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Into The Limelight
To stand out in a cluttered world, become a recognized expert
There are millions of small businesses vying for our attention. Yet, because the marketplace is more discriminating and skeptical, it's hard to get noticed. To enjoy the greatest return on your marketing efforts, you need to rise above the crowd. You need an edge over the competition. In short, you need to become slightly famous by establishing an expert reputation.
Not so long ago, expertise was equated with the number of years you were in business or the college diploma that hung on your wall. That has changed as people have come to be more interested in results. If you can deliver, people will be interested in you no matter how brief your business experience or how bare your walls are of diplomas.
Experts are sought after. They get more business with less effort and command higher fees. Journalists come to them for information. They are asked to speak at conferences. They out-position their competitors and break out of the anonymity trap because they know more and are recognized as knowing more.
Becoming an expert can help you achieve "top of the mind" awareness among members of your target market. By packaging your knowledge into articles, speeches, and workshops your name can immediately come to mind or be the first one mentioned when members of your target market turn to others to find what they need.
Publishing articles, columns and books are powerful techniques to establish your expertise. Publishing pre-sells others of your abilities and exposes you to thousands of prospects. And reprints of published articles make excellent, low cost sales literature, easily replacing expensive brochures, mailers, and newsletters.
Kimberly Stansell says publishing created tremendous name recognition for Research Done Write, her Los Angeles-based consulting and training firm. Her syndicated column "Bootstrapper's Success Secrets" appears in dozens of entrepreneurial publications, association newsletters and business web sites. "The name recognition my column has given me is tremendous," says Stansell. "I get invitations to participate in events and other business opportunities. And I can automatically charge higher fees because people assume I'm expensive."
There are endless opportunities to publish your expertise. Thousands of business, trade and Internet publications covering every imaginable industry and audience are fairly easy to break into, even for beginners. If you have a good idea, tailored to a specific readership, there are thousands of publications hungry for articles from business professionals.
Find A Podium
When Robert Middleton moved his marketing consulting practice a few years ago, he had to find ways to generate new clients. He immediately contacted local chambers of commerce, business groups, and organizations likely to be interested in his three-hour marketing workshop. Within months, Middleton not only had plenty of clients but also made a name for himself in Silicon Valley as a marketing expert for professional firms.
On any day, there are thousands of speaking opportunities available to small business owners who take the time to seek them out. To find an available podium to promote your business, contact clubs and groups in your community that conduct speeches and workshops. If you have a good topic that is relevant to their membership, most will be happy to hear from you.
Middleton sends each group an introductory package. It includes a cover letter naming other groups that have sponsored his presentations, a biography, a short description of his suggested talk, and comments from those who have attended his seminars. Middleton now conducts three to five such presentations a month, tailored to individual audiences.
Virtualize Your Expertise
Have you noticed that many high paid, respected professionals publish information materials? You can establish expertise, generate additional income and develop a compelling brand identity by developing books, booklets, e-books, audiocassettes, special reports and other information products based on what you already know.
CJ Hayden began life as a professional coach ten years ago in San Francisco. After years of delivering her "Get Clients Now" program to local audiences, she franchised her ideas and took them to a national marketplace. "I trademarked the name, taped a workshop, and wrote a 50 page workbook. I created an "out of the box" package so others could produce my program on their own." The success of her "brand extension" strategy even helped her land a book deal to publish Get Clients Now! A 28-Day Marketing Program for Professionals and Consultants
The best strategy is to create synergy between your products, services and reputation. Send information products to prospects. Use them for "back of the room" sales at speeches and workshops. Boost your profile by promoting products in articles, press releases, and at networking events and trade shows. Also, list your products in the catalogues and directories of trade associations, book clubs and business groups.
Keep It Going
Investors know that the best returns go to those who are patient. Not every article, speech or workshop or information product will make your phone ring off the hook. But, if you are consistent, you will develop an expert reputation that will help you land new clients and customers while making your business a recognized and reputable name in your marketplace.
About The Author
Steven Van Yoder is author of Get Slightly Famous: Become a Celebrity in Your Field and Attract More Business with Less Effort. Visit http://www.getslightlyfamous.com to read the book and learn about 'slightly' famous teleclasses, workshops, and marketing materials to help small businesses and solo professionals attract more business.
