Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Recently a complimentary business approached me for referrals, stating that it would be an awesome way for me to build my business brand, list and get my message out to a larger audience. According the unamed individual becoming an affiliate would do me wonders. At first I was curious until I dug a little deeper. It turned out that the person who was suggesting we refer to one another was someone I would not like to know let alone become an affiliate with. This got me thinking about how easy it can be to destroy your brand simply by the people you associate with. Now dont get me wrong I do believe that affiliating with other businesses can be a great way to build your business brand, however there are three things that need to be considered

Consideration #1: do they share or support your business values, vision and message. Unless the person you are joining forces with has the same vision, code of conduct and values you and your business hold, this could be destructive to the great image you have created around your brand. Ask yourself the questions, what does this person / business stand for, what is their code of conduct, do they share the same values i do and if the answer is no then I would strongly suggest you avoid the partnership

Consideration #2: Are they playing in the same space your target audience is? there is no point in affiliating with another business if your target audience doesnt know or even worse care about them. An easy way to look at this is trying to introduce a fish to a bird, neither one are going to live in harmony and possible worse one could become the other ones dinner.

Consideration #3: Is the relationship even. When setting up an affiliate, make sure you are getting an adequate return on investment. Is the effort going to help you achieve you business goals. Think about the cost of becoming an affiliate -  this doesnt just include money, but time, other opportunity cost and reputation.

Although its great to be keen and to get your brand out there, make sure you are doing it with a long term perspective and in a means that supports your overall business and branding strategy.

I would love to know your thoughts, please comment below

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Business branding is like getting ready for a first date

Have you ever noticed that creating a business brand is similar to when you go on a first date with a new guy. It’s exciting, fun and there is definitely a process to be followed. It’s about having that right balance between showing who you are and being able to focus and draw attention from Mr Right, or in business terms your dream client. As with dating, business branding should leave a tantalising taste that keeps them coming back for more – so pop the bubbly, turn on the music and let’s get your brand dressed.

Pushup Bra -  getting your best assets out there
Your business brand is similar to a great pushup bra, it is there to support and enhance your best assets. The best is the one that is aesthetically pleasing as well as having great structure shape and form. How many times have you ever seen a brand that doesn’t fit its owner? In the same way as an ill fitting bra, a poorly fitted brand can result in your best assets looking flat, saggy and let’s face it unattractive. A great brand helps create a full and perky look!

Show a little skin – a free taste but don’t do a Britney
A saying a friend of mine likes to say, ‘always show some skin – sex sells, however we don’t need to see it all’. A business brand always shows off some skin and entices the viewer to want to touch, see, taste and ultimately find out more. However in saying this, don’t sell yourself short and give away too much!  As with a first date – mystery is key. Think about some of the great brands out there that manage to do this, for instance Lynx, which is currently celebrating 25 years of helping men ‘get ahead in the mating game’ is genius at showing a little skin and I’m not talking about the women they use in their ads. Lynx is king at giving away free samples of their products because they know the end result will be a solid brand, increased sales and return purchases. It is however important not to give too much away and I see this happen frequently with start up businesses. In giving too much free stuff away it can potentially cheapen your brand, as they say in the dating world if the milks free then why would you buy the cow or in Hollywood – don’t do a Britney!

Seamless Panties – keeping the behind the scenes private (again don’t do a Britney)
Having systems behind the scenes supporting your business brand such as auto responders, client files, database management etc... is much the same as a good pair of seamless panties to a LBD. The point of the system is to stay invisible to the outside world, while all the time holding everything together and creating great form. As with choosing the perfect pair of panties a system needs to be well fitted, too big and you have gaps and excess baggage, too small and you risk unattractive bulges. When choosing your system make sure you pick one that will support and highlight your brand as well as being easy to use.

Makeup: covering up that which is a little rough
Your logo, images, colours and format styles is much the same as makeup. It’s the stuff that isn’t the most important thing in the world, but helps to make everything look pretty. As with makeup you definitely want your brand to reflect your business’s beauty, as well as being attractive to your target audience. There is no point in doing big black eyeliner, bright red lips and heavy foundation if your date likes a more natural look and vica versa. What this means is know what works for you and your target audience and when you do really work it.  Just with make up, your business logos etc.. can range from the really expensive (think Chanel) or cheap (think Australis).

Accessorise, but before you leave remember to take one thing off (don’t over promise)
Ever seen a person over accessorised, this is similar to the business that over promises and under delivers. I think this would have to be one of the fastest ways to kill your business brand, much the same way rings on every finger, bagles, scarfs earings, belts, bags necklaces can kill a good look. So before saying yes to what you are offering take the time to look in the mirror and ask can I really deliver everything I say im going to deliver and more, if not then take some things away. Sometimes the most simplest of offers can often be the best.
And finally

Great Conversation
It doesn’t matter how the attractive the  person your dating appears, if they don’t have great conversation, add value and have depth then the likely hood of going beyond the first date is slim to none. A great brand is created by adding amazing value, forming solid relationships and having depth.

