Your brand is a major source of value for your company. With a strong brand identity, you can do more with fewer resources to reach your audience by creating an image in their minds of how you uniquely meet their needs. But branding is about much more than just logos. Here are the 5 key elements of a strong brand identity.
1. A Purpose
Your branding tells people your reason for doing what you do. It explains how you want to change the world for the better. At a glance, people can understand the values that are at the core of your philosophy and products.
To start creating your brand identity, spend some time thinking about your “why.” Why does your business exist? What is it you hope to change in the world to make it a better place?
2. Market Perspective
Your brand identity tells people what position you occupy in the market. It says not only what you do, but how you do it uniquely from anyone else: “We’re the ones who ____.”
Part of successful branding is to understand your industry and the unique place you fill in that industry. It involves getting in touch with your natural strengths so you can play to them.
3. Your Company’s Personality
Your company should have a likeable and relatable personality that resonates with your audience. Your brand communicates this personality to your audience, speaking to them in their voice and tone. The personality also makes it memorable.
What is your brand’s personality? You can figure this out through research on competitors and natural strengths, but also by asking your customers why they prefer buying from you and not someone else.
4. Consistent Design Elements
Although branding is more than just logos and colors, design elements are important. They work on a subtle level. Wherever your audience member encounters your brand, they see the same design features, which tells them it’s you and shows that you’re consistent. Design elements includes name, logo, colors, banners, fonts, and so on.
5. Your Audience
Your content is targeted to a specific audience, talking about their problems and addressing their needs. For a strong brand identity, you need to know your audience well and focus on them, not you or your products and services. Your branding discusses your offerings in terms of the unique benefits to users.
How to Create a Strong Brand Identity
Branding isn’t second nature to most companies. It requires some planning and strategic thinking to develop a strong brand identity.
Creating a strong brand starts with clarifying your business goals and your strategy for achieving them. Your brand needs to be in line with your core values and unique value proposition.
The next step is to research your audience and industry. A detailed customer profile helps you understand your target market so you can address their needs and speak their language.
Once you’ve clarified the fundamentals of your business and gained a thorough understanding of the marketplace, you’re ready to create a branding message and unique value proposition. With this in hand, you’re ready to go about implementing your brand and monitoring your results.
Do you want to learn more about creating a strong brand identity? Check out Innovative Business Solutions’ the self-study course “Branding – Who Are You?” which teaches you the A to Z of developing the right brand for your business and helps you achieve your business goals HERE.
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About The Author
Pat Simes is a blogger, entrepreneur, and Founder of Innovative Business Solutions. She currently resides in the Midwest and is committed to inspiring and empowering entrepreneurs.
In a world where things are always changing, your business needs to stay current. Many companies make the mistake of holding onto their old brand long after it’s no longer effective. Your brand needs to be up to date in order to meet the changes in the market. Is it time for a rebrand?
Communicate Your Current Business
Rebranding may become necessary in order to reflect a big change in your business. This could be a merger or acquisition, or a change in company strategy. It could be something smaller like the launch of a new product line or a period of considerable growth. Whatever the change, it necessitates a brand makeover.
Getting Serious About Your Branding
Like many companies, you may not have done your branding correctly to begin with. It’s often hard when you first get started to fully grasp your customers and your unique position in the market. As you start to grow, you may feel like you’re lacking a strong brand identity, and now’s the time to develop one.
Connecting with a New Audience
Companies often decide to re-brand in order to connect to a new audience. In order to grow into a new segment of the market, your brand needs an update in order to focus on the needs of this new segment. Since you’re reaching new customers, you need to reassess the needs your company meets so your branding can communicate this.
Changes in the Industry Landscape
The industry landscape might have changed. If there are new players in the market, you might need to re-brand in order to show your audience how you’re different. Rebranding can help you stay relevant in your industry.
More Earnings and Higher Value for Your Company
Brushing up your brand makes your company more profitable. Most companies find that they earn more after their rebranding. The process adds value to your business and makes you more attractive to investors.
How Do You Know It’s Time to Rebrand?
Rebranding is a major step that takes considerable resources and effort. Here are the signs that it may be time:
Rebranding starts with clarifying your business’s vision and goals and performing a brand audit to determine how well your current branding is communicating your unique value to the market. It’s a great way to reinvigorate your business and meet new challenges.
