Secret branding advice they don’t teach in business school

While branding seems like something only the big name companies need to worry about, branding is actually happening to your business whether or not you realize it.

As you advertise and interact with customers, you are creating an understanding of the message of your company. You are forming the perception of your company in the world. Because this is happening anyway, focusing on “branding” as a marketing and developmental directive is extremely important. You need to control your brand, instead of letting it control you. So as you begin building your brand, here are five facts to keep in mind.

1. Keep it consistent.

This goes for all public and internal interactions. Consistency builds trust with your client base, as well as with the public in general. When you have a proven, consistent track record, consumers will be more willing to spend their hard-earned money on your products or services. Customers hate to feel jerked around, so just don’t do it.

2. Make sure your advertising is professional.

When you have a choice between two different moving companies, and one has sparkling new vans with professionally designed logos, while the other has dirty trucks, full of fast-food wrappers and a peeling, hand-painted name on the side, which are you going to choose? Hopefully the first one, unless you want all of your valuables to be stolen. This same idea goes for all businesses. Professional advertising makes a professional business.

3. Perception is reality.

This isn’t just a new-age literary theory, it is a concept that extends into consumerism. As far as consumers are concerned, their perception of your company is their reality. If they see your poorly designed logo slapped onto the side of an unkempt van, what they perceive is that you are not serious about your business and, therefore, they will not be serious about spending their money with you either. You could be the most professional businessman in the world but if your public perception does not reflect that, it doesn’t matter how professional you are.

4. Consumers are more “brand-savvy” than ever before.

This means that consumers today can easily detect when they are being deceived by a company, or even when they are being “sold” something. And today’s consumer hates to be sold anything (surprising, but true). As soon as they feel that a product or service is being pushed on them, they will turn away. Your brand can counteract this by being a brand that builds personal relationships with its customers, instead of treating them like walking dollar signs.

5. The most effective brands focus on their consumers, not on their products.

Ultimately, your business intends to sell something, but in order to do that, your brand has to make consumer want to buy what you offer. Great brands do this by focusing on the needs of their target market and making sure their brand addresses those needs directly. Branding your business, at the bottom line, means creating a public image for your company. The most effective brands are those that appear professional, while still allowing room for a personal interaction with every individual client. Keeping these ideas in mind while you begin the branding process will ensure a more successful public face for your business.