Posts Tagged ‘branding’

Let’s get ready to rumble!  In the blue corner you may know him as Col. James Braddock, Maj. Scott McCoy, or. Walker Texas Ranger.   He’s the man, the legend, Chuck Norris.  In the red corner, he bowls overhand, sharks have a week dedicated to him, he’s won trophies for his game face alone.  He’s the Most Interesting Man In The World.

If these two immovable figures were to square off in a throw down which one would be the last man standing?  While we will never know the outcome of this mythical battle, businesses can learn a lesson from it.

Both of our iconic fighters display a tenacity that businesses should strive for.  Defeat is not in their vocabulary.  It seems that no task is beyond their capability.  In any adversity they adapt, create a plan of attack and act immediately.  In business, we face challenges on a daily basis, some more daunting than others.  How do we react to new competition?  How do we react during a downturn economy?  Or changes in government regulation? Price increases in materials and supplies?

Do you view changes with dread, wring your hands and saying “what am I going to do?”  Or do you welcome the challenges as a nudge to evaluate your business, to find more efficient methods and procedures?  During challenging times like these, the businesses that are able to adapt are the ones that survive.  And not only survived but thrive in the future.

Our two combatants are recognizable brands.  You can see a picture of either one and immediately know who it is without reading the name or seeing a logo.  The reason –  their brand has been so successfully created that we can easily identify it.

We think of branding as a logo like Ford Motor Company’s blue oval or Geico’s Gecko.  Or we think of slogans like “Red Bull gives you wings” or “Just Do It.” But a brand is not a logo or a slogan.  A brand is a perception, the entire persona that exists in the mind of your customers.

As small business owners we may think we don’t have the resources to create a brand.  If a business does not create its own brand, their customers will.  Whether you’re a company or an individual, you have a brand.  To quote Seth Godin, “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” (Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?).

Create your brand by finding your niche, what you do best, and continually reminding your current and prospective customers what you do.  Consistency is the key.  Your brand should reflect your personality, your company philosophy and its environment.  Don’t be afraid to be different, to have fun if that’s who you are.  Obviously there are certain businesses that require a very rigid, professional persona.  Even in that case, it’s still critical to brand what separates you from the competition.

I always find it an interesting exercise when talking with a new client about their business.  One of the questions I ask is “what do you do better or differently than the competition.”  Another is “why should a prospective customer choose you over the competition?”  The answers I typically get are “we all do about the same thing”. Or I may get an answer like “better customer service” or “lower price.” What that really means is “I don’t know.  We are just doing our thing.  We don’t really pay attention to our competitor unless they beat us on a job.”

The first step in creating a brand is defining what separates the business from the competition.  Every business (if they are going to stay in business) must define their strengths and own their niche.

I recently went through this exercise in my own business.  While there are many web site designers, many search engine optimization specialists and many social media experts, very few do all three with successful results I can produce.  After many years of identity crisis, I finally created the brand that separates my company from the crowd.

In today’s online marketing world, buying decisions are influenced (if not made) by your brand reputation.    What is your brand to say about you?  Does it accurately portray your strengths and your specialties?  Is it consistent?  In a throw down with your competition who’s going to come out on top?

Gary Wagnon is the master Ninja traffic generator for 800biz Online Marketing Solutions. Using a combination of action-centered web site design and the latest search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, combined with efficient and effective use of social media, 800biz creates an online presence that helps it’s clients stand out above the competitors and drive more traffic through the door.

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Is Your Company Brand One of These?

Is Your Company Brand One of These?

I discussed branding and the need for consistency in building brand awareness for a local business in my previous post. The next decision is whether you are putting your brand in a 1972 Pinto (challenging you youngsters again with that one) or a luxurious Mercedes.

Or more like one of these?

Or more like one of these?

Maybe you have a website but the only way you can find it on Google is by commissioning Indiana Jones to search for it among the other other artifacts out there. Or maybe your site does show up on Google, but only if you type one specific keyword.

What if your consumer isn’t on Google? Blasphemous I know but true. Recent surveys show that people spend an average of 8 minutes a day searching for things online. The same survey showed they spend 22 minutes a day on social media (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc) They are also reading news articles.

So shouldn’t your marketing and branding efforts try to reach your consumers where they are? What if your customers saw your business when they were sending an email on Gmail? Or reading an article about their favorite baseball team on MLB.com? Or checking out the latest videos on YouTube? Granted, that’s not likely to spur them to stop and contact you at that very moment. But, if they see you with regularity, who do you think they will look for when they are ready for your services?

By using a diverse approach, you stand a better chance of being in front of our customers where they are. There are times when you go hunting with a rifle and others when you hunt with a shotgun (before the animal lovers rise up, it’s just an analogy, I’m not a hunter.) This is the right place for the shotgun approach. Hit as many impressions as you can.

Creating a diverse marketing approach can be a daunting task especially when you only want to target local businesses. If you would like a simple, one stop shop, you should check out LocalAdLink (www.localadlink101.com). This service pushes your business out to over 300 high traffic search engines, directories and web sites, plus to their proprietary ad network of over 10,000 web sites.

Now’s the time to trade in the 72 Pinto and bring your brand into the 21 century.

800biz.com specializes in website design, search engine optimization and search engine marketing.

If you want to see an ingenious use of viral marketing – one reviewer called it “The greatest viral marketing idea of all time” – take a look at The Ultimate SuperTip – a free book packed with valuable and unique marketing tips.

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