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.