Optimize Your Mailing List For Better Results
A list of customers who have previously bought from you is your most important asset. These are the customers who will provide you with return business, which is more profitable than the first sale. Are you getting the most from your customer list? There are some secrets you should know, so you can squeeze the most benefits out of your mailing list.
Brand Image - Brand Identity - Brand Strategy - Brand Identity Guru
Consumers perceive and accept many brands within a certain trade group in different ways. By personifying a brand (How would you describe brand X if it were a person?) we can find out, that for instance consumers perceive brand A as a young, impulsive, lively, attractive, energetic woman full of ideas. In the same way could brand B be an elderly, conservative and relaxed man. The brand can also have a completely inexpressive and bad image. That is how brand C may not have any real personal characteristics, slim, tall, unnoticeable and calm.
Whats In A Name? When It Comes To Your Business, Plenty!
Q: How important is the name of a business? Should the name of a business reflect what the business does or is it better to come up with something catchy and easy to remember?-- Randy P.
How Much Is A Great Business Logo Really Worth?
A great logo can help a business project a positive image while a bad logo can bring a negative impression about a company. For many companies, a logo is the only identifiable mark a potential customer may ever see, so it needs to be memorable, descriptive and easily recognizable. If a logo is the company spokesman, how much is it really worth?
Brand Identity and Brand Image - Brand Identity Guru
It is important to distinguish between corporate identity, brand identity, and brand image. Corporate identity is concerned with the visual aspects of a company's presence. When companies undertake corporate identity exercises, they are usually modernizing their visual image in terms of logo, design, and collaterals. Such efforts do not normally entail a change in brand values so that the heart of the brand remains the same - what it stands for, or its personality.
Build Brand Identity - Brand Identity Guru
Successful Guru marketers have a secret weapon that they use every single time they communicate about their businesses. It's one of those intangibles that are easily misunderstood. It's the ability to generate excitement about what you have to offer. And when your prospects are excited about your services, marketing becomes a whole lot easier. You get more attention, more response, more sales and more referrals.
The Big Uneasy: Clearing the Clouds of Guess
People often come to me to assist them with developing their brand because they are unable to accomplish the business success they desire. They're experiencing what we call the Big Uneasy--the state of being when things are hard. They are stuck in an idea, unable to make it happen, and dreams are unfulfilled. Life is heavy, there's a lack of flow... the Big Uneasy has taken over.
Branding: You are the Brand
What's in a brand name? Everything! Think of these brands: Coke, Barbie, Hershey, McDonalds, Madonna, Pepsi, Bono, Microsoft, Kleenex, Xerox, Steven Spielberg, Dell and GM. Did you notice that brands can be things, replicas of people and actual people? Brands are the public perception of a thing or person. Companies work very hard to establish their brand, sometimes failing when they attempt to tie a secondary product into the popular brand name. Does anyone even remember A1 chicken sauce?
Too Dull? Too Sharp?
You work hard getting the right cover message and words for your brochure. Now, you want to give it a look, an image.
Which Of These Words Attract Your Clients
Whether it's your business card, tagline, article title, web site title and description or ad, just the difference of a few words can either pull in prospects and clients or push them away. Getting it right can determine whether your phone is ringing off the hook or you are twiddling your thumbs hoping someone will call.
Setting the Right Price
One of the ways people get to know you is by the identity you project. Your company name, the way you present yourself, your business card and brochure, where you work, and other ways you conduct your business create an image that gives your customers information about you.
Nike / Sears / Kmart
The Sears-Kmart merger hopes to fabricate some sort of silver lining for both retailers but instead seems to embody the inevitable philosophy of "going down together." Kmart, an already sinking ship, certainly worsens conditions for Sears, and Sears does not have a strong enough current to keep Kmart afloat when there are enterprises like Wal*Mart and Target constantly blasting holes in the stern with brand messages of "smart and classy."
