“In this ever-changing society, the most powerful and enduring brands are built from the heart”- Howard Schultz, Former CEO of Starbucks.
Over the years, I have been a part of several projects that involve entrepreneurs and how to make it in the business world. It goes without saying that entrepreneurs pay attention to various aspects of their business in order to maximize profits (I mean, that is why we are in business isn’t it?). They pay attention to the products, profit margins and so on; often times they forget to pay attention to the one thing that really matters. In the formative years of building a business, it is very important to pay attention to branding and the image that they portray to customers and the general public alike.
As Machiavelli rightly put it, “the vulgar crowd is always taken by appearances and the world consists chiefly of vulgar men”.
In the world today, it is very important for entrepreneurs to pay attention to their branding because it could make or mar a business. This article will serve as an eye-opener as well as a reminder. It will serve as an eye opener for those that did not know the importance of personal branding and as a reminder for those that already do.
Branding is a conscious effort that is built to meet the standards that you seek for your business. Personal branding is important for both entrepreneurs that are starting out and those already in the game for long. I like to compare personal branding to the process of building a house. It is important to build it to completion. More importantly, it is vital that you keep the house that way even after completion. Building a brand is important but maintaining it is much more important.
Today, with the internet, personal and corporate branding is easier and much more fun than it was decades ago. You can appeal to a wider range of audience and get your product to people through the four corners of the world. As easy as it seems, it is important to be strategic when it comes to branding your business. This is why there are professionals that understand the importance of branding and they know how to do it the right way. Proper branding can never be too costly because it is what represents the company as a person and whether or not people will want to be associated with your company will depend chiefly on the image of your company to the outside world. A brand goes far beyond the product or service(s) that it offers and causes an emotional link from the customer to the brand. A commitment of a company to branding requires balancing long term growth with short term results.
Now let’s take a look at the some important factors when it comes to branding;
It is important to understand that it takes time to build a brand; it also takes a whole lot of effort. Brand building is not something that you stop at a point; it is a constant thing that has to be done over time. As long as your business is, you should make it top priority to ensure that your brand is properly represented.
- Consistency is very important when it comes to branding. It is important to stay consistent because that is the only way to gain customers’ trust. Once you are able to gain the trust of your customers and non-customers alike, you will experience tremendous growth in your business. The thing about humans is that once they are able to trust your brand, they will remain committed.
- Image is everything and it is important to show a great image to the world. If you are able to define your personal brand- your vision, values, mission statement and so on. By doing this, you are showing an image to people and it will likely stick with them for a long time.
- There is no product or service that is unique to you; there are countless other people that also do the same thing as you. How then will you carve a niche for yourself? How are you different from others? These are questions that plague customers when it comes to brand selection therefore it is important to have excellent branding because it is what will help you clearly state your unique selling point(s). For example, Domino’s pizza has done a great deal of work to ensure that their products are done in a very timely manner.
- Personal branding helps you stay true to yourself and to your brand. Once you create a strong brand, your brand becomes integrated into the forefront of your business.
Whenever you mention your name or that of your business, what comes to mind? Your personal brand is the most important asset that your business possesses, all other factors, however important, are not as important as the overall image of the business. Branding is extremely critical therefore you will be at a disadvantage if you do not have a unique and powerful brand. In your personal life, branding is as important as it is in your business. Remember the saying, “stand for something or fall for anything”, your brand is the stand that you decide to take. Your brand is your way of marketing yourself and/or your business. Your brand is the impression in the mind of the general public therefore it is important to guard it with everything you have because proper branding can be the difference between a perfectly working business and one that isn’t working well.
Conclusively, personal branding is vital to both individuals, businesses and is especially important for individuals as well as businesses. Branding is an ongoing process that involves the creation as well as the maintenance of a prescribed image or an impression in the minds of others about you or your business. When your brand is attractive as a result of proper branding, you will not only grow as an individual or a business but you will also attract opportunities that will make things easier for you and your brand. When you have a standard of excellence for yourself or your business, it will be easy for you to stick with the status quo. Your brand is the most important tool when it comes to defining your mission and your values because it will guide every single decision you make as an entrepreneur. Do branding the right way and enjoy immense growth today!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Debbie-Ann Jollie is a marketing communications executive with more than 10 years experience creating marketing strategies and promotional campaigns for a diverse array of corporate clients and first time entrepreneurs.