To love and branding success – I would love to know your opinion on brands that you would consider marrying or those that you would you use the ‘emergency get me out of here call on’, enter them below.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

5 and a half tips for getting your business brand out there

ok, so you have a business, but no one knows who you are and what you do? This doesnt sound like much a business does it?  Recently I attended the wealth and achievement billionaire adventure club and  got the pleasure to be mentored by Scott Martineau, who has worked with greats like Chris Howard and Dr Wayne Dyer to name a few. In his session what interested me is how he defined what having a business looked like and in particular the number of members (customers, clients, followers etc...) a business had. According to Scott a business with 1000 members is a hobby, 10,000 is a small businesss and 50,000 followers is a million dollar a business. So how do you get followers of this size?

Strategy 1: Social Media: facebook, twitter, LinkedIn are probably the three most important spaces to be on and this is putting it mildly. According to Answers.com facebook has over half a billion active users and is major competition to Google. Not a bad space to advertise your business brand.   The trick to using social media for business is to keep it social, that means build relationships, getting to know your target audience and offer great value. Creating fan pages and profiles is a great way to create a following -  however be warned, coming in with a sales pitch  is the fastest way to lose followers, its kind of like asking a man to marry you on the first date and telling him that your bone structures combined will make beautiful babies

Strategy 2: Blogging -  again this is great to create a brand and a means to be a leading expert in your field -  however with blogging get creative and use different means such as video blogging – Youtube is great for this, picture blogging and traditional blogging such as this.

Strategy 3: Systems – having a system that tracks your members and how they respond to your brand such as message, products, free content and all the great value you offer is key. If you are getting less than sparkly results try another approach. Set 90 days strategies and monitor your results and change and adapt when appropriate. A business brand can be turned around in 90 days

Strategy 4: Publicity, publicity, publicity and make it professional. This doesn’t have to be expensive either -  getting the media, whether that be online of offline to promote your business is one of the best ways to promote your business brand. Also think outside the traditional methods of publicity, word of mouth  is still the best way to get your business to succeed -  think about people who you can get to promote your business. This could be a happy client, a close friend, another complimentary business and or the media.

Strategy 5: Your net worth is your network. Name dropping is a great way to build your brand and create credibility around who you are and what your business does. Get to know experts in your field and utilise their brand to build your own. This may feel slightly strange at first but the one of the fastest ways of increasing your business brand profile .

Strategy and a half: Never do things half heartedly when it comes to your brand.  As Shellie Hunt would say keep your standards high!!

Well I don’t know about you, but I’m off to build my business brand – if you have any other strategies or would like to leave a comment I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

3 Easy Steps when Building your Business Brand

By Susie King october 2010
The purpose of building your business brand is to ensure that you remain in the hearts and minds of both your potential and target market, increase sales, become an industry expert and provide a means in which to lead your employees. Check out the 3 C’s when building your business brand online
Write sizzling value adding CONTENT. Regularly adding high-quality content to your website, blogs and social media is one of the main things you can do to build your business brand. Always think of new ways you can help your visitors by adding articles, tips, and helpful information that can be used immediately and that will generate great results for those who read and implement what you have suggested. When writing your content, always think of the audience in which you are writing for – language, style, formatting and content is all determined by your audience.
The other factor to consider when writing great content is the overall structure of the piece. Makes sure it is easy for both your visitors and the search engines to find so that your hard work is recognized, after all you may be an excellent writer, providing great content, but if no one knows about it, then it isn’t doing a lot of good. ( also you know if your content is hitting the mark, when people start to comment and pass on your content -  this is gold when building your business brand)
You really can’t go wrong by adding quality content on a regular basis. Not only does it position you as an expert, it also builds trust, credibility, drives increased traffic to your website all the while building your business brand. So why not start today -  your inner author is calling you…
Become a CHARACTER. What differentiates you and your market is the character in which you play - now don’t get me wrong, this is not about being someone you’re not and the most authentic characters are often the ones that are the best, just think of Richard Branson, Donald Trump or Aussie Rob. When creating a strong brand having a character that stands out is key. There are three types of that should be considered when forming your character
  • the ‘small town hero’, or ‘average Joe done good’. This is the person who is just like their target audience; however they have had incredible success and achieved greatness. The purpose of this character is to lead your audience into believing that if they follow your program, use your services of buy your products they too will also have the desired results. Can you think of any big brand business owners who have used this style of character
  • the resurrection character. This is the person who loses everything and then is resurrected from the grave so to speak. This is the character that creates a common enemy to overcome and triumphs. Can you think of any big brand business owners who have used this character
  • Reluctant Hero. This is the person who stands up and leads because no one else will. Their story explains how they never wanted to be a leader, successful, expert, however because of their ability, hard work etc… they became that person by default. Can you think of any big brand business owners who have used this character when creating their brand
A great character has a combination of all three and the entire purpose is to inspire and build rapport between you and your target audience. A key when developing your character is to be the marketer, rather than the market, or more simply, be who your market wants to become.
And finally,
Consistency is key. As with most things, being consistent is the key, especially when building your brand. This means making sure that you are constantly reminding your target audience of who you are, what you can do and how valuable you really are. Just like with all things, being consistent is an art form in itself and requires discipline, planning and being proactive. Scheduling in a blog writing day every fortnight, or updating your social media sites at a certain time every day are all steps in consistently building your business brand.
Consistency with your message is another important area, always ensure you know what your message is and consistently build that message in every thing that you do.
Building a brand really can be simple, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money – Just remember the 3 C’s Content, Character and Consistency.
I would love to know what your thoughts are, please leave a comment below or join my fan page