Branding To Effect Marketing Success
Do you think branding and brand image are new terms or fads? We’re seeing it mentioned all over the place: in blog articles, marketing material, business coaching, and social media. It’s in our faces every day.
But what IS branding, and how can it be defined in easy to understand terms, that enable you to apply it to your business and communications?
It’s All In Your Message
The messages we see plastered all around us tell us about the importance of marketing your “brand” and establishing your “brand”. But what does that even mean. It’s something that I struggled with for some time as well.
And to answer the question in the opening…
No, Branding Is Not a New Idea
In fact the late, great, David Ogilvy was talking about branding way back in the 1960s, when he had an enormous influence on the advertising industry. And this excerpt (adapted) from Ogilvy’s book on advertising (entitled, Ogilvy on Advertising) demystifies the term somewhat.
In a nutshell, Mr. Ogilvy said, branding is…
*…Establishing the personality of your product and to whom it will appeal.
This can make or break you in the market place. Make every advertisement an opportunity to showcase YOUR product or service’s image.
And do it consistently to project the same image on a continuous basis. People buy image, not products.
When we talk about image here, we’re not referring to your logo, your tag line, your website, or even a picture of you, the business owner.
We’re talking about the perception that your audience, clients, or customers have of you and your business. Think about how you do business, deal with complaints, provide great (or perhaps not so great) client service. Those are the things that people notice. They are a true reflection of you and your business.
Then think about how your writing relates to your image. How about the promotions you produce, the blog posts you publish, the social media posts that are out there? All those words have a direct impact on your image as well. That’s what Mr. Ogilvy is referring to, above.
All of these things are a direct representation of the branding image that you’ve worked hard to establish. They need constant care, nurturing and supervision, so you can maintain a consistent and positive business image.
It’s Not About You
So how can you – if you’re a solo entrepreneur – find out what your brand/image is? Well there is a simple exercise you can do. I did it for myself as well. This exercise was suggested by two of my established colleagues, who have been instrumental in helping me develop my own business then get a handle on my branding image.
Simply ask customers or clients “how does my personal brand make someone’s life or business better, easier, or more profitable? What do you see that I can consistently deliver on?”
You may be surprised at the answers you get, because your own perception of yourself may not necessarily be the same as how others view you. And that’s okay, because they’re giving you honest and genuine feedback.
And when you project your image to the public, it also needs to be done in an honest and genuine manner.
The Downside of Poor Communications
So what happens when you produce something that’s poorly written or reflects badly on your image? The impact can be devastating and long lasting, stalling your success and growth – which, I’m sure no business owner can afford.
Can poor communications hurt your brand? You bet ‘ya.
Because when you produce something in writing, it’s a direct reflection upon you, your business and your image. In other words…your branding. And these days, the ability to maintain a good reputation is paramount to upholding your image.
So you see, your ability to write good copy is essential to your business and its brand. It’s essential to make the most out of what you write. Apply good practices using proven copywriting elements in your material. Always strive to provide relevant, compelling and vital information that’s useful and helpful to your audience.
Your Reputation Needs Work
Once you’ve established your reputation and branding image for your business, it’s up to you to continue to project that image. And that’s where consistency comes into play.
It’s not a fait accompli situation. As Mr. Ogilvy stated, you need do it consistently, so people get the same impression of you, repeatedly, over time.
And, if you decide to change the way you do things (to rebrand), that’s fine too…but once you decide to make the change, let your audience know it’s coming, and stick with it. If folks are confused about who you are, and what you do, your business will suffer.
In the meantime, I hope this information has helped to clarify some branding questions you may have had. Share how you’ve dealt with your branding, and if you thought this article was helpful. I also welcome questions or comments. Thank you.
And don’t forget to visit my website for more information about copywriting.
*Ref: Ogilvy on Advertising, Originally published 1983. This edition, published in 2011 by Prion.
(Adapted from David Mackenzie Ogilvy, CBE, (23 June 1911 – 21 July 1999), advertising executive, who many experts called “The Father of Modern Advertising.” Many of Ogilvy’s ideas and the principles of advertising that he practiced still apply today.)