Branding is important for you and your company. With the explosive growth of social media, it’s more important than ever to project a brand consistently across all the social media channels where you are active. What is a brand, anyway? A brand is what an individual or organization wishes to be known for. It is an inside-out process.
You can’t have a viable brand without understanding your positioning. Positioning is how an individual or organization and the services provided are perceived in the minds of your target audiences. It is looking from the outside in.
Aligning Your Brand and Positioning
Another way of understanding positioning is that it’s the words you would want others – such as clients, employees, and the media — to use in describing you. The challenge is to have your brand and positioning in alignment – what you want to be known for and how your clients and potential clients actually view you and your products/services.
Your brand is what sets you apart from your competition. FedEx is the company that you can rely on to deliver your package by 10:30 tomorrow morning. Absolutely, positively. LinkedIn is regarded as the leading social media business community. Google is — well, Google will soon own the world!
Individuals, like companies, have brands, too. What is your impression of the singer Justin Bieber? He built his brand as a teen heart throb and has more than 13 million Twitter followers. Just slightly tinkering with your brand can rattle your market.
The singer upset a lot of his fans when he changed the floppy hair style that almost covered his eyes.
Most people will already have a positioning in their minds concerning you and your company. Individuals are often identified with pre-fixes: i.e.: Harvard MBA, Nobel Prize winner, Playmate-of-the-month, 350-hitter, salesman of the year, etc. If your particular target has no preconceived ideas, then you have the opportunity to develop your brand as you would want it.
As you define your brand, think of the attributes that set you apart from the competition. These can include:
- Technical expertise
- Products or services
- Industry specialty
- Academic credentials
- Awards and recognition
- Reputations of your clients
- Geographic reach
- The halo effect of the company you work for
A Successful Brand
Some pointers about your brand:
- Your brand must be simple and easily understood by your targets
- Two or three key attributes about company, products and services must be distinctive from the competition
- Your targets must be able to grasp the brand quickly and translate it into “What’s in it for me?”
After you have analyzed your key capabilities, you will need to put them into words that communicate the essence of your brand. Be particularly aware of presenting your services with an eye toward what’s in it for the listener. Your brand statement is your “grabber,” the statement that will get your listener to want to hear more.
Example of a grabber:
” I help my clients to retire in comfort for the rest of their lives. For a young professional like yourself, saving just a few dollars a month can build a handsome nest egg.”
Communicating your Brand
Now that you’ve defined your brand, you need to communicate it to those who can contribute to the success of your business. You can —
- Become active in social media
- Contact reporters and offer to become a source for quotes and articles
- Conduct seminars for clients and prospects
- Write articles
- Give speeches
- Become active in professional organizations
- Network to meet new people and obtain referrals
Before you get started in marketing yourself to those who count, be sure you can answer the question —