Building Your Brand

Building Your Brand

The start of the New Year presents the opportunity for a fresh start, making resolutions and working towards new goals. It seems for many people 2010 will be the year of productivity, and there is no better time to start building your brand.

You have just purchased a great domain name with superb brand potential from Now what? Building a recognizable, memorable, and loved brand does not happen overnight. Making sure your customers perceive you in the right way requires a lot of planning and work on how you look, how you communicate, and what unique value you have to offer.  We want to make your entrepreneurial adventure as smooth as possible so here is our checklist of the steps, tools, tips, and tricks that will jump start your startup and help you develop a better brand through the year.  This is just an introduction — each of these elements will be discussed in greater detail in later blog posts.

Your Website
Start with branding your website to match your business. Whether you are working with a designer, designing your website yourself, or using a template, you need to be conscious about making your website consistent with your brand. Before writing any content you need to think about the colors, images, and even font/typeface that your business will be using. Each of these aspects creates brand recognition. Next, you should consider how your users should interact with your website, and whether you want to provide a simple and straightforward experience, or a creative and different one. Lastly, think about how you will speak to your audience, and if your content will be serious or fun and friendly.

Your Knowledge is Your Brand
Branding is more than image — your knowledge and unique insight can set you apart from your competition. To add depth, value, and solidarity to your brand you need to let people know what your business is about, and a great way to do this is to write, and write often. There are several places to share your knowledge with your audience and each have their own benefits. Creating a long-format blog gives your visitors something to mull over and dive into. Microblogging allows you to share bits of information that are more easily consumed on a daily basis. And providing information through newsletters and ebooks can reach a more “old school” client base and can add a more serious tone to your business.

It is important to have knowledge behind your brand but consumers want to know there is a person behind all that content. As the Internet becomes the major platform for business, consumers expect a company to be more transparent. Showing up daily in conversations, posts, and comments gives people a feeling that you always have your ear to the ground.

Networking – Business and Social
Depending on the type of business you are building you may need to utilize different networking techniques. Business networking focuses on the professional while social networking is great for managing a fanpage, planning events, and staying in touch. Social networks have often proven themselves a vital source of knowledge. If everyone is congregating in one place you want your business to be there as well.

Your hard work to brand your name could be undone if you have to change your name down the road. Trademark your business and set your brand in stone. You can hire a lawyer but as there are so many entrepreneurs online there are also numerous online tools to aid in these legal matters. These same sites also help create many reliable legal documents.

Brand Control
At this point you should be swiftly on your way to becoming a powerful brand. Imagine if somebody started putting out videos and blogs under the username of your business name and gave out messages that are not consistent or even relevant to your business. Now you have secured your brand legally, so you need to start controlling it. There are various sites that search social networks and popular websites for your username’s availability. If it is available you need to take it, if it is not, you need to get it.

Client Management
This all should create a thriving business. To keep this business booming be sure to get a firm grip on client management and efficient professional communication. Keep track, keep organized, and keep consistent with all of that knowledge and strength you have worked to establish. Every contact you make, account you create, file you save, and email you send is branding. This extends to money management and invoicing as well — something often overlooked in terms of making sure the messaging and design are consistent with your brand.

Customer Service
Branding creates results. You need to give your customers the best service possible. Give your clients the opportunity to tell you what they think and every opportunity to contact you. This availability and openness reminds them that you are trustworthy and reliable, and their feedback and your flexibility with their opinion determines whether your brand will develop with the time or fade away.

So now you have an idea of the steps you can take to brand your business. Stay tuned for the whole series to learn about the specific online tools and resources that we recommend to help you through this process.