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Brand YOU. Why your branding is critical to on-and-off line success

Forget the idea that brand is just for the major players. No matter what size your business or organisation – you have a brand. In fact, you as an individual have a brand. As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room” – or to take this one step further – what they are saying about your website/product/service after they have experienced it.

And here’s the key to successful branding. Experience. Start to think of your business/site/product as a person. The bottom line of any successful marketing or advertising campaign revolves around people. People buy products and services – NOT markets. Therefore, you need to create a brand indentity and experience that is genuine, authentic and unique. One that people can relate to as if it were another human being. Yes, you can have a wonderfully designed website. Punchy, informative copy. Beautiful images. But if it doesn’t engage and speak directly to your audience of choice, you won’t have a brand experience. To put it another way – how many people have you met that are good looking, dressed in designer clothes but in fact boring and dull?

Brand experience has nothing to do with price. Think about some of the most successful brands out there. They rarely compete on price and that is because if you do this there is always somebody out there who will undercut you. Successful brands don’t enter that arena. They know what they do well and exploit that knowing that it is the EXPERIENCE that will ensure their customers return to them again and again. It also has nothing to do with having a unique product and/or service. Chances are no matter what your business is – you have competitors. Successful brands are secure in their market sector because they know that while their product or service can be replicated, their brand experience is unique to them.

Today, the first experience your potential customer is likely to have of your brand will come from your website. To ensure that this experience will lead to that visitor wanting to know more about your product/service, ordering or revisiting or subscribing to your newsletter or updates, you need to create an experience of your brand. To do this means knowing not only your product or service’s USP but also understanding its ‘personality’ and that of your target audience. Treat your product or service as if it were a person. What personality traits does it have? If it were a person how would this person make your life easier? Remember, many people are looking for products and services that solve a specific problem in their lives. How does your company solve the problem and most importantly, solve it better than anybody else? Once you can show you understand the needs of your customers you are talking to them on an emotional level via your unique brand. You are then creating a BRAND EXPERIENCE.

Your competitors can launch rival products. They can also try to compete with you on price. But what they will not be able to replicate is the experience your customer has interacting with your brand. It is this which will drive customer loyalty and retention and ultimately the bottom-line.

Make sure your brand experience echoes your core values. What does your company/product/service stand for? What values do you espouse? Make sure all your messages you give out are congruent. People can easily pick up any discrepancies. And while we’re on the subject of Brand YOU – you as an individual also have a brand and yes, it is what people say about you when you’re not longer present. Think about what you would like them to be saying and then apply this practice to marketing not only yourself as a representative of your business but also to that business itself. The technique is the same.

We at Brownstone are always happy to assist our clients in developing those all-important brand engagement and experience strategies and applying them across not just your website but your entire marketing and advertising mix.

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