Let’s talk about branding

2007 has been the year of consolidation and building brands – and with that we’re seeing more and more people understanding that to build a successful business you need to move away from ‘push’ marketing and work more on positioning your product / service and attracting attention by building a powerful brand.

In this article on building brands, Ryan talks about first setting big goals for your blogs and then working hard on building the brands to match those goals. It’s easy to say this (dream big, then work your ass off to achieve those dreams), but how do you go about doing it?

Pick Goals Worthy Of You

95% of the people in this world think the other way around – they look at their own circumstances and then allow them to shape their goals. If you follow this route, your goals will be limited to where you are at present and will in fact trap you into the same place, not allowing you to grow and prosper beyond a certain point.

Shed the mental shackles, silence that dissenting voice in your head and go as high as you can go. At worst you’ll fail, but let me tell you one thing – working hard for something impossible and failing will get you much farther than working within your means for something that is within your reach.

Marketing = Branding

If you are promoting yourself, then remember that everything you do in a public setting is marketing – the way you talk to clients / prospects / press / employees / competitors / colleagues, the way you interact online through your blog / comments / forums, the quality of your work, your attention (or lack thereof) to detail, your ability to keep your word – everything you do is marketing.

If you are promoting your blog / your business, then everything – from your customer service to your blog design to the error message your readers get if they enter the wrong URL – is marketing.

Branding is often defined as an organisation’s representation of what it stands for – I’d like to flip this around. Branding is what your customers – your target audience – think you stand for. A strong brand is one that is consistent, focused and easily identified. Your brand is how your readers, your clients identify you. Your brand is what prospective clients will base their buying decisions on. Your brand determines how people talk about you in your niche (or if you’re big enough, outside it).

Marketing = Branding. When you’re promoting your blog (or your company), you’re essentially building an identity in the minds of your target audience. That process is branding.

3 Simple Steps to Strengthen Your Brand Right Now

Brand-building is often thought of as a difficult exercise that somehow involves lots of brainstorming and boardroom meetings. It can be as easy as following three simple steps:

  1. Narrow Your Focus: Being a jack of all trades is a great trait to have, but if you want to build an enduring brand you must carve your name out as being the master of one trade. Whether it’s your blog or your consulting service, narrow your focus to one niche (or sub-niche) and dominate it (like candy).
  2. Be Consistent: What message do you want your brand to convey to your readers? Whatever it is, you need to integrate those ideas in every action related to your business. If ‘quality’ is part of your brand’s message, it doesn’t help if your blog has broken links, uses the default WordPress theme and you regularly make spelling and grammar mistakes. You’d be surprised at how small things like the words you use and how you conduct yourself in the everyday tasks of your business works towards building / destroying your brand.
  3. Be a Leader: Once you’re the first name on everyone’s mind when they think about a particular subject, your work is mostly done. Work hard on being the leader in your niche – narrow your niche down if necessary to make it happen.

Brands may start out small, but their power and reach is only limited by your goals and how you apply the laws of branding (simply put, the more you dilute your brand through ‘widening’ your scope, the more you hurt it).

How are you building your blog’s brand? And since it’s increasingly relevant in the online world, what about your personal brand?

This article was originally written on 17 Oct 2007 for Performancing.com.

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