to say that the audience you attract builds your brand as much as your brand builds that audience. At its essence, the process is symbiosis at work.

In order to develop this symbiosis, you need to attract the correct audience. While it seems to be evident that a business will only attract an audience that likes what it does, if the business does not have clear idea ahead of time about who this audience might be, the whole process falls apart. It’s a classic case of garbage in, garbage out. In this case, however, it’s confusion in, confusion out. The business is confused, so the potential audience for that business’ production is confused as well. If you understand who your potential audience is, or even who they might be, you stand a greater chance of attracting the proper audience to develop your brand.

Once you have a handle on who your audience is, you have to get a handle on how to approach that audience. The good news is that deciding on the proper approach is an easy step to take. You see, there is no difference between your online presence and your offline presence. Both presences are governed by the same rules of conduct and common sense. Many marketers make the mistake of assuming that the online world of commerce is a fairyland that has no connection with “reality”. Nothing could be further from the truth. Business and marketing principles apply whether the transaction is physical or electronic.

What this means is that you deal with your online community in the exact same way that you deal with your offline community. You provide both with the highest level of service that you can. You insure that your products or services are the best they can possible be and you provide both audiences with the best possible information that you can produce. When you do so, you will find that your success in the online world is matched by your success in the online world.