Branding Services - Brand Identity Guru
Branding Services is a tactic that marketing executives and managers should not only understand, but also employ. Branding services helps your company clearly position your company over your competition by branding your product/service in the minds of your target markets. This helps build brand identity, brand image and overall brand equity.
Living Your Brand on the Web - Part 2
Now that everyone has conformed to Living Your Brand on the Web, Part 1, it's time to add a couple of tweaks that will further reinforce your brand.
The Brand Called You
The best brands always try to do the right thing, so that their reputations will remain unsullied. But beyond that they grow, evolve and get better with time, while maintaining their special qualities from the past.We all have a personal brand with social, cultural, intellectual, and personal needs that may not necessarily be addressed in our daily work. Address these needs and you begin to improve your brand. Here is my agenda for building your brand.Join and participate in community and professional organizations Generate media coverage about your brand Stay in touch, or renew old ties with friends, family and business associates Let's examine how each one improves your brand.Join and participate in professional and community organizationsThe best brands grow, evolve and get better with time, while maintaining their special qualities from the past.Professional and community organizations provide ample opportunity to learn and grow.They provide professional development opportunities. They allow you to network with peers as well as with people you would not necessarily ever meet in the normal course of your workday.For instance, I am a member and served on the board of our local International Association of Business Communicators chapter. This allowed me to broaden my contacts in the corporate communications world, as well as form a number of friendships I probably never would have developed. I'm also a member of the North Carolina Citizens For Business and Industry. Here I meet people from all walks of life and all work disciplines. Finally, I am involved with Charlotte Reads, a local non-profit that focuses on literacy issues. This allows me to use my communication experience in support of an issue I feel very strongly about.But it's not enough to just join groups: you must participate to benefit fully. As a participant you have the opportunity to stretch, to gain confidence in yourself. Learn to lead by involvement on the board or in a special project.If you are a communicator by trade, try being treasurer for the group to exercise the other side of your brain, or take on a special project about which you feel strongly.Generate media coverage about your brandAll that professional and community involvement will certainly lead to opportunities to leverage that involvement into news about the brand called you. And, of course, there will be promotions, new assignments, and awards at work, too. More opportunities to make headlines.Your achievements are of interest to local print, broadcast, and online media, particularly the business pages. In Charlotte, the Observer has a weekly feature called On The Move spotlighting someone in a new position. The Charlotte Business Journal has a similar feature called Moving Up. If it is a big enough move and your company won't do it, pay the estimated $150 to place it on BusinessWire or PR Newswire. Consider it an investment in your future. Don't forget trade publications serving your industry and alumni publications.Seek out speaking engagements and write guest articles, too. This is yet another way to publicize your brand. And don't forget to do news releases when you make a speech or write an article. It's all about merchandising.To stay top of mind, you might even want to develop your own monthly e-newsletter like Think, the Hoover ink publication. Keep it mostly informational and limit the commercial material.Stay in touch, or renew old ties with friends, family and business associatesEveryone you know can be a brand ambassador for you, so stay in touch or reach out to those you haven't talked with for a while.Yet another reason for having a monthly newsletter that shares your expertise.The network of contacts you have built over your lifetime will be instrumental if you decide to start your own business, or change jobs.So, heed this word of advice: always deal fairly with people. One bad experience with your brand can negate 10 positive ones.Now, get out there and start branding.
Don?t Overlook Your Email When Considering Your Brand Identity
You wouldn't skip letterhead when sending out a sales letter - Or would you?
Branding has been defined, explained and examined extensively. There are books, articles, publications, seminars, and groups all dedicated to exploring the meaning and use of brand today.
So... how have you been building your brand lately?
Personal Branding: Characteristics of a Strong Personal Brand
How many times have you been at a networking function and been lost for words when asked "what do you do"?
Corporate Branding ? Dont Forget Your CDs!
Companies have been branding their collateral materials such as letterhead, envelopes, business cards, etc. for years. In fact, we often identify a company by its familiar logo or special color scheme. Branding works!! At the same time, many companies send customers and vendors large files, proposals and presentations on CD-Rs. Since CD-Rs have become the "new and more efficient" way of exchanging important information, it would seem that more companies would find it valuable to brand their CD-Rs also.
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