As a lifelong entrepreneur and business owner myself, I can confidently say that starting a business can be one of the most exciting and empowering moves you’ll ever make and absolutely doable, even in today’s highly competitive marketplace. It takes more than a great idea to sustain a business, though. To be successful, you’ll need to first focus on building a powerful brand identity. Here are some tips to guide you on your way.
Be Sure of Yourself.
It’s important to know what your brand stands for, what makes it special and its benefit. You also need to know who your target audience is and make that benefit clear and obvious to them.
Create a Distinctive Identity.
Branding is about perception and the most powerful brands are built from the inside out on differentiation. Creating a distinctive logo and tagline that captures the essence of your brand can increase your visibility. A quality website can also help differentiate your business while also introducing you to online customers and boosting credibility.
Get Connected and Be Memorable.
Creating a brand voice and social media strategy is essential, so it’s important to create a profile for your business on select social media platforms where your customers congregate. Next, create compelling communications that emotionally connect with and motivate your customers to love your brand and buy from it! Powerful brands are great at listening so be sure to respond to online comments and questions.
Be Consistent and Congruent.
Maintaining consistent, congruent messaging makes your business easier to remember and trust. Ask yourself: Does your website look like it belongs with your business card and your social media channels? Is your messaging consistent with your brand?
Consider Leveraging Cause Marketing.
Whether you support a homeless shelter or donate services to a local charity, giving back can increase your brand power. Take Dawn dishwashing liquid, a great example of effective cause marketing -- its promise, to donate one million dollars this year for rescue efforts to save wildlife. Not surprising they're the best-selling dishwashing liquid on the market. Who wouldn’t love, and buy from, a brand that rescues wildlife from oil spills?
Deliver on your promises.
Strong brands possess credible, relevant and distinctive brand promises. That said, create a brand promise, deliver on it and provide an exceptional customer experience. You’ll end up creating brand advocates who will sing your praises and help build your brand.
April Neill is a brand strategist, lifelong entrepreneur and founder/CEO at April Neill Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm serving small businesses and non- profits in Chicagoland. You can find April on Twitter and also connect with April Neill PR on Facebook.