Do you want to learn more about branding strategies for your business? Check out Innovative Business Solutions Self-Study Course, “Branding – Who Are You?”, which teaches you the A to Z of branding and helps you achieve your business goals.
Find The Self-Study Course HERE
About The Author
Pat Simes is a blogger, entrepreneur, and Founder of Innovative Business Solutions. She currently resides in the Midwest and is committed to inspiring and empowering entrepreneurs.
How do you get potential new clients to your website and convert them from visitors to customers? Although you may be active on social media, online forums, and other places online, it’s your website that will have the biggest impact on how you acquire new clients. Here are a few things you can do with your site to help you generate more business.
The written content on your site should be search engine optimized with relevant keywords that will bring traffic to it. This will help with search engines like Google. Use a free keyword tool to find some good keywords and focus especially on long-tail keywords. These are longer phrases and sentences that have less competition.
Add a Blog
Add a blog to your site and post helpful, informational content regularly. This will help with search engines by providing fresh content and more keywords. It will also help to show your expertise in your topic area. You can write on topics that are of interest to your potential clients and show what you know.
Include Social Proof
Social proof refers to content that shows how you’ve helped others solve their problems. It is very powerful in demonstrating the unique value you offer. Testimonials from former clients are easy to use on your website for social proof. Reach out to people you’ve worked with before and ask if they’d give some feedback that you can use for a testimonial.
Use Video Content
A great way to tell site visitors about your business is to create a short video that shows you talking to the viewer. This puts a human face on your business. The video can be short and simple. Just introduce yourself and your business and give the viewer your elevator pitch about what unique value you can offer them.
Check out Other Business’ Sites
Spend some time looking around at the websites of businesses that are similar to yours. See how they represent themselves. Look at their design, their content, and the site navigation. This can give you some ideas on how to improve yours or set it apart.
Offer a Free Information Product
Put a free info product for download on your site, like an eBook that helps your target market solve some problem they’re facing. This is a great way to demonstrate your expertise and start a relationship with the prospect. In exchange for the free download, they submit their name and email address so you can send them content and promotions by email.
Call the Visitor to Action
In addition to explaining the unique value you offer, give the visitor a clear call to action. Tell them exactly what they need to do in order to get the benefits you’re promising them. Experiment with different wording in your call to action and see what performs best with your specific audience.
Monitor Your Analytics
Set aside some regular time to check your analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t. This is how you refine your website strategy and constantly improve to make it more effective. Soon, you’ll have a streamlined site that easily converts visitors into new clients.
Do you want to learn more about new client acquisition?
Check out Innovative Business Solutions Self-Study course, “How To Attract More Clients”, which teaches you the A to Z of getting new clients for your business and helps you achieve your business goals.
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Social media is a great tool for finding new clients. Potential clients are there, looking for the products and services you offer, so it’s the perfect place to connect. But it’s not just a matter of creating a profile and having new clients flock to you. You have to proactively go out there and find them. Here are some strategies to best use social media to generate new clients.
Meet Your New Clients Where They Are
There are many social media platforms out there, and not all of them are appropriate for finding new clients. Create a target profile for your ideal client and find out which platforms they use for finding goods and services. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are very popular with a wide range of users. LinkedIn is a professional B2B networking site, so it’s a great place to look for clients. If you’re not sure, sign up for all and drop the ones that don’t bring results.
Communicate Your Natural Strengths at a Glance
On each platform you plan to use, create a profile relevant to the work you do. At a glance, a person who doesn’t know you should be able to easily understand what you do. Emphasize your natural strengths and the unique value you offer. Make it visually appealing so it will grab people’s attention and don’t include anything off brand.
Search with Hashtags
There are people on each site looking for the services you offer. The best way to search for these individuals is to use hashtags. Hashtags are search keywords for social media. Use words and phrases related to your industry and product. Do some research to find hashtags a potential client might use when searching for you. Also, use hashtags when you post content so your posts will appear in searches.
Become a Regular Social Media User
Spend time each day posting, replying, searching, and interacting with the connections you make. Focus on posting content that helps people solve their problems and shows your expertise since this is your selling point. Content should mostly be informational and not promotional. Focus on building relationships. If they like the information you share, they’ll check you out to see if you’re offering what they need.
