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Lunar Perspectives

BrandAid

Starting a business can be both exciting and empowering. That said, in today’s über-competitive and over-communicated marketplace, it takes more than just a great idea to sustain a business. To be successful, you need to be perceived as excellent, which is quite a different thing. Where to begin?…by focusing on building a powerful brand via a strong visual identity.

Here are some tips:

Know Who You Are
Before you get started, you absolutely need to know what your brand stands for and what makes it special. Ask yourself: why do I bother to get out of bed and do this all day, every day? Whether you are for-profit or non, you need to know what will make it worthwhile for someone else to get out of bed and pay attention to you. Remember, there are no more “uncrowded” marketplaces anymore, so the ability to stand out and be understood is more important than ever. Your goal is make sure your voice can be heard on top of all of the chatter and hype. Know your target audience and make every one of your benefits clear and obvious to them. Always remember that your business is something you know exceptionally well, but other people are not likely to be as interested unless, and until, you a) get their attention and b) convince them you’re worth the investment. While it’s tempting to become what you think people want, or what your competitors are, or what seems to be trendy at the time, staying true to who you are will win out in the end. Have patience.

Create a Distinctive Identity
Branding is about perception and the most powerful brands are built from the inside out. You’ll need a strong foundation to start, so begin by developing a clear communications strategy and creative objectives. An appropriate and distinctive name, logo and tagline that capture the essence of your brand are essential as well. These foundation elements will collaborate to increase your visibility and your ability to effectively compete. While printed materials have their place and are still an important part of an identity, the days are long gone when you can get away with a business card and a brochure. A quality media plan and web presence that works on all platforms, from large computer screens to laptops to tablets to mobile device, will be critical to reaching customers online, while simultaneously boosting your credibility.

Get Connected and Be Memorable
Creating a brand voice and social media presence is essential, so it’s important to create a profile for your business on select social media platforms where your customers congregate. The main/essential players today (but check back in an hour or two) are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – but you will need to determine what other social media venues are critical for your particular business or industry. Next, create compelling communications that emotionally connect with and motivate your customers to love your brand and buy from it. Powerful brands are great at listening to their customers, so be sure to respond to online comments and questions.

Be Clear and Consistent
Maintaining consistent, congruent messaging makes your business easier to remember and trust. Ask yourself: Does our name and tagline reflect what we do and/or how we do it? Does our logo look like it belongs in our industry? In this era? Does our website look like it belongs with our business card and social media presence? Is our messaging consistent with our brand? Make sure the answer to all of these questions is yes, or seek help to align things right away.

Deliver on your Promises
Strong brands possess credible, relevant and distinctive brand promises. So you not only need to create a brand promise, you need to deliver on it and provide an exceptional customer experience, whether you’re selling blenders or business plans. If you do, you’ll end up creating a lot of “brand ambassadors” who will sing your praises and help build your brand for you.

These tips are just the “greatest hits,” but if you adhere to them you’ll be off to a strong start. You deserve credit for how great you really are from the people who matter to you most, so think smart, start strong, don’t skip steps, and always, always, always remember who you are.


"I always knew I wanted to be somebody... I see now I should have been more specific."
LILY TOMLIN