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Now that you've written your mission statement, you can begin thinking about creating a brand that reinforces and supports your mission. So, getting back to fundamental questions of who you are, what you do and how you do it, you can now begin to think of your business in these terms. You're a webhosting provider, you host websites of small businesses and you do that by offering cost-effective webhosting solutions, guaranteed 99% uptime and 24/7 telephone technical support.
When you create your brand, you need to keep who, what and how firmly in mind but also use brand to establish your relevance to your target market and build credibility with that market.
Let's turn now to nuts and bolts of creating your brand.
=> Describe What You Are Branding
List out your business's key features and characteristics, your competitive advantages and anything else that sets you apart from your competition.
Using our webhosting example, you'll focus primarily on objectives from your mission statement namely, reliable, cost- effective webhosting solutions supported by 24/7 technical support.
=> Identify and Describe Your Target Market
Decide whether you want to target entire webhosting community or only a segment of it such as small business websites. Describe your market.
=> List Names that Suggest Key Elements from Your Mission Statement
The key elements from your mission statement were reliability, cost-effectiveness and customer service. List names that are suggestive of these elements. Let's use Reliable Webhosting for our example. (I don't claim to be a creative genius.)
Don't limit yourself to real words, though. A coined name with no obvious meaning is a perfectly legitimate name provided it conveys something about your business. You will find coined names easier to trademark and secure domain names for too - a definite plus!
=> List Tag Lines that Reinforce Your Mission Statement
We'll use: "Outstanding reliability and technical support at a price your small business can afford". I know, I know. You can do much better, I'm sure.
HOW SHOULD I USE MY BRAND?
=> Create a Logo for Your Brand
Your logo is NOT your brand but your logo should allow your brand to be instantly recognized by those familiar with it. To this extent, your logo helps create and reinforce brand awareness.
The logo you create should be able to be used consistently in a variety of different media. It should be suitable for corporate letterhead and business cards, as well as for your website and corporate signage (if any). You do NOT want a confusing mishmash of logos and banners and heaven knows what else. Everything you produce needs to use same, consistent style of logo so that, over time, your logo becomes synonymous with your brand. Instant recognition is what you're going for here, so don't dilute it by using several different logos for different purposes.
=> Consistent Usage of Company Name, Logo and Tag Line
Going back to our webhosting example, putting brand name and tagline together, physical manifestation of your brand will be:
RELIABLE WEBHOSTING Outstanding reliability and technical support at a price your small business can afford.
To establish brand awareness, this branding needs to be used consistently and frequently in everything your produce, whether that be letters to clients, business cards, brochures, quotations, invoices, advertising, promotion, on your website, on front door of your principal place of business and on your products. And don't forget to be consistent in your use of color schemes. These can be powerful brand reinforcers.
=> Marketing and Promotion of Your Brand
Once you've created your brand, you need to market and promote it, in addition to your products and services. This is how you establish your credibility and relevance to your target market. You can hopefully see why your brand needs to be suggestive of your mission statement. If, at same time as you're selling your products and services you also push your brand, your brand becomes synonymous with your products and services. And vice versa.
A properly descriptive brand and high brand awareness amongst your target market will allow you to more easily introduce a wider range of products and services when they're developed without having to start by again selling who you are, what you do and how you do it first. Your brand has already presold YOU. Your job then is to sell your products and services.
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Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical business ideas, opportunities and solutions for work-from-home entrepreneur. http://www.ahbbo.com
Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical business ideas, opportunities and solutions for the work-from-home entrepreneur. http://www.ahbbo.com