Ready to dive into digital marketing or a Google AdWords campaign? Not so fast!

To get the best return on your investment, you need to create a compelling brand first. Here’s how:

1. Create Your Unique Brand Story

Your brand - and your story - is completely unique.

“Studies show companies that market their products or services without first establishing their brand identities are not likely to achieve return on investment.” –Businessweek

The first step, before advertising or marketing, is to define your brand.

Your brand is not your:

•   Products

•   Services

•   Website

•   Business card

Your brand is your:

•   Personality

•   Goals

•   Visions

•   Ideals

What motivates you? Why did you start your business? What solution do you offer customers?

Take time. Make lists. Brainstorm. Be inspired. Find your inner fire. Write down everything that comes to you.

Next, focus those goals, ideals, and visions into a one-to-three sentence statement that truly motivates you, your employees, and your clients.

Everything about your company, from your logo and company colors to how you answer emails, must support your brand definition.

2. Distinguish Your Company

Grizzly Glue homepage
A unique brand design makes a lasting impression on your audience.

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” –Coco Chanel

You’re a little different, but that’s good, right? Yes! Different is good, as long as those differences matter to your clients.

Establish your difference. Instead of reacting to your competition, focus on what makes you distinctive.

Take a look at the brainstorming you did to define your brand. This is intrinsically related, because what you stand for can also be what makes your company unique. If your goal is to make life a little better for men by offering holistic hair-growing products, that not only defines your brand, it also helps your company stand out.

Don’t just sell a product; build a fan base.

3. Be Visible

Grizzly Glue on Facebook
Can your audience find your brand? 

“It’s not enough for people to just know your brand. You want people to be actively thinking about your brand, and, crucially, talking about it. Famous brands, like Apple or Nike, become part of the cultural lexicon, the web of symbols that we use to define ourselves and our world.”– Les Binet, European director of DDB Matrix

You’ve defined your brand. You’ve discovered what makes you distinctive. Now, be visible.

Get in front of your audience, so you can let them know what drives you and why they should love you.

Interact with your customers.

The Internet offers excellent opportunities to be seen by your customers, from social media to blogs. Utilize these tools to reinforce your brand.

4. Build Trust

Make your customer the center of your message – it’s all about connection and trust.

“You can have all the facts and figures, all the supporting evidence, all the endorsement that you want, but if at the end of the day you don’t command trust, you won’t get anywhere.” –Niall FitzGerald (Chairman of Reuters, Former CEO and Chairman of Unilever)

Customer trust is what makes your brand work. When customers trust your brand, they’re more likely to buy from you and most importantly, refer you. Trust is the holy grail of great brands.

How do you build trust in your brand? Think about what makes you trust someone: Honesty. Integrity. Doing what you say you’ll do.

The same goes for your brand.

Build Trust:

•   Provide value

•   Be transparent

•   Respond to your customers, quickly

•   Be socially responsible

 

Destroy Trust:

•   Promote products and services only

•   Ignore what others say about you

•   Ignore customer complaints

•   Present a poor image

 

Show your customers that you actually care about them, and you’re not just in it for the money. Ironically, caring about more than selling your products and services will actually help you to sell more products and services.

5. Grow Your Reputation & Influence

Create valuable content for your customers; write about topics that actually help them.

“Brands have never been a more significant part of our personal and economic landscape. Understanding the real value they bring to customers and to business is even more important.” – Paul Simonet, founding partner of Alternative Genius

Once you’re online and visible, it’s time to build your reputation for honesty, integrity, and all the other wonderful things you want your brand to encompass. Your customers watch what you do and what you don’t do, and make judgments based on those actions. This is closely related to building trust, but goes beyond that.

Establish your company as a thought leader by offering real value beyond just products and services. Communicate your expertise in your industry by being helpful and informative. Give your customers the knowledge and information they want, and they’ll keep coming back for more.

5 Elements of a Strong Logo

Building a brand? You might be interested in this free eBook:

5 Elements of a Strong Logo

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