There is a distinct difference between your “brand” and your “branding.” Your brand is you. Your branding is you in action. Your brand is who you are, what you stand for, your values, DNA personality and essence.
We are tangible, real entities, that create a brand image of ourselves that lives in the minds and hearts of the people we interact with and come to know. Are you:
- A watercolor nature artist?
- An professional athlete?
- A criminal trial attorney?
- An eighth-grade science teacher?
- A cupcake baker?
- A cardiologist?
- A business consultant?
- A French chef?
- A media analyst?
Your branding is you in action. It’s everything that you do to put your brand into action to create associations with you:
- Email marketing
- Community involvement
- Social media platforms
Ranking the Brands lists and profiles some of the most trusted, popular, core power brands out there today. Coca-Cola, Google, BMW, Microsoft, Walmart, Hershey’s, Apple, Harley-Davidson and UPS, to name just a few. Below are the top 10 of the top 100 Brands, as of 2014:
The big movers in 2014 — YouTube, Netflix, Samsung, Apple — are all innovating and launching products and services. They are socially active and engaged with their public. They are leading the charge and conversations.
What Do These Standout Brands Have in Common?
They are laser focused on:
- What they do.
- What they stand for.
- Who they serve.
- Differentiating themselves from their competition.
- Evolving and telling their brand story.
- Consistency of their values.
- Actively engaged with their public online and in person.
These brands have built legacies and leadership by paying back and paying forward. They have built schools, donated food, supported the Olympics and encouraged educational and philanthropic activities, which is why we want to support them and what we remember them for.
We can and should do this too, no matter how local, small or niche we are. We are important brands too.
How to Emulate Top Brands
1) Have Your Own Web Real Estate
This is your stake in the space, your hub, home, landing place. Where do you live online? Invite people to visit you on whatever primary hub you have: website, blog, video page, LinkedIn Profile, Facebook, Twitter, Google+. Today, it’s more important to have a few dedicated hubs that are active daily, unified in their branding, then spreading yourself too thin in too many places.
2) Make Your Branding a Visually Unique Footprint
Make your branding stand out. Be memorable with professional graphics, logo, colors and design that are yours.
3) Tell Your Evolving Story Using the Best Media
We have so many tools and avenues to tell our story. Blog, video, podcast, speak, present and post to show who you are, what do you do, what results you have you gotten, and how you help and impact others success.
How have you helped people to help others?
4) Be Memorable, Likeable, Easy to Understand and Easy to Recommend
Are you creating the user experience with your customers and community that you want to be known for?
5) Use Branding to Establish Your Credibility, Authority and Niche
The competition today is fierce, active and relentless. So, make sure your brand is clear on what it does and promises to deliver. Make lots of personal, quality connections, be authentic, deliver unexpected customer service and over delivering value.
6) Network Your Brand
The more purposeful networking you do, the more you will be seen, heard and talked about for the right reasons. Join the right groups and activities for you and get involved. Help out wherever your skills can be utilized the best.
Sam Walton wanted Walmart to be remembered for saving people money so they could live better. Milton Hershey wanted to open new doors for children in need. I want to be known as someone who cares deeply about helping small businesses succeed.
This piece from Quintessential Careers offers tips, tools, ideas and a process for creating and promoting your professional brand. Remember it begins with a positive brand perception. It continues with consistent and integrated marketing of your brand plan.
Do you have any tips?
Amazon Photo via Shutterstock, Image: RankingTheBrandsMore in: Content Marketing