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  • Dr. Sharon Livingston

THE ULTIMATE LIST OF BRANDING TIPS AND IDEAS


Branding your business can be a challenge, but we’re here to make it easier with our ultimate list of branding tips. Knowing exactly what your brand is all about is just the start. Having a clear vision of your brand will strengthen your business.

Think about some of the brands you already love and know: Apple, Nike, Starbucks.

Why do these brands stand out to you? How would you describe each brand? Why do these brands permeate our consciousness so well?

It’s not a mistake. Brands that live on in our hearts and minds do many things right. We’re here today to help you out with the ultimate list of branding tips and branding ideas that will help supercharge your branding efforts.

There are a lot of posts out there like Top 10 Branding Tips, What is Branding? and even our branding related post, and Branding Definition: Branding for Businesses Explained.

In fact, we’ve even written a list of the Top 25 Branding Tips for Start-Up Businesses in the past.

But there’s nothing insanely actionable that you can refer back to when branding your business!

Here’s the deal:

Before we can even delve into the tips, we’ve added a few questions (consider this a bonus) that you need to answer about your brand first. Then, we can proceed to our huge list of actionable branding tips.

Whether you’re looking for branding tips for small businesses or larger corporate branding tips, we have you covered. We even have personal branding tips and branding ideas covered too.

And no matter whether you’re starting a new company and branding from scratch, or rebranding an existing company, we’ve got that covered as well.

So, let’s get started. Here are the questions: What Does Your Business Do?

The first thing you need to ask yourself is what the business that you’re involved with actually does. Sometimes, after years of treading water, this can actually become a little muddy.

You started as a restaurant but now you’re also selling food packages that can be delivered monthly. Or originally, you were an e-commerce store that sold sports merchandise, but now you’re selling event tickets and more.

Strip it all back and ask yourself, “What does this business do?” Not used to do, or want to do, but actually do.

Note: If you are building a brand and want to change what you do, this is the time to get clear on that, too.

Homework:

Write down a few bullet points on what your business does. If you are feeling a little unclear at this stage, don’t worry. Hopefully, the next few questions and our list of branding tips will provide you with a lot more clarity as well. You can always come back to this question after some more branding soul searching. Why Do You Do It?

Why did you decide to setup that restaurant in the first place or why were you selling wrestling merchandise out of your garage? Was it just to make a quick couple quid? (Likely not if you’re in the restaurant business!)

Try and remember exactly what lit the fire in you in the first place and write it down. I doubt you did it on a whim, so like the first point, bring it right back to basics. They can often get lost as your brand scales and grows.

Homework:

Think back to those first few days you started your business. Write down one sentence that describes what you hoped to accomplish. Remember this often.


Where Do You Want Your Business To Go?

Once you’ve identified what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, spend some time thinking about where you want your business to be five, ten, and even twenty years from now.

For example, Gary Vaynerchuk has said for years that he wants to buy the New York Jets. I don’t know why, because the Giants are clearly the better side, but it has been one of his main goals for as long as I’ve followed his work.

The goal at Canny? To have a minimum of 20 offices spread around the globe working with a variety of different companies from a whole range of countries.

Where do you want your business to go? Are you wanting to open a chain of restaurants? If you’re selling sports merchandise, do you want to only sell wrestling merchandise forever, or are you branching out?

This question will set the bar for your brand moving into the future. You can relate everything you do back to this by asking, “Will this action help my brand achieve its end goal?”

Homework:

Don’t be afraid to set big goals here. Where do you want the business to be in twenty years? Think as big as you can imagine. This is the dream, baby; it starts from here. Did you know that before he made it big, Jim Carrey wrote himself a cheque for $10 million dollars and post-dated it? Did you also know that he was able to cash this cheque when the date came? It’s all about clarifying your vision early, then working toward that.


What Do You Believe?

Having a brand ethos or brand belief system in place will help you out in the long run. Perhaps, you’re all about green energy, watching your carbon footprint and recycling. Great, now you know that all of your stationery should be printed on recycled paper, or perhaps you don’t even have stationery printed.

If you believe everyone should have next-day delivery on their product orders, then make sure you shout about it on the front page of your website. A well-defined belief system will help mold your business and its actions.