Point Users to Your Other Content
A great way to strike a balance between informational and promotional is to use social media to point to your other content. For example, when you publish a new piece on your blog, tell your social media followers about it and provide a link. This will drive traffic off social media to your other content and you can gain followers there as well.
Reach Out to Prospects
In addition to posting content and interacting with people naturally on social media, you can reach out to potential clients and give them a pitch telling them what you do. Emphasize the unique benefits you offer. The person might not offer you a job today, but at least you’ll start a relationship with them.
Do you want to learn more about getting new clients? Check out Innovative Business Solutions Self-Study course, “How To Attract More Clients”, which teaches you the A to Z of finding your ideal clients and putting your offer before them, and helps you achieve your business goals.
Online groups and forums are places where people get together and discuss their common interests. They also go there to find the products and services they need to solve the problems they’re facing, so it’s an excellent place to find new clients. Here are some strategies you can use to generate clients from online forums.
Discover Where Your Clients Hang Out
Start by figuring out where your target client spends their time online. What forums do they use? For example, if your target clients are website owners or ecommerce business owners, check out a webmaster forum like Warrior Forum.
If you offer photography services, you can join forums where people would likely be searching for photographers, such as wedding or baby forums. If you sell clothes or accessories, you might join forums related to fashion. Reddit is an excellent resource for forums on every topic imaginable. Once you find them, join forums related to the niche or industry you’re in.
Check Out the Guidelines
Before joining and posting to a forum, check out the guidelines so you make sure you aren’t breaking any rules. Most online forums have rules about promoting businesses there. Others allow you to promote but only in certain sections or at certain times. Many have restrictions on new users and a process for lifting the restrictions. Before you make a profile, it’s good to know whether you’re allowed to put links in your profile or posts.
Tell Everyone What You Do
Create a profile that emphasizes what you do. Everything in your profile should be relevant to your business. What do you want people here to know about you? This is valuable online real estate for communicating your unique value. You might want to look around at other profiles on the site to get ideas.
Focus on Helping Other Members
Once you’re ready to start using the site, join conversations and answer questions with the aim of helping others. Use your expertise to offer value to other members with no expectations in return. Potential clients will see your posts and check out your profile to see what else you have to offer.
Ask Questions and Start Threads
Although the main goal is to show your expertise and value, you can also start your own threads and ask questions. All interaction is good interaction and starting threads makes you even more visible. Your aim should be to become well known to other members as a helpful and positive expert in your field.
Keep things positive. Don’t say anything that could potentially show you in a bad light. Take a moment before posting to re-read and make sure your tone doesn’t sound disagreeable. You don’t want to make enemies here. Stick to relevant topics and avoid anything controversial or potentially upsetting to others.
Some people join forums and spam them, so you need to make sure you don’t appear that way. Don’t post the same comment multiple times. Don’t promote yourself, except in designated areas. If you build good relationships, you will attract business.
Online forums and groups are just one tool to add to your marketing arsenal to help you find clients. Join as many as you have time for, and you’ll quickly discover which are the most lucrative. The key is to find out where your target market hangs out online and put yourself in front of them.
Do you want to learn more about new client acquisition? Check out Innovative Business Solutions Self-Study course, , which teaches you the A to Z of getting new clients and helps you achieve your business goals.
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The hunt for new clients never ends. You need to always be out there generating leads, even when you have plenty of work to keep you busy. It takes time to nurture relationships and you never know when you’ll bump into a lucrative business opportunity. Here are 7 unique methods for finding new clients.
Ask for Referrals
The best business comes from referrals. A happy client tells others about you and the new person already knows the unique value you offer. We usually wait for referrals to naturally occur, but it’s even better to ask for them proactively. Make it a regular part of your business operations. Whenever you receive positive feedback from a client, ask if there’s anyone they know who could use the help too.
Join Social Media Groups
Social media is essential for finding new clients, but are you active in groups? There are groups dedicated to every single topic of interest on these platforms. These are places where people get together and discuss common interests. If you’re active there, you’ll raise your visibility.
Speak at Industry Events
Find offline industry events and trade shows to speak at. Share your expertise with people and you’ll find new clients. Give a presentation on a topic related to the work you do, then encourage participants to follow you online. By teaching them, you’ve already started the relationship by giving them something of value they can use.
