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Initial Steps of Branding Yourself
Branding is much more than just a thoughtful logo or slogan and it's more than just a unique color scheme. Below are the initial steps that need to be taken in order to start your successful brand image.

Step 1: Examine the Competition
One of the keys to creating a successful brand image is to separate yourself from your competition. You will need to know how consumers see your competition. You need to recognize how your competitors differentiate themselves from others. Also, you should know your competitor's strengths and weaknesses. Your business can benefit from knowing this information by learning from their weaknesses, and learning how to differentiate your company from the competition.

Step 2: Identify Your Strengths
Now that you know your competition's weaknesses you can begin to focus on your company's strengths. Perform a target market analysis, learn from it, and use it to your advantage. This is a useful tool to confirm your company's strengths are in fact important to your target market. Once you've realized your strengths, and what strengths are important to customers, you can think about ways to successfully market these to the public and involve them in your branding campaign.

Step 3: Know Your Customer
Learn more about the customer. Know their purchasing behavior. How often do they buy? Do they buy only during sales or promotions? Do they buy an array of products or services or just a select few? These are questions you should ask to better market to your customers. Also, know your customer's lifestyles, needs, mindsets, and attitudes. Knowing and working with these personality traits are also key to marketing success.

Step 4: Be Your Brand
Make sure your company truly represents what your brand identifies you with. For example, if one of the traits your brand identifies your company with is politeness, be polite. This means every employee from the receptionist all the way up to the CEO needs to live your brand.

Personal Branding is about honing your skills, narrowing your focus, and getting clear on what you're passionate about.
Branding is not just about you being better than your competition. It's about getting your prospects to choose you as the ONLY solution to their problem.

Here are five great benefits of creating a strong personal brand:
  1. One of the greatest benefits to you of having a strong brand is that it creates a sense of individuality and "separateness" in the marketplace so that your clients are able to easily differentiate your company from your competitors.
  2.  The goal of personal branding is to be known for who you are as a person and what you stand for. Your brand is a reflection of who you are, your opinions, values, and beliefs that are visibly expressed by what you say and do, and how you do it. 
  3. The branding process allows you to take control of your identity and influence the perception others will have about you and the services you offer.
  4.  A strong personal brand will enable you to effortlessly attract clients and opportunities. You will position yourself in the mind of your marketplace as THE service provider of choice to dominate your market and command higher fees - work less and make more!
  5. Establish yourself as an expert and become a celebrity in your area of specialty. Gain name recognition in your area of expertise where it counts the most - in your customer's mind. Make a lasting impression and be super-rewarded for your individuality.
Trust, respect, and admiration will follow when your name and message are embedded repeatedly into the consciousness of your target market. You will be perceived as an expert the more you are visible to your target audience. Your brand will propel you to the top in your marketplace.

Have You Been Branded?
The personal brand you project affects others' decisions as to your intelligence, character and ability, and determines whether or not they want to do business with you. The way you dress (and act) has a remarkable impact on the people you meet professionally and socially. This greatly affects how they treat you.

Humans think with their eyes. A UCLA study proves that 85% of all decisions are made with our eyes. That's right: the visual you have has the most impact
If your personal brand is not professional and congruent, attractive and attracting you will be passed over - guaranteed. To be competitive, to have a greater influence on others, to attract more business and be more successful it's essential that you develop a well-thought-out personal brand.
Before you sell anything -- your product, company or service -- you sell yourself first. Shift the balance of power in your favor. When you brand yourself correctly, you are seen as more desirable and in demand.

Now take large, successful companies for instance. They understand the power of "branding" a product. They spend a lot of time, money and energy to create a "brand" that is eye catching and appealing enough to sell their product through to market. They want to make sure that the buyer has a strong connection with that brand.

Now think of yourself as a company with one employee -- you. How much time, money and energy have you spent in developing a "personal brand" that is unique enough to sell through to your market? An individual who has a well-defined personal brand has more status and a tremendous advantage over the competition in the market place. With a great personal brand, you are already half sold and thus far above the competition.

How to Sell With Branding
When you think of the Coca Cola brand, what comes to mind? Does an image of a red can with words Coca Cola written in white display in your mind's eye, or perhaps a coke bottle? Likewise we must pick our niche on the internet and brand our name accordingly. Be known for doing good in 1 area before moving on to the next project.

Here are the things we need:

1) A website that belongs to you.

2) Auto Responder and Opt In box. Your visitors will most likely not make a purchase on the 1st attempt and when they leave your site, you will not see them again. So do capture your visitors details with an auto responder opt in box and follow up with a series of emails. Follow up emails reinforces your brand name in the mind of your readers. Respectful persistence wins sales.

