This post was created to elaborate on a 5 minute talk about ways to market your brand given by Colleen G. McCauley as requested at the WIB conference on January 23, 2015. A list of references is available for better understanding and insight on the topic, and to give credit to the original authors. Articles that most inspired the talk are starred and noted for key points.
Once you clearly envision and create a brand that showcases you and your business, how do you get the message out so others see you and your business in the best light? The simple answer is you start by telling everyone about your brand.
Here are 5 ways to help tell everyone about your brand:
1) Be an Advocate & Cultivate Fanatics
Become an advocate for your business by showing your passion for it. Help people understand what you do, the story behind your product/services, what you have done for customers, your methods and mission, and all the many wonderful things of how your business came about. (Beesley, 2013)
Invite others into your WHOLE story. Most people will flaunt their achievements. What about failures? Displaying vulnerability and the joy of simply being human can help you make an emotional connection between your brand and market. (Cheng, 2014) This is especially true for social media – be social first and sell last!
Customers and others in your community can also advocate for your business. Once you make an authentic and emotional connection, you cultivate fanatical followers. Fanatics are “more apt to pay more, wait longer, and share louder” about your business.” (Faris, 2014 & Wirthman, 2014)
2) Develop an Emotional Connection
To make an emotional connection, find out what similar interests or causes you have with your typical customer. Build their persona. Do they cook or play sports? Do they like politics, or arts and crafts? Are they interested in environmental, safety or health issues?
For example, the Always #LikeaGirl campaign is cause to support and champion confidence of young women. “Easy fit to sell feminine products.” (Fogelson, 2014)
Campaigning for a cause can humanize your brand as it can build trust for an authentic and lasting connection with customers. To do that your brand has to be more about them than it is about you. (Cheng, 2014) Real drive makes your brand memorable and desirable to your customers. Yet, connecting at the emotional “human” level can be hard work.
For example, would a mortician dressed in a clown suit send the right message? It may be a “creative” approach, but not an appropriate marketing tactic for that type of business. (Antonelli, 2014)
3) Use Simple & Diverse Marketing Tactics
Many businesses focus solely on one type of marketing, whether online or offline. (Carter, 2014) Diversify your marketing tactics to interact, engage and listen to your target niche to ensure your brand is better known. For example, consider the following tactics:
• Trade show booth, event sponsor or volunteer
• Create videos or photos
• Pay-per-click advertising
• Social media & Publicity
• Newsletter, blog or group discussions in LinkedIn, for example.
Even retargeting and remarketing past ad success can be helpful. You want to create a Marketing Mix that is suitable to your business! Remember not to put all your eggs in one basket. Certainly, don’t break eggs apart to put them in many baskets or they will get scrambled. In other words, don’t spread yourself too thin. Be selective!
Show your market that you are listening by responding through action. (Fogelson, 2014) Give them something specific to address i.e. survey or poll then write about that topic/interest or issue, or join a cause to address it. It may be hard to get feedback to know what specifically you should address so consider offering something of value.
4) Offer some of Value
Offer an incentive or reward for more interaction that aligns with your brand and your business. Would a giveaway for a year’s worth of steaks help to sell cars for Lamborghini? Maybe. Probably not.
Think of what will motivate people and help them overcome buyer’s remorse or weariness of more emails/calls/mail, or something that they don`t need or want. Think of how many times you have re-gifted something as it was of no value to you. Personal, meaningful and relevant content creates value. Consider offering “exclusive or limited edition products (or service) for fans only, flash sales, or unique experiences they can’t find anywhere else.” (Wirthman, 2014) Anticipation, urgency, and scarcity are powerful motivators.
We are constantly reminded that we have many options. Marketing should not solely be about the ability to sell things; it is a conduit for building relationships. People want to connect with people.
5) Build Personal & Genuine Relationships
“Relationships built on empathy, transparency, and honesty are the ones that last and drive a lifetime of conversions.” (Fogelson, 2014) Be sincere, listen, take action based on what you hear, and keep the promises you make with clients and others, which is the true art of branding. (Cieslak, 2013)
Whether offline or online, you want to prioritize the relationship ahead of your bottom line. It’s about networking not sales-working! A quick way to infringe on a new relationship is to spam someone e.g. send a ‘buy my product/service’ sales pitch after the first initial contact with a new follower on Twitter. Actions like that could result in a quick unfollow because it puts the sale before the relationship.
