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5 Branding Tips for Your Launch

From Dan Schawbel:

Branding is an essential part towards building a sustainable business. As an expert, I’ve seen a lot of companies succeed or fail based on their brand identity. People are willing to spend more money on companies that they’ve heard of…

5 Branding Tips for Your Launch

May 31, 2012

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Branding is an essential part towards building a sustainable business. As an expert, I’ve seen a lot of companies succeed or fail based on their brand identity. People are willing to spend more money on companies that they’ve heard of before and those that have a strong reputation. If you fail to establish a strong brand identity, your competition will beat you and you will be forced to compete solely on price–which will stunt growth. Here are five ways to ensure that your brand is successful when you launch your company:

1. Logo and Website Design

We live in a culture that wants things to be aesthetically appealing. Having a firm understanding of what your business says in a visual sense can help you create a design and feel for your branding collateral.

The visual aspect of your logo and website should speak in both literal and figurative terms, about the character of your business. If you are a wholesale wine distributor, it make sense to have a bottle or a glass of wine in your logo, or perhaps you want something a little subtler. A bundle of grapes or a wine barrel could work just fine. Decide what characteristics you want your business to stand for about the industry you’re in, and try to visualize it. This will enable you to describe to developers what look you’re going for. Your logo and website will define your business both online and offline, so make it something you’re proud of.

2.  Social Network Business Profiles

These sites are an important part of your online influence, and a great avenue to reach your customers. Once you’ve decided that a business profile is for you, I would recommend looking into other companies you look up to, and note what they’re doing well with their profiles. You want to generate content that your fans will find interesting, and want to share. Some of this information can be deals, or information on products or services you provide, but you might want to also post articles or videos you find helpful, useful, or entertaining.

3. SEO

As a small business owner, the hardest obstacle you’ll have to overcome is being “seen.” The Internet is littered with small business websites all vying for the same small corners of the web. It’s imperative you focus on driving more traffic to your site, and drive up your search engine optimization. Social networks can help a lot, as well as having a blog as part of your site. Identify ways you can reach your customers (advertising, partnerships, etc.) and take the necessary steps to get your name out there. The more unique visitors you can drive to your site, the better your Google rank will become, which in turn makes you more visible online.

4. Publicity

PR is another great way to make yourself visible both online and offline. If you’re involved in any sort of charitable work, alert local media so they might want to cover it. Position yourself online as an expert in your field, and make yourself available for comments and opinions. Target smaller publications and blogs at first to build up your persona, and create working relationships with the media. PR can get very expensive very quickly if you pay for it, so as a small business it makes the most financial sense to take care of it in-house. I offered to write articles for various publications on and offline to build up my reputation, which has to led to many free PR opportunities for my company.

5. Testimonials

Once your business is up and running, make sure you connect with your customers so you understand what is working and what isn’t working. Don’t be afraid to tweak your product or service, and be receptive to feedback. It’s important to understand that no matter how much experience you have in business, you never cease learning how to do business better. When your clients are happy and vocal about your product or service, ask them for a testimonial. You can share these on your site, and it will prove your worth to other potential customers as well as instill trust in possible future clients.

Dan Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen-Y research and management-consulting firm. Subscribe to his updates at Facebook.com/DanSchawbel.

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