3) Photograph & Signature. Scan a groomed, smiling photo of yourself and your a penned signature. This adds that personal touch to let your audience know you are a real person.

4) Audio. Do you have a nice speaking voice? If so, combine this with your photograph and signature to humanize your website and establish rapport with your audience.

5) Blog. A blog can be an add-on to your main website or be used as a free alternative to a website, at least until you are generating profits. You can combine every aspect of name branding mentioned in the above points into your free blog. Update your blog at regular consistent intervals with content specific to your vision. Refrain from writing about off topic content so as to keep your message and theme consistent. One way to keep your readers posted about your content is to use RSS feeds.

6) A Domain name. You can register a domain name and forward it to point at your Blog. Use the domain masking feature that allows your website to have a professional look.

Internal Branding
A brand is recognition of a company and its products. It can be in the form of logo, symbol, color or just a name. This recognition helps differentiate a company among its competitors.
Creation of a brand is not just creating a logo or byline statement or a symbol. It is the creation of an experience that will make the customer want more and more of your. An experience, which can create strong positive emotions, something that can lead the customer to trust and become loyal to it. First thing that qualifies a company or product to be a brand is the ability to create emotions. A brand has to be associated with or should trigger emotions.

Logos, colors, symbols, statements, advertisements and promotions are the main tools for the communication of a brand. There is yet another step in your branding process-that of creating an image upheld by your employees.

Internal Branding or promoting the brand internally among employees so that they are aware of the capabilities of the company and are proud to be working for it is one of the most important branding tasks. With the help of internal branding, a new source of powering the brand comes to force. All employees are people who connect with the outside environment after office hours. All positive vibes sent out by employees to their friends, neighbors, relatives, etc creates a compounding effect on the image of the company.

The pride the employee shows to be working for an organization itself speaks volume about the company. The manner in which employee behaves itself portrays or communicates something about the image of the company.
Make sure all of your employees are aware of the image you want to create.  The best way to do this is to go over it during the hiring process.  In the end, it will save much stress and perhaps customers.

Living Your Brand
Everyone is not your buyer. There may be a mass amount of people that purchase your product, but that's not everyone. Dig deep and research your audience. Find the answers to these questions: What are their spending habits? Values? Concerns? Needs? How does your product/service fit into their life?

By answering these direct questions you will begin to win over your key customer. The closer the focus the more connected the buyer will feel with your brand. You want them to think that you designed the brand specifically for them.

It is imperative when communicating that you exchange information about the product in the same way your buyer talks. For example: if they are high class, intelligent and money filled speak to them with sophistication and parallel their first-class style. Or for the free-spirited young adults don't confuse them with big words, or Robert Frost like metaphors; simply connect with your audience on their level. 

Employees, community members, friends, and clients must know the personality of your business. Everyone needs to be familiar with and carry out the persona inside the brand. Some great ways to do this are to hire those you believe already possess the desired traits, company parties, being a part of community events, and relaxed company meetings on implementing the brand through its employers.

Next, use your brand, logo and tagline on company material. These are: web sites, marketing, advertising, public relations, e-mail, letterheads, business cards, and product packaging. Place your brand on any objects related to your products or services.

Society is always changing. With that said, it's important to evaluate and re-evaluate your brand. Simple changes without changing the overall message are needed to survival. Grow with and ahead of your buyer. Don't let your brand get left behind

Promoting Your Brand
Remember the importance of branding. If you haven't already initiated a brand for your company, now might be just the time. Use these simple techniques in the promotion of your special brand

Make your brand as unique as possible. Catch the eye of the public by creating something different- something that people have not yet seen. Instead of doing what has already been done, go the opposite direction and be creative. Don't forget the legal dangers of copyright infringement related to borrowing or stealing from another firm's design.


Display stability. Take time in the development process to establish your brand and accomplish the look you really want. It's better to spend sufficient time in the beginning fine-tuning your design to the desired outcome, rather than to play with it after it's been revealed to the public. Changing your brand, and all that's involved with it, including colors, slogans, logos, and tag lines, doesn't support an image of reliability and long-lastingness

Stability should be maintained with branding. If you have integrated a brand into your company's marketing, then use it all over the place. It should appear on all of your marketing materials, business cards, web site, and printed items. The same is true for your packaging. Your brand should appear on all of your products. .

Give your brand away to the public with diverse promotional products. You can help your brand to saturate the consumer population by handing out precious, yet low-cost, items. Promotional products encourage possible customers to keep in mind your brand and your gift every time they are used. Consider useful devices such as letter openers, flashlights, first aid kits, and CD cases. 

Brands are an extremely effective marketing tool. When working with your concept, consider the above to ensure the development of an effective brand.

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