One of the most important aspects of my Chicago communications training practice is helping my clients know how to effectively build their brand – whether that is your personal brand or your organization’s brand. Your brand communicates to the world and your customers who you are, what you’re about, and who would want what you’ve got.
Here are 10 tips for successful branding:
Know your vision
What is it you want to accomplish or do, exactly? Why do you want to do it? How do you want to impact your customers and community?
Establish your mission statement
This is more specific than your overall vision. A mission statement is a clear and concise actual business strategy for how you will accomplish your vision.
Set your specific goals
Even more specific than the mission statement, you should have a solid, evolving list of specific goals to meet, and add to it and adjust as those goals are completed or come up short.
Establish your presence in the field
Get into the conversation that is already happening about your industry. Stay informed and be knowledgeable about the current events that affect your field, and contribute new things and ideas to the conversation.
Who are you? Who are you not? Who do you serve? Who do you not serve? What are you about? What are you not about? Be clear about your identity for your audience.
Don’t try to change colors just to try to appeal to different markets. Establish your niche in the field and where and how you want to fit into it, and then be the best at that one thing.
This means stay engaged – in your field, in your networks of peers and colleagues (and competitors), and to your target audience. Keep learning about your field and stay abreast of what is going on out there, and continuously be a part of the developing picture. Stay on the radar to your peers and colleagues in your social and business networks, and make sure your presence remains seen to your competitors. Likewise, make sure your target audience always has you in their field of vision in some way.
Know your target market
Speaking of your target audience, you need to make sure you know exactly who they are. Do research and know who you are serving with your product or service. Who are they, what do they eat, where do they sleep, how do they have fun, how do they do business? Continually do research on every aspect of your target market to better understand who you are serving, so you can best serve them and get and maintain their business.
Know your direct competition
Similarly, know what the competition is doing, keep an eye on what is changing and evolving with them, what is working for them and what isn’t working. Learn from their mistakes, and build upon their successes with your own flair. Consider collaboration if appropriate to make something even greater together.
Build a useful network
Don’t waste time or resources gathering followers who won’t buy or meaningfully engage with your product, service, or brand. Don’t spend dollars or hours chasing after people who don’t want to be chased. Don’t engage in conversations that aren’t directly useful to your vision, mission or goals. Cater instead to the people who do want what you offer. Join the conversations that are directly related and will actually make a difference in advancing your cause.
There is a lot more that goes into successful personal and company branding – this is only a sample of the basics. The best of Chicago communications training can offer a whole lot more and really drive your success rate in translating your branding efforts to real results.