The 4 C’s to Irresistible Online Branding





Let’s face it – we’re all obsessed with creating a great brand. We have to be! With so much competition, so many ways to reach out to customers, and so many chances to be overlooked we have to fight for attention and placement in customer’s top of mind. And that takes creating a brand that doesn’t just exist, but that is irresistible. Because, as the great Unmarketing states, people don’t share “meh”. They only share awesome.

So how do you do that? How do you make your brand one that customers want to share with their friends? By following the 4C’s. No, we’re not picking out a gem here, we’re simply creating one.

Content

The most important facet of your brand isn’t your logo or the colors you decide to use on your Web site – it’s the content that you put out. It’s your brand message and the “thing” (or things) you’re using to unite your customers. And I think that’s something many small business owners fail to realize. They want to create a great brand and do things to make their customers fall in love with them…but they don’t give them anything to fall in love with. You gotta give us something to unite around and a reason to carry you through the streets. We want to do it, but we need your help. This is where your blog, your quirky product descriptions, your Twitter account, your Facebook page, your email newsletter, your videos, your Yelp offers, your FourSquare deals, etc, all come into play. Use every piece of content you can to create and convey your message.

Consistency

You’re not just creating any old brand here. You’re looking to create a brand with a cohesive message that users will be able to trust over time. And a big factor in their ability to do that will be consistency. That means your logo, your Twitter account, your site colors, the text on your home page – all have to be delivering the same message and making good on the same brand promise. If your Twitter account is quirky, but your home page says ultra-conservative, you’re going to confuse people and they won’t be able to understand who the real “you” is. Someone should be able to recognize your brand independent of where they come across it. It’s through creating that consistent message across the Web and their buying cycle, that will allow them to recall it. Too much fragmentation and you’re going to lose them.

Clarity

Who are you? Or, should I say, who do you want to be? I talk a lot about creating characters (yikes, more Cs!) when it comes to personal branding because you want to be the version of yourself that allows you to best connect with your target audience. But, of course, that means understanding who your audience is, what they’re looking for, and where you (and your company) fit into the mix. You need to be clear about what you want your brand’s connecting fibers to be. If you were a potential client, what would traits would you be looking for when hiring a vendor like yours? How can you become that?

Cultivate

Your brand will not grow overnight. If you want it to blossom, you need to cultivate it over time. It’s about doing all those little things that, when collected, add up to a strong and cohesive brand experience. What type of activities does that include? It means commenting on blogs, participating in appropriate online communities, responding to people when they mention you, being proactive about building relationships, and being open to letting customers inside your organization.

Those are my 4 C’s to irresistible branding. What do yours look like?

11 Comments ▼

Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

11 Reactions
  1. Lisa,

    Thanks for those 4 C’s.

    It’s taken a while for me to provide some clarity to what I do. My friend Jim Kukral was nice enough to call me out almost 2 years ago.

    He shared that he wasn’t really sure what I did. He felt that I was diluting my message a bit.

    Good reminder, Lisa!

    The Franchise King®

  2. When reading about Cultivate I had the mental image of websites as little farms and internet marketers working in the fields as their sites grow. Kinda like Farmville, but actually producing something profitable.

  3. I would add ‘credible’ to the list of C’s Lisa. I think it ties in with most of the points you’ve listed here.

    Credibility is essential if people are going to believe in your message and what you’re trying to do.

    The online world has its fair share of charlatans so being open and honest with people when trying to build your brand is something I would strongly advise.

  4. Lisa, these are great tips! And yes, there do seem to be a lot of Cs in marketing: clients, competition, compelling content …

    I advise my clients to get clear on their value. The unique value you bring to your clients is the heart of your brand, and it will drive your content, consistent look-and-feel and strategy online. You can identify your brand value by examining your strengths, talents, solutions and also by asking your ideal clients how they’ve benefited from what you’ve done for them.

    A branding consultant who specializes in this area can help as well, since it can be very hard to discern your true value without some objective insight about it.

  5. Love the 4Cs here ( sounds like the 4Cs to check when buying a diamond ring ). I think I’d like to add a fifth – which is ‘Connect’ with your audience and spend more time talking to them than posting automated stuff or canned responses. People are smarter these days so give them your due time and respect. Cheers!

  6. Nice article, simply stated but truly effective for all marketers.

    Would you say, when done properly the 4 C’s result in a VP (Value Proposition) which = T + V (How much Time to spend to achieve audience Value) which in turn results in “E” Engagement, when employed over TR (Time + Repetition) whose goal is BR (Brand Recognition) or the ultimate resultant S (Sales)

    So if I am correct C+C+C+C / VP(T+V) = E when utilized over T+R = BR or S
    Next we must consider the 4 P’s and ROI to satisfy the CEO.
    Marketing has too many P’s and Q’s.

  7. I love this article and how the C’s truly give a ‘C’lear path to ‘C’ash in on the many benefits to online branding! @Bill Simmel Love the math formulas! I can probably use your help! Lol

  8. Lisa, I love you even added the ‘character’ into the formula. Knowing what you want others to perceive you as and acting accordingly is the base of it all. Thanks 🙂

  9. Well written article Lisa.
    The umbrella ‘C’ for all these 4 Cs is ‘Create’. Hugh Macleod has very rightly drawn the cartoon ‘create or die’. Seth Godin has renamed that to ‘ship’. A successful online marketer has to ‘create’ continuously. Ignore writers block or anything, keep on ‘Creating’ with all the above Cs and web will reward you sooner or later. Thanks.

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