"Social media is changing the way we communicate and the way we are perceived, both positively and negatively. Every time you post a photo, or update your status, you are contributing to your own digital footprint and personal brand."
--- Amy Jo Martin
Consumers recognize brands. They identify with a product that they are familiar with through advertisements seen, hearing from others about the brand, and using the product or service themselves. Over time, this familiarization turns into trust and the consumer then knows that they cannot go wrong by buying a Coke, using Google, ordering a Papa John's pizza, or driving a Ford truck. Although not everyone in their circles of influence agree with the purchasing decisions, they can understand and appreciate the loyalty.
Our greatest challenge in business is to attract the same kind of loyalty so that our company name, or the name of the product, or the specialty of our business brings customers to our doors without a second thought. It is the kind of branding that we must all strive for in order to be successful in whatever segment of industry we occupy. Here are four branding rules you can begin applying today to attract more business:
"A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well."
--- Jeff Bezos
Here in the South, we have Winn Dixie, a grocery chain that is known as being the "Beef People." In their print ads and television commercials, the company would show a branding iron applied to some really nice looking steak. You could hear the sizzle while the brand left its mark of "W/D," I probably saw the first advertisement over 35 years ago, but the branding affect still lingers.
Now we can't all use the same technique. Those Winn Dixie steaks had better been good to match the ads and branding strategy, and they were. The same holds true for us. We had better provide quality products and service or any fancy branding we do will all be for naught. Rule number one is to strive to provide the best of the best at every turn.
"Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind. But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product."
--- Elon Musk
Rule number two is to toot your horn at every opportunity that presents itself.
Some of us find it difficult to talk about ourselves and our business in a bragging way. A good rule to remember in those settings is that if it is true, you can say it. In other words, there are those who boast about their business at times when the business really stinks. It is sucking pond water and the owner or business leader still brags. But, if you are doing well, let others know. Tell your customers, tell it in advertisements, and tell it to the media.
"Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it's not going to get the business."
--- Warren Buffett
Rule number three: Don't try to be the best at everything.
Find that one niche where your business shines and rest your branding on that.
"In designing a lifestyle brand, you have to know more than just designing clothes."
--- Tommy Hilfiger
Finally, rule number four is to know your business as well as your industry.
Read association and trade magazines and study the latest trends and movements coming on the horizon. Look for ways to better position your brand in anticipation of new developments. Try to imagine a red hot iron searing your brand onto the best your industry has to offer.
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Sign on liquor store in Milwaukee:
"In Wine There Is Wisdom. In Beer There Is Strength. In Water There Is Bacteria- You Decide!"
Sign on Riverside Baptist Church:
"God Expects Spiritual Fruit Not Religious Nuts"
Sign on Valvoline Instant Oil Change Shop:
"Don't Let The Dinosaurs Die In Vain. Come In Today."
We need those funny signs you've seen in your travels, come on, we know they're out there.
Send them to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.