I am sure you have heard about 'branding' a number of times in internet marketing forums as well as blogs, but surely, you have got so confused that you have never understood the real point and purpose of branding. So let me simplify the whole thing for you.
Why Brand Yourself?
What is the difference between a solid business and a weak one? The difference is that of branding. One business has branded itself and the other hasn't.
Think about it: What can you remember at first when I speak about:
1. Online Marketing?
Starbucks, or Nescafé, if you think about "instant coffee" (it is my favorite, by the way!)
5. Soft Drinks?
Pepsi, Coca Cola, 7up
Band-Aid (of Johnson & Johnson)
What is common with all these brands? How come you recognize them so easily? This, my friend, is because they have branded their identities. You don't need to be an online marketer to understand the essence of branding. Even if your business is strictly offline-based, you should brand yourself. Branding will help people to easily remember you instead of your competitors.
Benefits of Branding Yourself
Here are the basic benefits of branding yourself:
1. Quick Product Recognition: Notice the example I gave you at the start of this article? When you mention the word 'coffee' to your friends or relatives, they will almost always remember Starbucks or Nescafé. Both these companies have branded themselves in such a way that they are recognized not only by one generation, but several generations down the line. While it is quite hard and expensive to build your brand name in this way, you can nevertheless brand yourself in your own little way. After all, since you are not going to compete with the whole world, you don't need to become world famous. You have perhaps already found your own little niche (online or offline) and want to dominate it.
Again, your business needn't be internet-based for this purpose. Do you have a local brick-and-mortar store? How do you think people will remember you or your store?
2. Quicker Indexation in Search Engines: Regardless of how much money you spend on the latest SEO tool or for SEO services, you will never be able to get on top of the 'authority sites' of your niche. Do you think you will get indexed on the first page of Google if you write articles on low competition keywords? Yes, you may get on the first page, but you will always end up below the 'authority sites'. So, instead of fighting with other authority sites for search engine position, why not become an authority yourself? And the only way to become an 'authority' in a niche is to brand yourself in some unique way.
Don't fight a losing battle with search engines. Instead, try to find your own corner on the World Wide Web!
Different Ways To Brand Yourself:
I am sure there are several different ways to brand yourself. However, I am aware of only two. So I will explain those to you:
1. Branding by Domain Name: If you have already chosen your niche, you have perhaps also thought about how to market in it. Now, remember that in any mainstream niche, there are thousands of competitors who will come up with a product similar to yours. So, to stand out above the crowd, you need to DIFFERENTIATE yourself. How do you do that? By branding yourself. Before you buy a domain, you need to define your business policy. What is the most unique thing about your marketing approach? How will you approach your customers? What is your USP (unique selling proposition), OR in what unique way will you present your product?
If all these questions seem Greek to you, think about how you would describe yourself. Would you describe yourself as an expert article writer? Or a computer wiz? Or a fast graphic designer? Then find a short word that describes your identity.
There was a time when I would purchase domains randomly without any thoughts. If a word appealed to me, I would buy a domain containing that word, without thinking whether it will add to the overall value of my business or not. Shortly, after I joined the Turbo Membership this year, I learned about the value of branding. And believe it or not, I was quickly able to define my own brand as well. I chose the word 'Nuttie' as my brand. It is nothing but a corruption of the 'word 'nutty'. So in a sense, I describe myself as someone who is crazy, insane, eccentric, and sometimes, utterly stupid! Believe it or not, this 'Nuttie' brand has worked for me to some extent, although it is fairly new.
Consider my Nuttiebums.com domain. If I had purchased a 'me-too-bum-marketing.com' domain, how many would have remembered it? Keep in mind that there are hundreds of bum marketing experts out there; some are even more knowledgeable than me. So, if I want to stand out, I would need to brand my domain name.
I branded everything, right from my newsletter, to my headquarters :) So (at least in internet marketing), whenever people see a 'nuttie' website, they will instantly recognize it as mine. To enhance my brand name, I even uploaded 'branded' favicons on all of my sites.
And what is my USP? I over deliver, but my main USP, according to my own confession, is my customer service. ;)
2. Branding by Service: Sometimes you will face a tricky situation like this: someone else is already using the brand that you've chosen. Now, if you are operating in a completely different niche, then it shouldn't be a problem. But if you re operating in the same niche like the other person, then obviously you cannot use that brand name. In that case, consider branding yourself by proving superior service. I know many big time marketers who haven't branded their domains at all; nonetheless they have been able to brand their business successfully!
How to brand your business? Study what your competitors are doing; watch their every move, their every product and product launch. Then launch a superior product in a unique way. Watch how your competitors get their subscribers, and approach the whole thing in a unique way no one has even thought of! Watch what kind of after-sales service is offered by your competitors, and provide better after-sales service to your customers. People will rave about your business on their blogs and forums, and this is a very cool way to brand yourself.
Will Branding Affect My Income Level?
Yes and no. If you are talking about short term income, then branding won't make much difference. Your brand will, however, have a slow and long term impact on your business as you grow it. People will start talking about your brand and spread the word. It may not happen in a day or month, but gradually the momentum will build up. There will come a time when you will truly understand the cumulative effect of branding yourself and your business identity. At that time, the overall value of your business assets will increase manifold. Then, if you want to sell your business to some million dollar company, you will get a superb deal just because of your famous brand name.
Now, I am not saying that you should brand your business only if you wish to sell it in future :) No way! Branding yourself is very important. Whether or not you want to sell your business is a personal choice; I mentioned it just to make you aware of the 'monetary benefits' of branding.
So my question is: what is your brand name? :D
And oh, happy Diwali to everybody :)