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Developing Your Business and Personal Branding

Branding is the Future

I’ve talked a little bit about branding and how to build a personal brand in the past but today I really want to dig into the subject. The use of social media by individuals and businesses continues to expand. With thousands of people joining social networking sites every day, it has become more important than ever to brand yourself if you want to stand out from the crowd.

What is Branding?

According to the American Marketing Association, a brand is “a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or services as distinct from those of other sellers. A brand may identify one item, a family of items, or all items of that seller.”
branding - page of brands
This technical explanation focuses on the tangible aspects of a brand that comes to mind when we think about it. The Nike Swoop and their ‘Just Do It’ tagline, Twitter’s blue bird, and Microsoft’s 4 color logo are examples of the physical aspects of a corporate brand that are immediately recognizable.

There are also intangible aspects of a brand, such as how the brand makes us feel, that can’t be put on a logo but which shape our interaction with a brand nonetheless. There is a reason why Jimmy Choo shoes sell for $500 a pair or more. Sure the company uses high quality materials. But how you feel in a $500 pair of luxury shoes vs. how you feel in a pair of $5 shoes from a value shoe store are completely different.

Whether the brand makes you feel grateful, extravagant, superior, fashionable, frugal, ugly, smart, savvy, or any number of feelings, that’s all a part of the brand as well.

Why is Branding Yourself Important

There are several reasons why you would want to brand yourself and your business. Your brand is what sets you apart from the other people out there doing business. Your competitors are selling the same types of products you are, offering the same kind of service, and charging the same prices. Oftentimes, the only thing that will distinguish you from them will be your brand.

Branding presents your clients with a consistent image and message that will make it easier for them to remember and recognize you. Expose people to your brand often enough and they will begin to connect you to the product or service you offer. For example, when people think of Nike, they think of sports shoes.

Lastly, after you have built up a memorable and effective brand that people love, you will be able to leverage the power of your brand for other purposes. If you wanted to branch off into other products and services, it will be much easier to launch your new venture with the power of your existing brand behind it.

Tips for Branding Yourself

1. Start with one focus. Every business is multifaceted and provides multiple ways in which you can connect with your potential clients. However, pick one dominant message and stick with it. For instance, you may be to talk to your clients about entrepreneurship, marketing, making sales, being a work at home mom, making money on the internet, and hundreds of other topics but if you try to connect on all of those points you will muddle your brand and confuse your customers. Choose one focus point. You can always expand it later.

2. Condense your brand into one line. When people ask you about what you do or what your business is about, you should be able to answer them in one sentence. If it takes you 5 minutes to tell people about your brand you can be certain that it is probably unclear or overcomplicated and, therefore, not as effective as it could be.

3. Don’t follow the crowd. Your brand should stand out from the crowd, not blend in. It is alright to get inspiration from other people but always put your own personality stamp on anything that you do. Your brand will feel more authentic and be easier to market.

Download my free social media checklist (sign up in sidebar) for a daily to do list of all the things you need to do to increase your following. For personalized help in branding yourself, contact me for a free consultation on the best way to market your business online including using Twitter and other internet business tools.

(photo credit: scbr)

Read more of my articles on branding.

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