Building an Authentic Business Brand

We keep hearing a lot about authenticity these days. Many entrepreneurs understand that they need to make their business authentic and relevant, but they get lost in application. When it comes to authenticating a business’ brand, there are several key marketing success factors. A key success factor is what is required of every business to ensure competence, competition, and success. Determining key success factors should be a priority for any size business interested in authenticating its brand.

Essentially, every business keen on succeeding in a particular market or industry should understand the environment of the industry well enough to know what is and what isn’t necessary to successfully exist and thrive in any given market. Effective authentication is only possible when a business makes a conscious effort to keep its finger on the pulse of its relative industry.

Another very relevant marketing related key success factor includes the establishment and successful maintenance of a fast and accurate technical support, assistance or customer service. To build a magnetic customer service procedures, simply take a look at what you like and what you don’t like as a customer yourself. What pleasant or unpleasant experiences have you had and how did they influence your behavior as a customer. Remember to also do your research and invest into attractive packaging and styling.

With the boom of Internet and social media, communication with clients and potential clients jumped to a yet another level. Authentic brands come down to where their target market and clients are, join the conversations, offer solutions and build connections. Twitter became a fantastic place where we all seem to be equal in a way that anyone can reach out to anyone else. That’s how you can join the conversations your clients have about their problems and offer your solutions. Facebook helps you stay in front of your “fans” without being offensive and sending emails couple times a day. People today don’t care how big or small your business is, but they care about value they get from working with you or buying your products and services.

This brings me to a yet another key success factor to building and authentic business brand. Communication with your team. You can benefit from your work contacts as well as hurt your business based on how you communicate with people around you. And I don’t mean just your VA or technical support guy. I mean everyone you come into contact with that works with you on a specific project or event, like your event manager, speakers, hosts you work with, affiliates, even coaches you work with. It might surprise you, but when you take a closer look at your business, you will find many people who support you and your business. How do you work with them? What are they left with once the project or event is over? Do you build lasting relationships and trust or do people leave never wanting to work with you again? Remember, little “Thank you!” goes a long way even today.

The given key success factors will vary with each existing market. In fact, they should be unique and your own. The same way how you are different the way you interact with your prospects and clients, the way you communicate with your team and the way you offer support and help will probably be different than mine. And this is what makes a good and authentic brand. Yes, you can adapt systems and processes, but you will still need to personalize them based on your brand personality. The process of authenticating a business’ brand includes the creation of a favorable image, including the reputation with buyers. A great justification for the need to authenticate your business brand is the fact that a business that is uniquely and effectively adapted in an otherwise unfavorable market can still earns a good profit.

Build Business Online: Follow Up

Many people believe that setting up a business online is the hardest part, what they don’t realize is how difficult it can be to keep their business competitive once they are up and running. Today we’ll look closely at follow up. I will cover three major areas where follow up and follow through will help you build business online: web traffic, sales and customer service.

1. Website traffic
Everyone who’s ever built a website understands the importance of increasing the website traffic. Way too often entrepreneurs invest their time and money into building a website that no one cares about to visit. There are several ways to increase web traffic to your site. The most important part is to figure out where your audience already is and focus your energy there. Website1 199×300 Build Business Online: Follow UpWhen working with small businesses, it always amazes me how they forget this simple rule. Don’t be on Facebook just because everyone else and their mother uses it. Don’t spend time on LinkedIn if your audience isn’t there.

Be thorough in your market research, create a marketing strategy that will focus you on platforms that work the best for your business, your target audience, your personality and rock your online space. There are many tips and strategies I share in my Social Media Simplified Program, which can help you build a simple, yet powerful online marketing strategy for your business. I highly recommend this program for you if you are tired of wasting your time on social media without seeing desired results or if you have been avoiding social media altogether. Click here to learn more about Social Media Simplified Program and claim your copy.

When it comes to follow up, you want to keep in mind that how you show up in front of your audience on social media platforms is how they see you. You either build or destroy their trust; either encourage or destroy their confidence in your business and/or product; either make them like you or turn around and look for someone else. Consistency in your approach, personality, message and timing is the key to your marketing success.

2. Online sales
MagicTrick 207×300 Build Business Online: Follow UpYes, we all want more eye balls on our website and sales pages, but that won’t help us feed our kids or pay our rent. Besides increasing web traffic it is also pertinent to focus on sales. When looking at sales, it is important to make the customer feel as comfortable and as confident with your product and your company as possible. You want your potential clients to get to know, like and trust you.

