Building a brand awareness that tells your company’s story and lets consumers know why you are better than your competitors isn’t easy. But it is doable. With some good research, focus and willingness to face the fact that your new product or service isn’t actually going to ‘sell itself,’ you can make an impact.
Give People What They Want
It seems sometimes that business owners have been so misdirected, by a confusing and overzealous advertising industry, that they are more fearful of losing a sale than delivering a memorable product that people naturally will share with all their friends and associates.
Let’s face it – we live in a world where people are bombarded daily with emails, tweets, TV commercials, random phone calls, and even flyers, coupons, and newspaper adverts delivered to our doors. Everyone is hung up with online reviews (which are hacked or paid much of the time) and what position your site comes up on the SERPs. It’s pretty exhausting.
Communicate with your customers in an honest and consistent manner. One way is to take advantage of some really valuable ‘real estate’ – your website blog. Creating interesting, relevant and shareable articles (posted frequently) is one of the best ways of engaging with those who use you already or are looking for your product. It’s an extension of your brand awareness, and it makes you more real to them.
Do What You Do Best
Though entrepreneurs and inventors may excel at developing concepts, it doesn’t make them designers or marketing wizards – and most of them aren’t. Unless, of course, their business model is already wrapped around communication (think: Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook).
Bottom line is (if you’re in the majority), marketing is not what you do best – but experts you employ for the task do need your guidance. Don’t lose sight of the importance of your position as the leader of the firm. What got you excited about your concept in the first place? Many times a great idea is spawned by a bad experience with someone else’s product. How are you doing it better?
Your company’s vision isn’t something to be created by a graphic designer or marketing whiz – it’s yours alone. So, make a list of the things you are passionate about, and explain your deal breakers (to make sure they don’t take an inappropriate turn). Now see how the experts interpret your ideals into a visual expression and game plan. Does it work for you and does it sit well in your gut? If so, go forward, if not, have them do it over until it does.
Real Value = Real Traffic
Rather than trying to convince prospective customers why they need you, redirect your energies on the consumer you are providing this service or product for – your target market. Who are they, what are their habits or interests, will your story connect with them and what is most important to them in the scheme of things?
We all recall those days, not so long ago really, when personal referrals were gold? And the way you won them was by putting a smile on your customer’s face, doing something that saved them time or money, filled a gap in a service or product that didn’t give them everything they desired.
When you take your branding back to basics, not only will it instantly have more credibility, but it will move your market position ahead of competitors still mired in ‘force feeding’ the public with things they don’t want. This is one of the basic tenets at Linkilaw, is giving everyday startup owners an honest and affordable connection with corporate lawyers – when they need them – without elusive retainers that never seem to ‘get it done.’
Keep Your Brand Alive
From the way you answer the phone to imprinting your logo on collateral items given away at your place of business (or from convention booths) – stay on track and deliver what your brand promises. Develop the voice of your company and make it consistent across the Internet, during podcasts, with video presentations and more.
A tagline should come easily, once you have a logo and your vision has been put into action. Sometimes the one you begin with will change, so it’s usually better not to incorporate it right into your logo. Change isn’t bad – in fact it’s about the only ‘constant’ in business. If you’re stuck in one mold, not willing to adapt, then you’re in trouble.
Take Coca-Cola, for instance. Huge corporation, and yet they’ve managed to stay plugged in with everyday people, over a century after they first hit the market. Did you know Coca-Cola was originally developed in Atlanta in 1886 as a patent medicine (its original ingredients included kola nuts and coca leaves), for the purpose of curing morphine addiction, headaches and even impotence? In 1919 it was purchased by investors for $25m and reincorporated, merging with a bottling operator – and the rest is history.