marketing

Branding Strategy Success: X Marks the Spot

Branding Strategy Success: X Marks the Spot

“X” is the spot only your brand occupies: it stands alone in terms of what you provide and to whom.

Before you start a new business or  or decide your current business needs a makeover and re-branding, it’s imperative to define your brand. Clearly being able to describe your brand, in words in visuals, so that others easily understand (and can tell others!) what your business does. Here is a simple branding strategy that will help you brand or re-brand your business.

Keep in mind that re-branding shouldn’t just be about a new logo; it’s really about a new way of doing business.

Before you brand your business, you should first determine why your business exists (its purpose on the planet) and how it can stand apart from other businesses in your same space…a.k.a. the competition.

If you don’t stand apart, you are a commodity and your only differentiator is price.

Step 1 – Develop a Branding Strategy:

  • How are you going to approach branding?
  • Who’s in charge of the branding initiative?
  • Will you hire a consultant, graphic designer, copywriter, brand strategist?
  • What’s your timeline?
  • Do you have a budget?

Step 2 – “Decipher” Your Brand:

A Mission Statement:  in 100 words or less, says Who you are, What you do, Whom you do it for, Why you do it, Where you do it and most of all:  What’s your BIG IDEA? What do you do that no one else does? Why should they buy from you instead of someone else? This is also known as the differentiator. Your Mission Statement will be the “touchstone” for your business – use it as a guide to decide what work to pursue; what projects to take (and what projects not to take); all to keep the strength of your brand.

A Vision Statement – the sky’s the limit: an in-house document that describes where you’ll be in 1, 3, 5 or 10 years. How you’ll get there. How big is your staff? Where are you located? Do you want to sell your business? This document can evolve but it is Your Destination Roadmap.

A Value Statement – “the Guiding Principles” or “core beliefs” of your business (many companies want to buy from those with shared values). Words like sustainability, diversity, creativity, excellence, community, innovation, etc. are found in value statements.

Positioning works hand-in-hand with branding.

Step 3 – Your Positioning Statement sets out:

  • What Product or Service you offer
  • Who Your Ideal Client is (client profile) –  Know your audience before you ever begin to market!
  • What Benefits you offer those that work with you
  • What Needs your ideal client has

Brand positioning is crucial: clearly describe your product or service, define your ideal client and their needs and wants and finally, highlight the benefits of working with your company. Where those four factors intersect is at what’s called your “brand essence.”  Once you’ve determined your brand essence or “truth,” you can incorporate visuals, written content, testimonials, case studies and FAQ pages to convey the personality of your business, your industry knowledge and expertise and showcase your product or service solutions.

Spending the time on developing and executing branding strategy pays off in greater brand recognition, memorability and effectiveness. Definitely time well spent.

This article originally appeared on MarthaSpelman.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based branding and marketing expert. She is the author of The Cure for Blogophobia: How to Easily Create, Publish & Promote Your Business Blog.

The Power of Branding [Martha Spelman]

A strong brand results from a clear definition of the strengths particular to you or your company and the audience that will benefit from working with you.

Someone will always be faster, stronger, more knowledgeable, younger, older or more experienced than you. But that doesn’t mean that they will necessarily “win out” over you. Because nobody has your particular combination of skills, talents, abilities, knowledge, experience or expertise. And maybe they don’t hustle, network, promote or communicate as well as you do. Maybe they haven’t as clearly identified what it is, with their particular mix of traits, they can offer a buyer.

The Power of BrandingThis is where branding–both personal and business–comes in. A strong, well-defined brand is a powerful marketing tool.

Branding is the process through which you objectively “decipher” what you offer and to whom. Ultimately, you want to determine what your specific strengths and weaknesses are and who the audience is for those strengths; who could benefit from working with or hiring you. A person or company with a strong brand continuously reinforces the value they offer and what differentiates them from the competition.

Once you’ve deciphered your “brand positioning” — the products or services that best fit with an audience who has the need and budget for your offering? You develop a marketing strategy that will effectively reach that audience.

And if you think you’re weak in certain areas? Don’t make excuses, make improvements. Take classes, sign up for webcasts and podcasts; read, watch and listen. Use volunteering as an opportunity to learn new skills or tackle new projects. Research the competition, join a mastermind group, find a mentor willing to help. Do what it takes to build your brand, improve your position and hone your “expert” niche.

If it’s difficult for you to objectively decipher your personal or business brand, you can ask others — interview your friends (ask them to be honest), clients or customers and colleagues. Find out what their perception is of you — and your strengths. Work with an outside consultant who will provide a professional, objective assessment and strategy.

Be rigorous in your examination. You ultimately want to clearly distill what it is that “makes you different.” Then publish content that sets out your particular strengths, preferably focusing on a defined “expert” niche that can be illustrated with representative testimonials, recommendations, case studies and “success stories.”

The clearer you are on your particular strengths and how those strengths can be deployed to benefit potential customers…the more powerful your brand and the bigger the return on your marketing.

Read More on Branding from This Author

Brand Message: WIIFM or WIIFT?

The Brand Experience: Feeling is Believing

 

About the Author

Martha Spelman: SBEC MentorMartha Spelman is an SBEC mentor. She is a Los Angeles-based branding and marketing expert and author of The Cure for Blogophobia: How to Easily Create, Publish & Promote Your Business Blog. You can find out more about Ms. Spelman on her website.

 

 

 

Martha Spelman: Always Be Marketing

If anybody knows anything about marketing, it is Martha Spelman. As a successful marketing consultant, author and entrepreneur, Martha knows exactly what she is talking about. Here are her words on marketing for businesses to keep in mind:

For any business, it is imperative to ALWAYS BE MARKETING. Market when you’re not busy but especially when you are…because inevitably, the calm comes after the storm.

We’ve all heard the line: “I really don’t market – my work comes from referrals.”
Three times in the last week, I’ve had meetings in which the business owner said, “My company used to survive on ‘word-of-mouth’ and now, that’s not happening.” Friends of friends, client referrals or industry colleagues — used to fuel their work pipeline. The business owners I spoke with weren’t executing an active marketing strategy but still the phone rang; somebody always knocked on their door.
Apparently that is no longer the case. The referrals have stopped. And with no other marketing plan in place, the well is running dry.
There are several reasons that your referrals might have slowed down or stopped (aside from your work or product quality heading severely downhill…which is doubtful):
1) The economy is down and your previous referral sources aren’t getting work or coming in contact with potential clients to send your way

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Martha Spelman: SBEC Mentor

Martha Spelman
Marketing Consultant
Co-Founder Newzful -subscription-based site that provides useful facts, stats and data for content marketing
Author of The Cure for Blogophobia: How to Create, Publish and Promote Your Business Blog





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