Building a Brand

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According to Dr. Robert Passikoff, founder and president of Brand Keys, Inc., (cited onhttp://www.brandingstrategyinsider.com/), several factors will contribute to branding and marketing efforts in 2010. He projects that "social networking and exchange of information outside of the brand space will increase.” Websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social media sites will see an increase in marketing one’s business, along with the increased number of social interactions.

Dr. Passikoff predicts: "Look for more websites using Facebook Connect to share information with the friends from those sites. More companies will become members of LinkedIn. Twitter users will spend more money on the Internet than those who don't tweet.”

In today’s uncertain economic conditions, business owners are finding it necessary to become even more creative in order to successfully brand their products and services. Money is tighter in many households due to job loss and/or reduced wages. As a result, consumer expectations are rising as they seek newer and more advanced tools to meet their desire for the latest and best, despite financial limitations.

Dr. Passikoff says, "Conversation and community is all; eBay thrives based on consumer feedback. If consumers trust the community, they will extend trust to the brand.”

A basic business principle has always been that the most successful businesses are those that know how to anticipate their customers’ needs, and then fill them. In some ways, narrowing rather than expanding one’s brand has become the target of today’s marketplace due to conservative spending and meeting the wants and needs of customers who are able to pay.

It is possible to thrive in a seemingly down market. A savvy business person knows and practices the secrets of success, which includes redefining their brand when necessary. Practice these TIPS to keep your brand strong:

1. Create a website that states precisely what your products and services represent, one that is grammatically correct and technically accurate. Your brand should be reflected in your logo and tagline. Make them focused, sincere and "alive” in order to turn your prospect into a consumer.

2. Use various methods of advertising that include newsletters, cards, and/or personal phone calls. As part of your ad budget, select nominal cost items as giveaways that include your branding logo, such as a tote bag given at live events or mailed along with your book.

3. Develop and conduct teleseminar and webinar programs, and use marketing tools like audio/video to promote your presentation. Upload your photo and contact information that's easily visible when watching the promo.

4. Inspire customer interaction by asking questions and posting surveys, open a forum, or invite participation through blogs, again, clearly displaying your branding information.

5. Post customer testimonials, either written or recorded, with or without photos. Personal statements make you and your product or service more REAL.

6. Always provide excellent customer service and excel at what you do.

7. Always over-deliver.

Most business owners use strategies that undergo revisions to meet current trends and speculate about future projections. They remain flexible in their approach to business, because they have learned that building a brand that's sound takes time, attention and care, and that it is absolutely doable.

When you contact truly successful business owners with a high visibility and sound reputation, you find that many are often more than willing to share their trials and tribulations, and that their stories contain similar learning curves. This removes their mystique and gives comfort in stressful or lean times.

A quick search into their history might reveal one or more failures. However, those who become readily recognized as a success frequently become mentors, because they have learned the art of survival and longevity, and they want to share their knowledge, especially with those who may be struggling in business. Having tried and refined sometimes numerous branding techniques, they know first-hand the real secrets of successful branding. Many have written books and articles and give seminars to share the wealth of their knowledge.

Building a brand that works means having an informed, dedicated and disciplined attitude to do your homework until you get it right, and then keep doing it. Brief rest periods are allowed, but if you're successfully doing business, it challenges you every day to exceed what you think are your limits. What are the prospects? The future looks bright.

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CYNTHIA BULL (http://www.cynrje.com/) is an internationally published writer and editor who helps international authors, marketers and speakers add greater value to their products through her top-quality writing, editing and transcription services. She is the author of How To Be A Medical Transcriptionist and Winning At Work While Balancing Your Life, a contributing author of Walking with the Wise Entrepreneur (Mentors Publishing House), cited in Make BIG Profits on eBay (Entrepreneur Press), and Managing Editor of Mentors Magazine Think & Grow Rich Edition. Cynthia has created over 200 book products in the past two years for her clients and, as mentor, helps clients reach their goals through her products, experience and genuine caring. Cynthia writes this feature article exclusively for the Association of Artisan Businesses (http://www.artisanbusinesses.org/), an organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the artisan industry.

Building a Brand

By: Cynthia Bull