To build a relationship, you need to make a personal, human connection. Even the energy of the owner makes a difference for B2B (business-to-business). Real live human conversation is much more meaningful so take the time to interact with mutual support and reciprocity. Express gratitude if someone gives you a referral, or if you make a mistake then make a phone call to apologize rather than email for a gift card. (Cheng, 2014)
In summary, the 5 tips to help market your brand are:
- Be an Advocate and Cultivate Fanatics
- Develop an Emotional Connection
- Use Simple, Suitable & Diverse Marketing Tactics
- Offer some of Value
- Build Personal & Genuine Relationships
There are really are no set rules that any brand must follow to attract an engaged audience. (Faris, 2014) Initially you plan your brand, but it will be refined by the way others perceive it over time. (Fularon, 2014) Know that although your business may be small, your brand can be BIG!
Updated June 20, 2015
To further understand the importance of making an emotional connection to your brand, below is an infographic (by Ghergich & Co.) from the article “The Psychology of Sales Marketing” by Salesforce Canada that “…outlines the ways emotions and cognitive biases influence purchasing decisions. Each of the biases and psychological factors listed in the graphic offer clear, actionable tips for marketers to use in their sales marketing strategies.” Check out the article at https://www.salesforce.com/ca/blog/2015/04/psychology-of-sales.html.
Antonelli, Dan. Ten Common Branding Mistakes to Avoid. The Globe and Mail. April 18, 2014 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/reportonbusiness/smallbusiness/sbtools/toptens/tencommonbrandingmistakestoavoid/article18005972/
Beesley, Caron. 10 Tips to Help You Build and Grow a StandOut Small Business Brand. U.S. Small Business Administration. July 29, 2013 http://www.sba.gov/blogs/10-tips-help-you-build-and-grow-stand-out-small-business-brand
Boss, Jeff. 5 Unconventional Ways to Make Your Marketing ‘Stickier’. Entrepreneur. October 17, 2014 http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/238551
Carter, Timothy. 4 Smart Strategies to Build Your Business Brand. Small Business Trends. October 8, 2014 http://smallbiztrends.com/2014/10/strategies-build-your-business-brand.html
** Cheng, Michael. How to Create an Emotional Attachment to Your Brand. Financial Post.June 16, 2014 http://business.financialpost.com/2014/06/16/how-to-create-an-emotional-attachment-to-your-brand/?__lsa=442b-10cf
Cieslak, Jason. 6 Steps to Redefining Your Brand In 2014. Fast Company. December 9, 2013 http://www.fastcompany.com/3023054/leadership-now/6-steps-to-redefining-your-brand-in-2014
Dowd-Higgins, Caroline. The Power of a Professional Brand and Why You Need One. Huffington Post Blog. October 6, 2014. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/caroline-dowdhiggins/the-power-of-a-profession_b_5903472.html
Faris, Ron. How to Build Brand Religion. Harvard Business Review. January 29, 2014. http://hbr.org/2014/01/how-to-build-brand-religion
*** Fogelson, Mackenzie. 4 Ways to Build Trust and Humanize Your Brand. The Moz Blog. October 15, 2014 http://moz.com/blog/4-ways-to-build-trust-and-humanize-your-brand
Fularon, Aeramis. 10 Ways to Build Your Business Brand from Scratch. Jimdo blog. April 7, 2014 http://blog.jimdo.com/10-ways-build-business-brand-scratch/
** Sloboda, Rick. Why You Should Get Excited About Emotional Branding. Smashing Magazine. April 11, 2014. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2014/04/11/get-excited-about-emotional-branding/
Wirthman, Lisa. How Small Businesses Can Build Brand Religion. Forbes BrandVoice. April 11, 2014 http://www.forbes.com/sites/capitalonespark/2014/04/11/how-small-businesses-can-build-brand-religion/