This is where following up becomes very important. Whatever method you choose – email, mail, phone, text message, video, audio, or anything else – it’s super important to show your potential clients that you can be trusted and you DO deliver on your promises.

This is where building your list of prospective clients and staying in touch with them becomes extremely important. They might not be ready yet to buy from you or work with you, but the day will come where they will either be ready or they will meet someone else who will need your product or service.

Here’s the important question: How are you showing up to these people on your list? Are you helpful? Are you resourceful? Are you building or ruining the trust? Is what you are currently doing helping your business or do you need to fix the leaks?

3. Customer service
Just like in brick and mortar businesses, great customer service is a key when building a loyal client base. When a company has great customer service, people notice; in fact, this is where a lot of word-of-mouth business comes from as well as return customers.

It’s important to understand what type of experience your customers go through when visiting or shopping at your site, or being part of your programs. Do you know what is the download time of your site? How your website shows up in different browsers, or mobile devices? Is your message consistent? Are the re-directions working well? Do you deliver on your promises? Are your emails, messages, programs valuable, unique, applicable? Do you improve the quality of life of your clients? What can you potentially improve? How can you make your clients’ experience even better? How about your refund policy and customer support – does it represent your business and your values well? Finally, here’s the most important question when it comes to customer service: Are you really following through on your promises?

Broken Promises

In general, what sets one product apart from the rest is branding.  Branding is a method that differentiates a product and makes it easily identifiable.  It should therefore be an important component of your company’s marketing thrust. It is a twofold concept, involving the promotion of both your business and product. Business branding involves the utilization of diverse tools to promote your business’ strengths in order to attract customers, and cement your position in the market.

For the small business with limited resources, less costly marketing tools like social media, can be used to create value for the business.  Sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others, present the opportunity to spread the word about your business, and get your name ‘out there’.  However, use of these resources should be part of an overall brand strategy, aimed at developing a well-defined brand (unless you’re planning to waste lots of time without seeing any tangible results).

You can start with logo, sign, image, or business name, but remember that branding goes much deeper than that and it will depend on the brand strategy you choose.  However, your branding needs to be clear, and represent your company well. Brand represents the personality of the company, and presents a promise to the customer, because it communicates what they can expect from your business, product, or service.  It is therefore vital for your company to deliver on its brand promise.

Brand promise also represents what your customer should expect not only in terms of product, but also in terms of service.  In order to ensure that this is upheld and there are no broken promises, your employees should also play an integral role in your brand strategy.  This is an often neglected area when companies are formulating branding policies.  However, failure to include employees can result in promises being compromised.

Brand promises are within the normal expectations that consumers have for a product.  For example, customers anticipate that the quality of a Wendy’s natural cut fries will be the same wherever it is sold, after all the company’s tagline of ‘quality is our recipe’ evokes this.  Should the company break its promise and fail to meet those expectations, then the most likely result would be a decline in sales.

Social media makes it possible for bad experiences to go viral in no time.  When this occurs, it can disrupt what started out as a well-planned brand strategy.  Therefore it is important to cover all the bases when coming up with a brand strategy.  The key to remember is that you must deliver whatever you promise, because this is exactly what your clients expect from you.

Branding Yourself – The Key To Network Marketing Success

Large companies spend phenomenal sums of money on branding every year, to give themselves a major advantage in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean, and how is it relevant to YOU, as a home business owner?

Quite simply, a brand is a business’s promise to its customer. It defines what they can expect from its products or services, and it distinguishes its offering from those of its competitors. When we hear the brands Microsoft, Google or Starbucks, we immediately know exactly what to expect and what they are renowned for. I always like to think of a brand as the personality of a business, a unique combination of qualities that makes it stand out from the crowd.

As someone who spent 20 or so years in conventional marketing before joining a network marketing business, what struck me immediately was how little importance was attached to branding by most distributors. An army of people, marketing the same products and the same companies, using exactly the same tools.

And what hit me even harder after a year or so’s experience was this. Nowhere is branding of more paramount importance than in network marketing. There are two key reasons for this:

1. We all do business more readily with people who know, like and trust us.

That’s precisely why every new distributor is advised to start by creating a “warm” list of friends, family etc. and approaching them first. But when that list has been exhausted and you’re casting your net more widely, it’s vital to differentiate yourself from the hundreds of other people out there who are also pitching their products and opportunity.

