a guide to branding for the entrepreneur

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To have a universally identifiable brand is like the holy grail of business ownership. It’s the marketing concept that makes your business different. It involves everything from the logo to what kind of chairs are put in the dressing room. It’s the process of putting together image and marketing to increase the visibility of your business. Many businesses falter when developing a brand. The process of branding isn’t always smooth sailing, particularly for newbies.

Prepare for Branding

If your rebranding your business, conduct a customer survey and have the results on hand for the branding session. Put aside a full day to brand your business. Reread your business’s mission statement and other material. And make it a group effort. Your staff can provide valuable insight into your business and the best branding.

Determine Your Customers

When deciding on a brand, your consumers are important. Business owners and their marketing team need to know what they like, whom they are and what they’d respond to the most. Mothers, for example want a family friendly environment. So, if your products are toys and you decorate the place with rock posters, mothers probably won’t respond well to it.

Know Your Product

The product you’re selling is just as important as to whom you plan to sell it to. Ask yourself “what makes my products unique?

Select Your USP

Your USP or Unique Selling proposition is the foundation of the brand. It is what makes your business unique. It can be as simple as offering free shipping on all products or complex. Whatever it is makes your business stand out from the crowd.

Develop A Marketing Plan

After figuring out, the whom, what and how, develop a marketing plan to fill in the rest of the gaps. Your marketing plan might include a store overhaul and more selective types of marketing. The goal is to create an image that will stand up to your customer’s scrutiny.

Implement Branding Plan

The next step is to combine all of the above and implement the branding plan. It may be elaborate or subtle changes.

Assess The Success

After the branding plan has been put into place, have another branding session. Start at the beginning and have customers fill out another survey. Take another look at the USP, customers, mission statement and products. Ask questions like “how successful was this plan?” to your staff.

Revise As Necessary

No attempt at developing a brand is perfect from the start. Take what you learn and redo the marketing plan and branding strategy.

Repeat 

Branding is never a single, one-time occurrence. A good business revises its brand continuously and makes changes as necessary. That means repeating the step at least once a year after the initial assessment and revision.

Developing a brand doesn’t end after you implement the brand the first time. It’s an ongoing process that will continue as long as you run the business. Branding is not an easy thing to do on your own for the first time. So, don’t be afraid to seek help. What is your favorite brand and why?

randy bowden – t | f | g+

(image:123RF)

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