How to Use Branding to Drive Your Business
Before any business can get off the ground, there are two keys that need to be established – the overall business plan and the marketing plan. It’s no different for an Internet business; in fact, in some ways it may be even more important, given the proliferation of online businesses.
Setting yourself apart from the competition is critical to success, and there are several ways to do that, starting with the aforementioned business and marketing plans. For each, there are two vital questions to answer.
- For the business plan, you must determine what you’re selling and who you want to sell to.
- For the marketing plan, you need to figure out what your message is and the best way to share that message.
Once these questions are answered, it’s time to decide how you want customers to remember you and the message that you have developed. It’s this branding of your company that will likely be the way the public – and your potential customers – will remember you.
This can be done in a variety of ways. Here are the key ones:
- Logo. This is arguably the most important part of the branding process. Consider some of the world’s most iconic companies – Apple, Coke, and Nike – and the first thing that probably popped into your head is their logos.
- Company slogan. This is typically a variation of the overall message, condensed and focused to be memorable. As you can imagine, shortening a firm’s philosophy into 3-5 words isn’t easy. Much like an effective logo, a good catchy slogan can shape buyers’ images of your company.
- Social media. Does your product appeal to young people? Then you need a presence on Facebook and YouTube. No matter what the product, or demographic, an Internet business and social media go hand in hand. You need to make sure the company message translates in how social media is handled.
The goal with any of these branding methods is two-fold: You want customers to know who you are, and you want that recognition for something positive. When someone sees your logo or hears your slogan, it should evoke a favorable response.
There are several ways to use branding for that purpose:
- Your logo and slogan should be all over your web presence, both on your site and anywhere else you can place them (Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn company page). The more people see your name, the more they will recognize it.
- Cool promotional items with your logo are an excellent way to have people associate you with something fun. Put your logo on a pen, or a stress ball, or anything that will make people remember you in a positive way.
- Make use of community or cause branding. Aligning yourself with a popular community activity is a good way for people to associate you with something positive. The same holds true for a specific cause that means something to your company. This helps create a positive reputation.
More so than many other Internet marketing ventures, branding will likely require some outside help, particularly if your company doesn’t have anyone with a graphics background to develop a sharp, catchy logo.