If you invest some time and effort into branding yourself personally, as an expert and business owner, you’ll find it so much easier to attract people to you and to recruit them into your business. If you don’t bother with personal branding, then you’re really little more than a commissioned independent representative. That’s not the way to network marketing success.

Never forget that people join you – not your business!

2. You will still have a business – no matter what happens to your company!

What would happen if the company you are now with decides to discontinue its operations or goes bankrupt? If you’ve simply been promoting its products and opportunity in a similar fashion to all the other distributors, you’re in danger of being left with absolutely nothing to show for all that time and effort.

But if you’ve been focusing your efforts on creating and building your own personal brand, you will have built up your database – a loyal following of team members and prospects who trust you and want to work with you.

Then, when you decide to join a new network marketing business, a good percentage of your loyal followers will come with you.

And because their main loyalty is to you, not your company, you will have the opportunity to market additional products and services to them on an ongoing basis. Offering incredible value to them and creating important additional income streams for you.

There are numerous ways of branding yourself, such as starting your own blog, writing articles and building a presence on the social media sites. I’ll be covering these, and many other personal branding strategies, in future articles.

Branding Simplified: How To Brand Your Startup Business

Do you know that you do not need lots of money to start your own small business?  In fact, a multibillion-dollar beauty products company started up in a garage, when an entrepreneur decided to use some of her grandmother’s beauty recipes to make up beauty products and sell them to her neighbors. Within a couple of months, she had managed to achieve a loyal clientele base. This was the beginning of Estee Lauder. The idea was to get people to know more about her brand, her top-quality products, and the will to sell her product to anybody who was even remotely interested in them. Estée Lauder used a really good marketing strategy – she had a number of her own products always present in her purse and did not hesitate to demonstrate them whenever she went out in public. In fact, she continued to bombard the rich and the famous with samples of her product. This was one way in which she was getting her brand name advertised and building up a brand name for herself.

It is not advisable to send your product to those who do not want them. Nevertheless, free samples, discounts, competitions, and one-plus-one marketing strategies are just some of the ways in which you can build up a really good client base.  Then, once they know that you are going to be giving them really good products and services, in keeping up with your promise of top quality and service, your brand will slowly and steadily be recognized and acknowledged as a force with which to be reckoned.

For all those people who are running their businesses on the Internet, it is necessary for them to go online often, and look for clients who are repeated visitors and buyers. Send them thank you notes, rebates, discounts, and incentives, with and for their future purchases. Look at the products that are comparatively more profitable, and concentrate on them. Give them value-added services at a lower rate than your competition. After all, you are a solopreneur. You are gaining the goodwill of a number of clients who are going to be serving as your unconscious brand ambassadors! Start small, and you are going to be surprised to see how fast your brand name is spread to people all over the place.


Brand Visibility: Tips to Set You Apart

A well-defined brand will set your product apart from the competition. However, the success of any branding strategy hinges on the ability to establish brand visibility in the marketplace. The product must be known and recognized. If that is achieved, then customers will be willing to buy your product.Brand visibility refers to the ability to gain the attention of the target audience. There are always going to be several brands competing for the attention of the consumer, therefore, they are going to buy the brand that offers them the best value. That brand will be the one most able to satisfy their needs, and generate a level of comfort and satisfaction that will earn it preferred status. In order to attain that status, a brand must be able to excel above the competition. However, the brand must first of all be visible.

Brand visibility, is what is needed to take your brand to the level of market dominance. It is important that the process highlights the unique features of your brand. Here are a few tips that can help get this done:

Reinforce your brand. If your brand is on the market and there is no reinforcement, it will become stagnant and lose ground. It is important that you continue to build your brand by communicating with the market regularly. Consistent communication, will ensure that your brand appeals to consumers on an emotional level, and increase their awareness of it.
Position your brand: Positioning is all about putting your brand in the right place, in the market, so that it gains the attraction of the right audience. You can decide the best position after careful analysis of the market and competitors.
Integrate community interest in your brand: This can be a great tool to help spread word about your brand. On one level, the brand must establish a link with the local community. By including their interests, they will be attracted to the brand, and help to tell others about it.
Create an online Brand Community. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, can move your brand into the global sphere. The creation of an online brand community, will raise brand awareness, as people tell the story of your brand and propel visibility to a global audience. Whether they exist on the local or online level, community members are committed to the brand, and can prove instrumental in increasing awareness, and moving the brand forward.
Special Promotions – Attract customers by giving away free items. There is no greater pull for consumers than getting something for nothing. It will improve the status of your brand in their eyes, and with the right promotions, you will be able to gain valuable attention for your brand.
Brand visibility is all about popularizing your product, so that there is a buzz about it in the market. A product is more likely to be retained in the mind of a customer, if the brand is very visible. This will in turn lead to an increase in sales, which is the desire of every business, no matter the size.

Brand Value vs. Brand Recognition

If I were to put two packages of coffee before you, one being Folgers and the other an unbranded coffee, and asked you to purchase one of them, in all likelihood you would choose Folgers. Why? Because Folgers is a brand that you easily recognize, and more importantly it is the brand that you know that it provides you with value. Consumers will always align themselves with a brand name that they know and trust. In fact, they won’t hesitate buying it, even if it costs more.

That simple scenario gives an example of the twin concepts of brand recognition, and brand value. In order to achieve brand recognition on the market and create brand value, small businesses need to focus on product branding.

Brand value is a precious yet intangible asset, which will make a consumer pay premium price for a product. To a large extent, the value of a particular product is determined by the consumers. However, it is the role of the business to focus on the quality, and ensure that the product features are satisfying enough to bring about a positive response from the consumer. By focusing on quality and meeting expectations, the product will gain respect in the marketplace. This will make consumers all too happy to buy it.

On the other hand, brand recognition relates to the level of consumer awareness your brand has in the market. It is the extent to which your product is recognized, as a result of specific attributes. When these attributes are successfully communicated to the market, the brand will be well known. The company can also gain brand recognition by undertaking a sustained media campaign. However, it is possible for the product to attain recognition in the market, but not bring in additional sales. This is usually caused despite marketing efforts, by a failure of specific product to gain respect or get any positive response.

Consumers develop opinions on various brands. These opinions are formed on the basis of the good or bad experiences they have with the product. Their opinions then become benchmarks, which are used to rate the different brands. If the results of this informal assessment by the market are negative, then even in the face of significant brand recognition, more sales will not be generated. However, when a product has brand value, it is an indication that the product means something to consumers. They value it, and will therefore buy it.

Think of it as a multilevel branding process. First off a business must establish a brand name, so that the product and business will be easily identified in the market. Having done that, they should then seek to create brand recognition. Brand recognition is achieved through effective marketing communication. It causes the consumer to associate the brand with a particular industry or class of product, and enhances their ability to recall it.

Finally, a business must harness the goodwill from brand recognition to build brand value. Any business that wants to improve their bottom line, must aim to satisfy consumers by offering a good quality product, and giving value. Brand recognition will get you noticed in the market, but it is brand value that will take you to the top.

Brand Personality I

Brand personality is the physical layout and location of the business. Adding personality to your business is the most important point, often ignored and misunderstood by many business owners. Imagine that you are visiting an office for the first time and you find an old style building in poor condition or the low standard work area without any innovation. What image will it build in your mind about that business or office area? Probably not too positive. You can see the same mistake online in many office videos on YouTube, but what’s even worse, on optin pages or on sales pages.

To attract customer attention, you need to make the personality of your business groom and charming. Creating a brand personality is a multilayer process. It should be part of each business plan right from the beginning as continuous improvement is required to make the personality charming.

But is it really necessary to build brand personality if you are a start up business or sole proprietor? In start up stage budget seems to be a big problem, but at the same time business personality can not be ignored. When you have established an attractive brand personality, earning revenue and making investment is not so difficult.

Come back tomorrow as I’ll share with you some tips on how to establish an attractive brand personality. >> Read part 2 here.

Meanwhile, I’d like to hear your opinion on whether brand personality is important or not for you in your business. Share your ideas in the comments below.

Magnetic Look simplifies your business and life as it helps you develop a personalized, effective and profitable strategy for your small business. Stop wasting your time and money and discover how to stand out in your industry and build a magnetic brand.

