Building Your Brand is a Long-Term Investment
Cultivating a brand is a lot like growing a garden. Establishing a thriving brand takes time and if you don’t continue to tend to it once it’s established, it will begin to lose its luster. No matter what industry you are in and no matter what your product or service happens to be, your brand is constantly competing with other brands for attention.
There’s a constant flow of information on the Internet and social media about this product or that product. Editorial reviews and advertisements tout the latest and greatest this or that. In order to make an impact, you must constantly put your brand out there. If you don’t, even your most loyal customers will begin to forget.
Building a brand is a cumulative effort. You should be using all the tools in your marketing arsenal to let people know why they should care about your brand. By employing multiple communications mediums to promote your brand, you are hitting your target audiences from many directions. The more mediums you use, the more likely people are to remember you and take action on what they’ve heard or seen.
Social media enables you to interact with your target audiences. If done right, your most loyal followers will feel they have a stake in your brand, and they’ll begin spreading the word to their own followers. Using media coverage to promote good news, successes and achievements tied to your brand builds trust and grows awareness. Public speaking opportunities establish you as an expert and, in turn, build esteem for the brand you represent. Face time with decision makers that can impact your brand is also critical to building the network of professional relationships that will grow the reputation and reach of your business and your brand.
Creating a steady stream of content that reinforces the key messages of your brand fuels the marketing machine. In short, it gives you something to communicate. Fresh content, from articles to white papers to e-newsletters to press releases to new images to video to blog posts like this one, gives people a reason to return again and again to your website and social media platforms. If they find value in your content, they’ll find value in you and your brand. Providing exclusive information, special offers or catchy subject matter can significantly increase the reach and efficacy of the content you generate.
As you cultivate your brand it will become stronger over time, just like a well-tended garden. As you generate a more extensive online presence and build a history with a growing number of brand followers, people will begin to develop a picture in their minds of what your brand is and what it represents. The key to success is knowing the values that embody your brand, and being consistent with the messages you send out.
If you are interested in additional reading on branding, Entrepreneur magazine has a number of good articles with brand building tips. I suggest starting with the most recent, “The Greatness Guide to Building Your Brand and Empire” by Lewis Howes. It goes into more depth about developing a brand that reflects your company’s values and the importance of being authentic.