5 Foolproof Tips for Owning
Your Brand Like a Pro
If we ask you to think about “branding,” what comes to mind?
For most people, the answer will be related in some way to logos and slogans for major corporations or perhaps favorite sports teams.
While that is certainly accurate, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
The truth of the matter is this:
Branding is NOT only for big fish in the corporate world or professional sports teams!
In fact, every business, organization, and individual has a brand.
Wait, did we include “individual” in that?
Damn straight we did.
But if brands are associated with collectives (companies, teams, etc.), how can that possibly make sense?
Because of what branding truly is!
Put simply, a brand is that which people associate with a given entity—including individuals.
Think about it this way:
If you extend trust to your employees, truly listen to what they have to say, and make them feel secure, you will develop a reputation as being the kind of leader people want to work for. That reputation will result in employees telling others how great it is to work for you. Over time, people will associate positive leadership traits with you—and that becomes your brand.
See, we all have brands as well.
Now, when we frame this idea in that context, it might give you pause. Perhaps you’ll wonder “what is my brand?” And hopefully you do because that’s a great question to ask yourself.
Lucky for us, it also provides a nice segue to our next point here.
If you don’t know your brand—you cannot possibly own it.
Okay, why does it matter whether you own your brand or not?
Well, we could be wrong here, but we’re pretty sure you’d rather have people view your company (and yourself) in a positive light.
Sure, that can potentially happen organically—after all, if you develop a reputation for providing outstanding service on a consistent basis, that is what people will associate with your business.
The problem here is that pesky word “potentially.”
Even if you do consistently provide outstanding service, it’s entirely possible people will ascribe other characteristics, values, etc. to your company.
Therein lies the pitfall of leaving it up to the general public.
Here’s a better approach:
Grab the reins and own your brand.
In doing so, you then take control of the conversation (as it relates to your company).
Alright, how can you own your brand?
Let’s start with the 30,000-foot view before we get to some specific tips.
Basically, if you want to own your brand, you need to start with creating and defining one. Once that’s done, you then proceed to establish, promote, and maintain it.
That probably seems like a rather logical sequence, right?
Sometimes, however, you want to take ownership of a brand you’ve already established yourself. What then?
No need to overthink this one—you simply follow the same basic steps we just outlined.
That said, we’d be remiss not to note:
The actual elements entailed with creating, defining, establishing, promoting, and maintaining the rebrand will vary (at least a little).
Time to pull this all together.
At this point, you understand what a brand is, why it’s important to own yours, and have a general idea how to take ownership.
That means it’s time to dive a bit deeper with some tips that can help guide you:
1. Know Your Market
When you developed your marketing strategy, you probably did things like auditing your existing efforts, performing SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, and defining your goals.
Somewhere in the process, we hope you invested time in creating buyer personas for your ideal customers or clients.
For the benefit of those who don’t know what we’re talking about here—and if that’s you, don’t feel badly (there are many others out there in the same boat)—a buyer persona is something you use to better understand your target market.
Your buyer personas help guide marketing efforts so that you can best reach the people you want to. And you should also use them in creating and maintaining your brand.
To illustrate this point, let’s say your target market skews on the older side. With that being the case, you should likely avoid branding that comes across as extreme or intense. You need to take that into consideration for your color schemes, logos, and the voice and tone used in your marketing content.
2. Be Original
“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” – Seth Godin (best-selling author and marketing authority)
Godin’s words ring truer today than ever—in no small part due to the internet and the myriad distractions it creates for basically everyone nowadays.
If you want your brand to stand out—and you absolutely, 100% do—then you need to make sure it’s original. Otherwise, people aren’t going to take note or remember it when seeking the products or services you provide!
Now, as you seek to create an original brand, be sure to take the previous point into strong consideration. This means you will probably need to strike a balance with creativity that isn’t completely over the top (unless that is part of your branding and it’s what your target market wants and expects).
3. Keep It Simple
Speaking of “creativity that isn’t completely over the top”:
Elaborate, complicated branding doesn’t work because the entire point of branding is to boil your company down to something that is easy to recognize. After all, the whole reason this even matters is because humans use brands to simplify things.
If you think about it, that should make sense. Our brains are constantly processing so much information (on both conscious and subconscious levels). With that being the case, anything that lessens the workload is viewed quite favorably.
(Related psychological note: When the brain processes information quickly and easily, it results in a positive feeling. Those feelings are often then misappropriated to the source—in this case, that’s your company!)
Another benefit to keeping your brand simple is that it makes everything easy to replicate, which ties in quite nicely with the next tip…
4. Be Consistent
You’ve taken the time and performed ample research to ensure that your brand is original and on point for your target market. On top of that, your messaging, visual elements, etc. are nice and simple.
At this point, you are somewhere in the “establishing, promoting, and maintaining” stages of your branding—and it’s incredibly important you are consistent.
Remember, people rely on your brand for instant recognition.
If something is off, you see the flipside of misappropriation. Instead of positive feelings being attributed to your company, negative ones are—and that’s clearly not what you’re aiming for.
So, how can you be consistent in your branding?
Well, one of the best tools you can use to ensure your voice, tone, colors, graphics, and all other marketing elements are congruent is a style guide.
Your brand’s style guide houses details and gives you someplace you can turn to when you need to remember the exact shade of blue to be used in a header or an approved tagline to promote a new product line.
5. Stay Active
Finally, successful branding needs to be maintained. Going through all the work entailed with creating, defining, and establishing your brand is a pointless endeavor if everything is just going to go off track anyhow.
Maintaining a brand isn’t a passive activity—you need to be vigilant and proactive.
What does that look like?
To start, it means that you are posting on social media platforms and blogging on a regular basis. You create valuable offers that appeal to your target market. And you use targeted email campaigns to be connected and solidify relationships.
Naturally, you will use consistent branding in all those kinds of endeavors. As you do, you strengthen your company’s brand with every piece of content generated.
More than that, your brand will keep reaching new potential customers and clients!
Start owning your brand today!
Now that you understand how to take charge of your company’s brand, it’s time to get down to the business of actually doing it.
The steps we’ve outlined may have made it all seem rather simple, but here’s something to consider:
Simple and easy aren’t always synonyms.
Want proof? Consider the fact that running a marathon is simple. After all, you start running and don’t stop until you’ve hit 26.2 miles. That doesn’t make it easy, though!
In a similar manner, everything it takes to create, establish, and maintain a brand can require a tremendous investment in time and energy.
You’re obviously free to try doing it all on your own. But if you’d rather have the assistance of marketing pros who know a thing or two (or considerably more…) about branding handle it all for you, we’d love to be your choice.
Want to learn more about what we can do to move your brand forward? Just give us a call at (833) 622-0907 and we’ll be happy to help!