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A Matter of Senses
Think of your brand in terms of what the customer gains when it is viewed by each of his or her five senses-hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling and touching. In a nutshell your brand is the result of everything your prospects senses can pick up on about you.
It's the image you present at all times. From the company's logo and color scheme all the way to the manner in which your employees dress. Think of what your colors portray.  Are they giving the message you want to give?

It's what your prospects hear from and about you. From what they hear about you in the media to how your customer service team handles incoming complaints. Are former customers likely to speak kindly about you?  Are you and your employees pleasant when you speak?

It's the feeling your prospect gets in all their dealings with you. From their satisfied or unsatisfied interaction with you to the relationship building activities you carry out. Do customers and prospective customers feel they can trust you?  Do they feel your honesty?

It's the pleasant or unpleasant scents that get associated with you covering everywhere from the scent of your product or facility, to even your employees. Do customers get a scent of cleanliness? 
And lastly it's also the tastes that get associated with you. From the taste of your product (if it's a product meant to be tasted) to the quality of coffee or tea you serve.

Your brand encompasses everything about you. Hence you can see why it's important to always put your best foot forward. Bottom line, branding is essential to establishing your identity in the marketplace and consistency is the key to effective doing that. Take time to examine with your senses what message you are giving your customers.



An Online Presence
Branding, as a whole, is essential for any serious business because a company's brand is what distinguishes it from its competitors. In today's computer age, it is necessary for most businesses to have an online presence to stay competitive. An effective internet branding, just like its offline counterpart, helps bring awareness to your unique business offering and drive customer demand.

While Internet branding offers huge opportunities for business, in order for it to be effective one needs to attract and engage its customers.  This isn't easy on the internet. Branding is not as easy as putting up a website and adding your company logo and slogan. Your internet branding strategy should make your online brand noticeable and apparent.

Branding utilizes hi-tech tools to create an online presence for your business. Graphics and animation, a compelling web copy, and overall website design that reflect your company are some of the important elements that will bring your online brand alive. An attractive website that helps customers easily and quickly find the information they need is the key to getting customer interaction and eventually, business. Your branding plan should include good design elements and ease of use to create an effective overall impression.

A strong online image will make the difference between a customer who buys from you online or switches to your competitors. Remember, that online customers can just leave your site and go to your competitors at the click of a mouse. A lot depends on the impression they get from your site. Branding seeks to convey an immediate unique message about your business to your target clients.

As you can see, there are many requirements for a successful branding strategy. Hiring a branding specialist might be helpful to give you focus on your efforts in creating an online presence that will become a valuable asset to your business.

Be True to Yourself
If your online marketing material stimulates an image in your mind that is just not you, likely you've been trying to model your approach after someone else or you've been using work produced by someone else without giving them the benefit of knowing you, learning your approach, sharing your ideas and interjecting your personality into the material.

So, what's the solution?
The solution to this dilemma is to be yourself and let your personality show through in your online marketing materials.
If you are writing a blog entry in the midst of a snowstorm and it is "a bit nippy outside" don't hesitate to say so. When you let your personality shine your image will be your own, not one you have crafted that will change from day to day depending upon what you have read most recently.

There's lots of talk about branding in regard to online marketing. The basic principles of branding are to decide on the image you wish to portray and what message you want to drive home.
While some people could write a book on how to brand your business, there are really only a handful of factors to consider - your image, your purpose and your message. The purpose of a brand is to craft something that will stick in the minds of people and help them to remember your business.

Creating and building a strong brand does not have to compromise your personality. The only real decision is whether you want to be casual or professional. In the world of online marketing, retaining your personality and your identity will go far in branding your business. You'll be much happier with the long-term effects of your online marketing if you don't try to be someone you are not. Be yourself and have fun.



Become an Expert at Something
Establishing yourself as an expert in your field will help you gain both recognition and respect. Luckily, that recognition and respect transfers directly to your company. If people trust that you truly know what you are talking about, they will feel good about investing in your product.

A website is the best place to start. Build a professional looking site with sound and informative content and you'll have a source of expert information to direct customers to. Remember that it is okay to give away some of your precious knowledge free of charge. Offer the customer something useful up front and they will label you as a legitimate source to go to for whatever your company may offer. 

Article marketing is an especially effective method to achieve that expert status because it gives you the ability to distribute a small number of articles to a huge number of content-rich sites. The more places your name pops up, the more people will be exposed to your site and product.
Another way to show your expertise is through online forums and blogs. This is a bit more casual than article writing. It allows you to remain in the first person and talk candidly with interested web surfers. The conversational tone used in such settings will put many potential customers at ease.

Not only will they view you as an expert, they'll also feel connected to you as a real human being. Also, such places give customers the opportunity to ask questions and give you the opportunity to back up your product in the face of criticism.


Find the right places to gain recognition. Put yourself out there and command respect through that exposure. Highlight your achievements and successes. Branding yourself as an expert is all about getting other people to recognize something about you that you already know.

Benefits of Branding
Your business needs to create a positive image in the minds of consumers. Contrary to what most people believe, branding isn't just a logo. Your businesses purpose, focus, and image all combine to create your brand. Why should you make this effort?  Below are a few benefits:

*You are remembered. It's hard to remember a company with a generic name. You may not be able to distinguish their purpose and business focus. And why would you call a company if you couldn't tell what they did? Branding your business ensures consumers will know what you're about.

*You gain customer loyalty. The fact is, people build close bonds with brand identities. Consumers want quality products they can trust. So, your business should have an identity that your customers can cling to. If your company delivers great products and services and has a great brand identity, people will remember you. In addition, they will often refer you to friends and family.

You become well known. You want the people who have not done business with you to still know who you are and what you do. If they see your ads on billboards, hear them on radio, see them on television, or any other media, they will know your brand identity. And when the time comes that they need your product or service, your company will be the first to come to mind.

Consumers pay for image. We are a very brand aware society. People commonly associate brand names with quality and may only buy certain brands for that reason. If people only want one brand of a particular product, they are willing to pay a higher price. Having a great brand will make your company have a superior image and cause consumers forget about the competition.

   

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