Branding is by far my favorite topic. No matter the company or the industry, everything revolves around your brand. A firm’s “brand” is how the world knows and sees them and what they do. Branding is a way for companies to differentiate themselves from the competition. It is like a firm’s opportunity to answer “why me”. Customers develop trust in the brand through satisfaction in use and experience, companies have the opportunity to start building relationships with them, strengthening the brand further and making it more difficult for competitors to imitate.
Let me dissect this definition and really dig into what “branding” really entails. If a company is seen as a “brand leader” it will minimize potential competitors entering the market because the existing brand is satisfying its’ customers. If customers are satisfied there is no need for a new brand, unless this new competition feel that they fulfill a specific unmet need AND are perceived as special and valuable. A brand is what gives a company a unique image that creates “brand loyalty” and brand loyalty develops repeat purchase behavior. A large amount of repeat business means MONEY IN THE BANK! A strong brand enables a company a higher market share and even a premium price against generic, unbranded, equivalents.
Branding is so very important because it is usually a hit or miss shot. Branding, however, is not just about the logo and company name or slogan. There is also a concept called “personal branding”. So what is personal branding? Personal branding is defined as your reputation or image that you intentionally create, manage, and communicate about, in a way that an audience finds engaging (source: http://www.businessinsider.com/fundamentals-of-personal-branding-2012-10). Branding is not subject to just companies, employees that offer services have personal branding which is immensely important as well. Of course my clients are interested in my companies brand but they are also interested in the person that is representing their interests as well, ME. My personality and attitude uniquely inform my personal brand. My social media profiles and posts, photos and shares and even product and company reviews and causes that I support and like, all reflect the kind of person that I really am. We are living in a generation where what we do online can affect every single thing we do in our lives. A lot of great people are bypassed all of the time because although people might want what they have to offer, (whether it be for an employment opportunity, a product, or a service) they are not too fond of the personal brand this person has developed online. With so much competition out there, you must stick out. There must be something about you that people perceive as special and valuable.
It is not enough to just create a brand. Once created, brands need to be communicated and positioned for the relevant audience. Many companies are starting to realize that managing their online reputation has a huge impact on their revenue. If you have been following my blog and reading the posts the past couple of weeks, we have discovered that the internet rules EVERY SINGLE THING that we do. So it only makes sense that companies will develop the internet as their branding tool. The internet has caused branding to be far more complex and dynamic than ever and a lot of companies are having to redefine their marketing and branding strategies. Online branding is far more than just creating awareness for a company’s site, it places a great focus on developing trust and relationships online.
So if I were to look at your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter page, what does is say about your “personal brand”. Right now my Facebook says that I clearly blog a LOT and that I’m passionate about travel and maybe a tad bit conceited because I love a good selfie every now and then. Your social media accounts are a reflection of you and you are a reflection of whatever company you are employed by. Because there are many people who do, have done, or could do what you aspire to do, make sure that you not only stand out but that your online presence communicates that you are SPECIAL.