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Now That You Have a Brand… Maximize It!
This is a follow-up to Tara’s earlier post, Branding: It’s More than Your Logo. Be sure to check it out.
When you decide to go into business, one of the first things you create is a business plan. Of course, as it implies, a business plan is simply a comprehensive plan or document that you create to lead your business to success.
Likewise, a marketing or branding plan is simply the outline of your business’s marketing and advertising efforts for the coming year.
To be successful, the best thing that you can do for your company is to plan – prepare for the worst (and have a plan ready to go if something major happens) but always hope for the best!
What does it mean to maximize your brand?
To maximize your brand, you must first create branding that will captivate your intended audience.
As a brand, one of the best things you can do is consistently engage with your customers and target market to make them feel a “part of” your brand by inviting them to engage with your company on a personal level.
Many businesses engage easily with their customers by doing in-store promotions or events as well as using social media to talk to their target market and help make them feel welcomed by creating a relationship between the company and the people within their target market.
Branding Identification: Become Easy to Spot
Your brand must be easily identified by anyone. Brands that do this well are Target, Toys R Us, and Apple. I know you’re not likely running a multi-million dollar corporation, but you can learn a lot from their brands.
They all have great logos that are extremely easy to identify, and they’re very consistent in the way that they talk to their customers.
When you go to their stores, shop with them online, or even engage with them on social media, they have already set the expectation for you as part of their brand management.
You can do this without breaking the bank.
Hold a design contest on 99 Designs or use Tailor Brands to get a logo (or spiff up your existing one).
Do some research with existing customers to get their likes and dislikes so you can communicate more effectively on a personal level.
Use Your Brand Consistently: Look, Feel, Communication
Consistency with your branding is key here – especially if you have employees.
As a business owner, you need to set the expectations for both your employees and how you expect them to treat your clients and the target market while they’re on the clock as well as setting the expectation for the customer whenever they interact with your brand.
If you’re a solopreneur, you need to exercise discipline as if you were directing someone else working for your brand.
The decisions you make on how to use your logo, how and where to advertise your brand, how to engage with people online, and how to engage with people in your stores or while representing your business need to be applied consistently so that your customers have a great experience each and every time that they interact with your brand.
Branding on Social Media is a Different Animal
When it comes to brand management, social media is in a category of its own because you never know what is going to happen when you have millions of people from all over the world potentially engaging with your brand at the same time.
Don’t think it’s possible? Well, neither did Cracker Barrel until they fired Brad’s wife. Or United Airlines until the backlash over beating and dragging a passenger off of a plane.
The way that you engage and address your customers on social media can literally make or break your brand – especially if something goes viral. The best way that you can use social media to maximize your brand is to create a posting schedule.
In my experience, posting 1x a day is great for most small businesses, but if you decide to post more than once a day, you’ll want to spread out your social posts by at least an hour.
Thanks to handy applications and websites such as Buffer, Tailwind, and Later (free plan available), you can schedule your social media months in advance if you wanted, though I recommend scheduling up to 2 weeks in advance so that you can ensure that everything you’re posting is still timely and relevant.
If you have an employee or freelancer doing your social media, these tools will also help you ensure that their voice is your brand’s voice… before your posts go live.