10 Ways To Create Brand Value

In order to create brand value, a business must be able to communicate successfully to the target market. This communication should create awareness of their product, and influence the consumer’s perception of it. Brand value is all about the consumer recognizing their need for the product, because of its perceived worth. Below are a couple tips to help create brand value.Focus on Quality: Brand value is all about having a product that means something to the consumer. Consumers value products that are of good quality. They will not buy inferior quality goods that break down easily, or do not last as long as they should. Therefore, any company that is looking to create brand value must ensure that they have a product of quality. In addition, quality must be delivered consistently, not erratically, but all the time.
Link your product to a worthy cause. Consumers love to support a cause. The product will be of even greater value when linked to an inspiring mission, or commitment. What could be better than buying a product from a company that cares.
Clearly Communicate Product Benefits. The truth is, consumers will not be motivated to buy your product if they think that there is no value in doing so. In a real sense their emotions come into play, because they feel and believe in the product and that motivates them to purchase. Therefore businesses must endeavor to communicate product benefits to them.
Create an Expectation: Boost the perception that there are great benefits to be derived from purchasing the product. Transmit to the consumer a mental picture of the comfort, and peace of mind they will experience when they buy it. They will place value on that expectation.
Create a brand experience: make your product enticing and throw in some extras, so that they know they are getting superior value when they purchase your product. When you do this it will arouse interest, generate brand loyalty, and increase sales.
Reinforce the brand: Initiate activities that will build a strong image. This will create positive images that will keep purchases coming back, and also attract new ones.
Build a brand community: Social media sites are a great way to help build a brand community. They can be used to foster relationships with customers, and keep in touch with what it is they need from your product. As advocates of the brand interact, and the community is nurtured, brand value will take root and eventually extend to persons outside the community, and around the globe.
Present an Opportunity for Expression: When customers can express their opinions on a product and provide feedback about the brand, they will see themselves as a part of the process that is helping to create value.
Look for ways to improve your brand: Customers are attracted to products that are look to provide them with a better experience.
Don’t break your brand promise. Be true to your brand. Customers will return to you if you are, and they will also be willing to refer others. So always deliver on what you have promised

What is a Unique Selling Proposition?

The foundation of a unique selling proposition is offering a product or service perceived by potential buyers as unique and valuable. The attributes of the business’ products or services should be substantially different from the competitor. In order to effectively develop a unique selling proposition, a business needs to study the existing buyers’ needs and behavior. It will have to be determined what the buyers consider valuable and what they are willing to pay for. Once this assessment is complete, a business will have to incorporate the selected buyer-desired attributes into the unique selling proposition in an effort to distinguish itself from existing competitors.

House What is a Unique Selling Proposition?

The objective of a unique selling proposition is to differentiate the business’ products or services from it rivals in such a way that this original selling proposition appeals to the majority of the existing buyer market. A unique selling proposition concentrates on outperforming competitors, by offering customized products or services that are specifically tailored to meet the established buyers’ tastes and demands. Businesses interested in a unique selling proposition should try to conceive strategies that are capable of winning over customers, outcompeting rivals, and establishing an edge in the relevant industry. Essentially, a unique selling proposition should be capable of improving a business’ long-term competitive capabilities and market position.

Any unique selling proposition offered by a business should cater and focus on the price, product quality, performance features, services, and warrantees. The best of selling propositions are the ones that capture existing growth opportunities. It usually crafts offensive moves that capitalize on the most competitive position and profitability. A well thought out unique selling proposition is one in which competitors find hard to match or off-set with their existing market resources and industry capabilities.

In order to successfully develop a unique selling proposition, a business must be aware of the buyers’ needs and behavior. It has to be known what a buyer considers valuable. In addition, a business will also need to determine what buyers are willing to pay for. Further, a unique selling proposition offers a business a different kind of competitive advantage that includes the ability to command a premium price for its product or service, increase the unit sales as a result of customers connecting to the differentiating features; and gaining customer loyalty to the brand.

Any business can pursue a unique selling prospective from several angles. Some angles include a unique taste, a host of unique features, hard to replicate design and performance, prestige and distinction, product reliability, quality, and technological leadership. A unique selling proposition is about being different. It is the process of deliberately choosing to perform strategic activities differently and deliver a unique brew of consumer values. However, every business should keep in mind that a unique selling proposition must be different in ways that are valuable to a customer and can be sustained. Any time and effort invested into a unique selling proposition by a business, if careful thought out, has the potential to skyrocket a business into a strong competitive market position.