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5 Tips for Successful Branding

Today’s fast paced world of business has become a sensory overload for consumers. Thanks to the world wide web and portable technologies like iPhones and Blackberries, millions of companies are only a finger tip away 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So, how does a company distinguish itself from the rest of the competition?

Branding, the process companies use to differentiate themselves and create a memorable presence, can be powerful when developed carefully and thoughtfully. Without a solid strategy, however, branding efforts can instantly be a total flop. The following list provides 5 important tips for successful branding:

  1. It’s not always about what you have to say: You may think you have control over your company’s reputation, but thanks to social media, that’s not always true. Sites like Twitter, blogs, and Facebook allow anyone and everyone to talk about you, and usually people are more prone to talk about bad experiences than good ones. Obviously, you can’t control what people are saying, but with careful monitoring and sincerity, you can use customer conversations to your advantage. Take this opportunity to show you care, ask them how you can improve, learn from your mistakes, and prove to everyone that you are dedicated to providing only the best products and services to your customers.
  2. Do you: Focus on your strongest qualities and use those traits as your branding foundation. If you’re funny, find humorous ways to build brand awareness. If you’re an established expert in your field, emphasize the legacy aspect of your reputation.  The more genuine you are, the easier it will be to remain consistent. Not only that, but you’ll gain authenticity as well.
  3. Know who you’re talking to: In order to accomodate your customers, you need to know who they are and what they’re looking for. The better informed you are, the better you can whittle down your messsage to truly speak to your audience. And the more satisfied your customer, the nicer they’ll be when speaking about you.
  4. Be the whole package: In addition to saying the right things, it’s also important to look sharp. A well executed website, impressive logo, and designed collateral to boot will pull it all together. Branding is sort of like a job interview. You can be the smartest candidate in the world, but if you show up dressed like the Dude from the Big Lebowski, chances are you won’t get the job regardless of your answers.
  5. Unbrand yourself – I recently came across a smart article by Dan Schawbel that focused on the ways in which branding can take away from your originality. If you’re building your strategy upon current trends or regurgitating what has already been said, you’re shaping yourself to be like everyone else. Once again, do you and focus on what makes your message unique. Don’t build such a complex identity that you’re restricted by it. The less formal and calculated you are, the better.