Homework:


As you make brand decisions, ask yourself “Is this in line with our company ethos?” If you haven’t already defined your company ethos, now would be a good time. Why Are You Branding/Rebranding?

Maybe you are rebranding your company because you want to expand into a new market. Maybe it’s to go with the times. Maybe you need to know a few things before you rebrand.

We’ve talked about this a lot in our 7 Things Your Boss Wants to Know Before You Rebrand blog post, so if you still have some questions, head over and read that post.

Homework:

Write down three reasons you are focusing on your brand right now. If it helps, make a list of attributes you love about your brand and the ones you hope to have. You can’t rebrand if you don’t know what qualities you want your brand to have. About Your Customers Who Are Your Customers?

Without customers, it’s impossible to run a profitable business. Recently, Tony (the Director here at Canny) and his partner Adrienne have been gearing up for the launch of our their new company, The Name Train.

They know that our customers are parents and relatives of small children. They are usually over 25 and have a mid-range income. They buy from brands such as Mamas & Papas and The White Company. Their products are not for every parent on earth; they’re for mid-range earners and above who have a certain amount of expendable income.

The Name Train built their customer avatar over the duration of six months before we set about creating the product. Now they know who their customers are, where they are online, and exactly how to market to them. (Facebook advertising, in case you were wondering!)

Spend some time thinking about your customers. If you have customers now, ask yourself if they’re the customers you want. If they’re not, you need to identify what your ideal customer looks like and how you’re going to appeal to them. Where Are Your Customers?

The location is still so important, even as everything seems to go global or digital. Knowing exactly where your customers are, what they do, where they go, and who they like to hang out with are all key factors in understanding or determining your brand.

Now that you know or have defined your brand a little more, let’s move on to some real actionable things you can do to build your brand: 1. Be friendly.

Whenever possible, personalize your marketing messages. A great way to do this is in your emails. Don’t be afraid to talk to your customers like they are your friends. Be warm and friendly; it’s perfectly okay to have a laugh!

2. Ask your customers questions.

It’s so important to survey your customers and – may we say – that you need to embrace all kinds of feedback, good and bad. You’ll learn a lot more from the negative feedback anyway, so ask away and be ready for the results.

3. Test drive your slogans.

You think you’ve come up with the wittiest, cleverest slogan or tagline out there. You’re ready to call up your design team and add it to all of your marketing materials.

Stop! Wait!

Before you commit to a slogan or tagline, why not test drive it a bit? What sounds funny or clever to you might be completely missed on your target audience. Start with friends and people in your life who are similar to your target customers. 4. Don’t spend too much time creating a perfect tagline.

Speaking of taglines and slogans, once you’ve got something that works, use it. But don’t dwell too much on making it perfect. Chances are in a few years, your business will grow, expand, and change and so might your perfect tagline. Find something that works, people like, understand, and then move on with things.

5. Don’t try to please everyone.

Define your brand and stick to it. If your brand is a small label, hand-crafted beer, you aren’t going to please the discount beer drinkers who scoff at your high prices. That’s okay. Do what you do best; you’ll find your brand ambassadors out there.

6. Set up a referral program.

This doesn’t have to be complicated. If someone likes your product or service, give them something for telling their friends. It could be a discount, a free gift, or even a cash-back bonus. If you have a great product, people will automatically refer others to you, so use the referral program as a way to say thanks!

7. Don’t try to be someone else.

If you are creating something fresh, be fresh. Don’t try to imitate the big box stores or the big names that everyone knows. Be who you are.

8. Don’t just stick a logo on it and be done with it.

Engage with your audience; be a brand that people want to get to know. Don’t rely on your logo to build your customers, or brand your company. It’s much more about engagement and relationships today.

9. Let your audience define your brand and listen when they do.

As your company grows, listen to how your customers perceive you. Let that continue to define your brand. Make sure you read every single comment, review,and piece of feedback you get from your customers. If what they are saying doesn’t align with what you think your brand is, maybe it’s time to go back to the homework questions we assigned at the beginning of this blog. 10. Become a center of influence.

Don’t rely on others to influence your audience. Become that influencer that others quote and share content from. If you are a small business starting out, why not create a group or blog? Call yourself an expert even before others do. SOURCE: Canny