Butterflies used to be my visual brand. Why? Because I like photographing them and with the tagline “Marketing Transformations,” I though they were a natural fit. So I posted a series on my site: one for every page. But, did the images fit the brand? Here’s a replay of an article about branding methods, updated to merge with today’s contemporary takes.
Ten Branding Methods: Butterflies and Rainbows Optional
by Barbara Rozgonyi, founder of CoryWest Media, LLC
To request permission to reproduce or republish this article, contact connect AT corywestmedia DOT com.
Do your customers see you as the company or person you think you are? You can define your business and personal branding style with values, messaging and images that match the perception you want to project. In this article, you’ll take a look at the variety in the ways you can brand yourself and your company. Being consistent across the board builds brand equity and makes it easier for your customers to recruit new prospects for you.
1. Identity Design – logos, layouts, look must match your brand
While you may be a fashion plate, your business doesn’t have to be. Are your customers conservative? Then go with a strong, yet neutral image. If you’re confused about your look, your prospects will pick up on that. Interview a few graphic designers and don’t think about cost – at least at first. Investing thousands in an image pays off as your look becomes well-known. Or, you can outsource your image project to a company like CrowdSpring who has 45,000 designers ready to work on your project.
2. Virtual – Search results, Social Networking Sites
What’s your virtual branding profile? It’s easy to find out. Search for your name or company in several search engines. Click on news and images to see what’s out there. If you’re on LinkedIn , Facebook or flickr, your crowd is your brand. Be careful about who you associate with and always check profiles before you accept invitation.
3. Multimedia – videos, audios, podcasts, radio shows
If you’re a speaker or want to be interviewed as an expert, you need at least one video. Recording audios is less intimidating than shooting a video, but seeing is believing. Podcast short interview or tips to build up an audio library. Offering multimedia products positions you as being ahead of the game.
4. Word of Mouth – what’s your reputation?
What do people say about you or your company? If you ask your best customers, they’ll tell you what you want to hear. Search in forums to see who’s talking about you. Set up a survey to get anonymous feedback.
5. Awareness – do people know about you?
Some businesses and organizations think everybody knows who they are and what they do. Probably not. Employees may not even have the story straight. Think about how much awareness you need versus what you want. It’s okay if your major clients know who you are and what you do, but your neighbor only knows you grow roses.
6. Personality – what are your traits?
Do you tolerate change or fight it? What do you champion? Realize that your personality won’t click with everyone. That’s good. You want to attract people who like you. The ones who don’t will naturally go away and find someone who suits them.
7. People- who represents you – board members, staff, partners?
Cloning the perfect employee won’t work, but you can teach everyone who represents you to model the same public image with messaging, language and ethics training so that anyone who comes in contact with one of your representatives will recognize your company right away.
8. Experience – what is your customer experience, could it be better, different, more impactful?
Everyone’s customer experience is part of their brand. Don’t be fabulous one day and mediocre the next. Aim for a level experience that’s set to high standards and be ready to react right away if something goes awry.
9. Community – who carries out your message????
Grow your own community and communicate with them frequently. If you do it right, you’ll know what’s on their mind and how you can better serve them.
10. Word of Mouth
The trickiest to manage and the most powerful branding of all, word of mouth is how your customers and prospects talk about you to their own community. Strategic public relations campaigns can fuel word of mouth and energize a company.
How did you do? Which of these is your most effective branding method? Which ones will you work on first?
Image credits: Shutterstock.com illustration, photography by Barbara Rozgonyi from social butterflies collection for www.thesociallens.com, copyright 2006
Disclosure: Shutterstock is waiving the licensing fee in exchange for credit, which we are pleased to provide.