Hold your own educational events online through webinars. The great thing about webinars is that you don’t have to attend physically. They are low-cost and people from anywhere in the world can join. While you share your expertise with participants, you can start building a relationship with them.
Put out Press Releases
Whenever there’s any news related to your business or your industry, put out a press release. There are directories where you can publish press releases online and media outlets will pick them up. You can also use press releases as content on your website or social media.
Write Guest Blog Posts
Guest blogging helps you reach a new audience with your expertise. Reach out to blogs in your niche with a pitch for a post and see if they’ll publish it. They get a free piece of high-quality content and you get exposure to their audience. Approach guest blogging strategically, writing and publishing on a regular basis to high-traffic blogs.
Create Free Information Products
Pay it forward by offering free information products. Info products are cheap and easy to produce. They can be published on your website and other places online for potential clients to download and enjoy in exchange for their email address. You can then market to them through email.
Create a Strategic Marketing Mix
Always be on the lookout for new marketing channels and strategies. Add them to your mix one by one and monitor the results. Gradually, you’ll have a whole arsenal of techniques to help find new clients.
Do you want to learn more about how to attract new clients? Check out the Self-Study course, “How To Attract More Clients” , which teaches you the A to Z of client acquisition and helps you achieve your business goals.
How do you sell yourself to clients? What do you do..... well. that’s unique from other businesses in the market? In order to explain this to prospective clients, you need to clearly understand your unique strengths. Our strengths aren’t always apparent to ourselves, so you have to do some strategic thinking.
Examine Your Experience
Go over your experience working in this area. Where have you spent the greatest time working? Whatever you’ve done most is probably something you’re good at. You’ve accumulated knowledge and expertise through doing it.
Look at Your Biggest Successes
Go back over your history and look for your biggest successes. Find the times when you really achieved something fantastic. For each, what was behind the big success that made it happen? Sometimes the timing was good, you were lucky, or it was something external to your business, but look for instances where something you did brought about the success.
Consider Soft Skills
Don’t just look at topic areas you know about or hard skills you’re good at. Look also at soft skills like communication, problem-solving, reliability, or other facets of your personality that affect the way you work. One of your natural strengths might be that you always deliver work on time and you’re always easy to reach.
What do people say about you? When people have praised you before, what did they say was great about your services? Try to find comments where a customer or client expressed their satisfaction for the work you did and see what they said they were happy with specifically. Gather as many as possible and look for patterns. If you can’t find many, reach out to current clients with a survey asking for their feedback.
Focus on the Positive
Focus on positive aspects of the work you do, not the negative. For example, “I don’t turn work in late,” isn’t a good natural strength. You can frame it positively by saying, “I always turn work in on time.” Don’t make a list of things you don’t do.
Sample Other Services
If you have the resources, use other services that are similar to yours and see what’s different about them. You might discover some natural strengths through this. For example, you might find another ecommerce store’s ordering process to be clunky and awkward, leading you to realize that yours is smooth and simple.
Make a list of as many natural strengths as you can. You may know some off the top of your head, but try whenever possible to use actual feedback from the market or clients. Use what you discover in your marketing materials. After all, these qualities are the reason people choose you over another similar business.
Get into the regular habit of collecting feedback from customers and clients so that you can maintain an understanding of your natural strengths in case they change in the future.
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Most of us wish there were more hours in the day. But be honest with yourself – even if you had more hours, would you just waste them away?
Ask any successful entrepreneur and they’ll tell you that it’s not the number of hours you have, but how you use them. By learning and practicing effective time how to leverage time to get more done and also have more time to relax.
Leveraging time is a strategy of using time in a way to pursue your most important goals. Managing time is the day-to-day process you use to leverage the time—the scheduling, to-do lists, delegating, and other tasks. Without this strategy, time management won’t necessarily help you achieve your goals. Leverage: Taking the smallest action that will yield the largest result.
Here are simple things you can do today to work more efficiently:
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oth5 Steps to Building a Strong Brand
By Pat Simes
Branding has an enormous impact on every aspect of your business. Whether you’re just getting started creating a brand identity or you’re in the process of rebranding because of changes in the market, you need to spend some time clarifying the messaging you want to create and deciding how to implement it. Here are the 6 steps for creating a strong brand.
