Branding is a key ingredient in any marketing plan.
Your brand communicates who you are and what you do as a business. It helps you stand out from competitors in your market. And it represents a promise to your customers that when they buy your product or service, they will receive a certain value every time.
When most people think of branding, they think of logos, taglines, value propositions, advertising slogans, and other common branding tools. But there’s a lot of different ways to build a brand. Here are some you may not have thought of. These can be especially helpful with new and emerging businesses.
Interior design. The way your place of business looks on the inside sends a powerful message about your commitment to the business. Is your interior neat, clean, and professional? Does it make clients feel welcome when they walk through the door? Does it reflect the look and feel that clients expect from your type of business? Investing in interior design shows that you are serious about the business and plan to be around a while. By itself, interior design probably won’t cause a prospect to do business with you. But it can definitely swing their decision in the right direction.
Personal branding. As head of the business, you are your company’s leading brand ambassador. Which means everything you think, do and say contributes to your brand. The way you dress, your posture, the way you speak – these all play a role in shaping customers’ perceptions about the value of doing business with you. There are many ways to develop your personal brand, but the key is to make sure it aligns with your company’s brand. If you’re selling tailored suits, you had better look like a million bucks!
Parties and social events. As a business owner, you’re on even when you’re off (duty, that is). At non-work parties and social events, you’re still representing your business. Which gives you an excellent opportunity to build your brand. Parties allow you to meet new people, reconnect with those you already know, and identify people who could be clients, strategic partners or referrals sources. Hosting a party or event doubles the opportunity, as it obligates you to interact with all the guests.
Your car. Think GeekMobile – those little Volkswagens emblazoned with the Geek Squad Logo. Or the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. Or those Truly Nolen pest control cars with the mouse ears on top and tail on the back. Your business may not lend itself to such a campy look or humorous approach. But with a little ingenuity, your car help to build your brand every time you drive it.
YouTube videos. Creating your own YouTube videos offers an inexpensive and very effective way to build your brand. Videos can include everything from “verbal” white papers to customer testimonials, industry thought leadership, and more. Today’s viewers expect videos with high production quality, so don’t post anything that looks sloppy, cheap, or homemade.
Everything you do as a business contributes to your brand – the purpose of which is to define, differentiate and communicate your unique value proposition. So never try to imitate another brand. Instead, get creative about your own brand, and build your brand communications around what will hit home with your customers or clients.