10 Sure-Fire Branding Tips That Work For Entrepreneurs

03/17/2017 04:21 pm ET
Photo: © deineka, YFS Magazine

In collaboration with The National Chamber Program. The National Chamber Program is a free resource for small-to-medium-sized businesses and local chambers of commerce, dedicated to furthering their success by connecting them to discounts on office essentials and insightful, business-boosting assets. Connect with the National Chamber Program today and start getting more for your business.

 

The value of branding is undeniable. Branding influences purchase decisions. It helps customers easily identify your business. It creates loyalty, builds market share and communicates value. Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, said it best: “Your brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.”

When you know the value of a brand, it’s easy to appreciate why taking your brand from good to great is a smart move. Here are 10 useful tips to start the transformation.

 

1. Define your brand purpose

Why do you exist? Why do you matter? If you don’t identify this, you’ll leave customers embattled with an existential crisis to the tune of “Why should I do business with you?” It’s a moment they’ll happily trade for clarity; rather, a competitor that clearly states theirs.

 

2. Elevate your brand experience

Brand experience is a series of interactions. Deliver a great experience and show up at the right places. Get started by connecting with national programs that deliver local impact. For example, The National Chamber Program, a free resource for entrepreneurs, hosts webinars, presentations and connects entrepreneurs to professional events across the nation. There’s strength in numbers.

Join thousands of business owners who benefit from their perks, discounts and business-boosting assets. Actively participating in influential programs —like the National Chamber Program—is a smart way to be seen and heard in the right places.

Sign up with the National Chamber Program today, for free, and elevate your brand experience.

 

3. Refresh your brand identity

Brand identity is the easiest fix because much of it is tangible. You’re dealing with logo, tagline, colors and your business name. One quick way to refresh your identity is to revisit its text content. Make sure text within your logo is concise – name and tagline. Any other pertinent information, like specific contact details, is a separate entity. Great design is not complex. It should read well up close and from far away.

 

4. Simplify your brand promise

A good brand conveys an assurance of value. A great brand goes a step further. It simplifies that promise. It explicitly answers an age-old consumer question: What’s in it for me (WIIFM)?

 

5. Explain your brand personality in three words

Personality is important because it drives the look and overall tone of your brand. For example, Virgin America describes its personality as clever, provocative and friendly. In the same way, what are three of your most compelling brand traits? Do they capture the essence of who you are? If you’re unsure where to start, consult this list of 638 primary personality traits.

 

6. Make brand loyalty a priority

Are your customers loyal? If so, how do you know? All assumptions of brand loyalty should be driven by data. What data should you dig for? Repeat purchase behavior. If repeat purchases are low, consider why. Test a loyalty program to reward your top brand fans. It can be as simple or robust as you like.

 

7. Find out if your brand is ‘working’

Does your brand do what it was designed to do? The brand image we create is often different from what people perceive. Become a quick study of your customers. Post online perception surveys on your website to discover: Do ideal customers know your brand? What do they think you do? Compared to competitors, what made them choose you? What do they think of you? What do you want them to think of you? You can't hit a target you cannot see.

 

8. Conquer visual branding

A brand is nothing without stunning visuals. Visual consistency is the mark of a great brand. We’re not talking cookie cutter here. However, there should be common elements that tie things together. If not, people get bored. Swap outdated stock photos for relevant, fresh and original graphics. A visually appealing brand is a great brand.

 

9. Revisit your brand story

Your brand story is a roadmap—a valuable marketing asset. Great brands share compelling stories. TOMS, for example, is known for their captivating story. But great storytelling is hard. Perhaps that’s why it takes Pixar 4-6 years to make one movie.

“At Pixar they invest a lot [of] energy to ensure that the story is just right. Developing a clear, singular vision of how the story will be laid out and how it will flow is essential to their process.” The essence of a great brand story is a clear singular vision. There are universal secrets to writing great stories. Use them to create yours.

 

10. Have fun and get creative

Albert Einstein once said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Don’t forget to have fun with your brand. Once you understand the fundamentals of a great brand, the expression is up to you!

This article originally appeared in YFS Magazine in collaboration with the National Chamber Program. YFS Magazine is the definitive digital magazine for startups, small business news and entrepreneurship culture. Connect with @yfsmagazine on Twitter and Facebook.

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