1. Create a Branding Strategy - Your branding strategy clarifies which direction your branding should go. It means creating your messaging with an eye toward the future of your business. This step in the process starts with identifying your business goals and how your brand fits into them. How does it help you to achieve them?
2. Research Your Market - Before you start making any major decisions, you need to understand where your business fits into the market and the position it plays in the minds of your audience. Research needs to be conducted in a few key areas.
Your Target Market. You need to create a detailed customer profile and identify the needs that your offerings fulfill for your audience. You also need to understand how your audience sees you, since “brand” is essentially an image that exists in their mind.
Your Products and Services. Branding revolves around a promise you make to your audience. What is your promise? What need does your offering speak to and how does it uniquely solve the problems of your target market? People will love your brand because of its uniqueness.
3. Create Your Messaging and Unique Value Proposition - Now that you know the market and your position in it, create a message that explains to your audience how you uniquely fulfill their needs. This message in some form will be conveyed through everything you do and at every touchpoint with your audience.
This message should focus on the customer and the benefits your offering provides them. How does using your products make the customer’s life better? It should emphasize what sets you apart from other, similar businesses.
4. Create a Branding Plan - Now, choose the personality, tone, and design elements that will help to convey this message to your audience. Your planning should include where you will communicate with your market and what content you will offer them. For branding to work, everything should be consistent and in harmony with the message you outlined in the previous step.
5. Implement Your Brand Identity - The process of branding is never truly finished. Once you implement it, you’ll need to monitor and keep gathering feedback from your market to make sure the message is hitting home.
From time to time, you’ll also need to consider rebranding. Companies re-brand when there are significant changes in the market, changes in their company, or a new segment of the market they need to target. In order to keep up to date with these changes, they have to tweak or overhaul their branding so that it will achieve their new goals.
Do you want to learn more about developing the right brand identity? Check out Innovative Business Solutions Self-Study Course, BUILDING YOUR BRAND, which teaches you the A to Z of branding and helps you achieve your business goals.
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To establish a brand requires a great deal of time and effort, along with some strategic thinking. What if you put in all the work and it falls flat? Since this is an area of business that’s easily misunderstood, here are the biggest mistakes people make with branding so you can avoid them.
1. Failing to Think Strategically -Branding is part of your overall business plan, so you need to think strategically about it. It needs to connect to your “why” and your broader business goals. Go back and review the reasons why you’re running this business. Take some time to clarify what you hope to achieve and how your branding will help you do this.
2. Your Brand Is Not Your Logo - Many businesses make the huge mistake of thinking a brand is a logo or a set of design features. While consistent design is an important part of branding, what it’s really about is your messaging and the image you’re creating in the minds of your target market. This message tells people how your offerings uniquely benefit them.
3. Being Generic - The whole point of your brand is to differentiate your business from others in the market. Focus not only on what you do but what you do differently than the competition.
4. Assumptions Instead of Facts -Don’t make the mistake of building your brand based on assumptions. You think you know how people see your company, but this isn’t good enough. You need to conduct thorough marketing research and base your decisions on facts and feedback from your audience.
5. Inconsistency and Disconnect - If your branding is giving people mixed messages, it won’t work to engender trust. The message needs to be consistent wherever you have communication with your audience. The design features, the tone, and the unique benefits of using your products all need to be consistent.
6. Clever But Not Clear - While it’s nice to have a message that’s unique and clever, the most important thing is for it to be clear. Branding is a form of communication. People should understand your message easily at a glance. Don’t get so creative that it becomes hard to understand.
7. It’s All About You -While you’re talking about your products and services, the real message of your branding should be what using your products does for your customers. Focus on their needs and how their lives will be improved by using your product.
8. Forgetting to Update - The needs of your market and the landscape change over time. Your business might also change, offering a new product line or reaching out to a new segment in the market. When this happens, your branding needs to reflect these changes. Sometimes, you need to assess and update.
Do you want to learn more about getting your branding right? Check out Innovative Business Solutions self-study course, BUILDING YOUR BRAND, which teaches you the A to Z of creating a viable brand for your business and helps you achieve your business goals.
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