Friday, October 1, 2010
Hi everyone - we have a guest blog post courtesy of Walter Sanders at Sanders Brand Solutions. I specifically asked for Walter to chime in on this one because I think there is a lot of confusion on what branding is and how it can be effective to small businesses. Thanks, Walter!
Sanders Brand Solutions helps organizations discover their brand voice, and how to communicate that voice with target audiences. Please contact me if you have questions or suggestions.
Ssshhhh. They’re Listening To Your Brand Voice.
Chances are you have had a better branding year than BP, Toyota and Tiger Woods. But you still need to pay attention to your brand voice.
Why? Because what you’re projecting might not be what your key audiences – customers, employees, suppliers, competitors, community – are hearing.
As products and services become increasingly commoditized, you need to differentiate your business.
You need to identify what you do best.
You need to create brand solutions that prompt your audiences to not only buy from you but to market for you as well.
And you need to create a value proposition that justifies pricing to make you profitable.
Now is the time to discover your brand voice
Why now? While many of your competitors have minimized their marketing presence in a poor economy, you have an opportunity to fill that marketing void.
It isn’t necessary to spend a fortune on a print, TV or radio campaign. There are dozens of inexpensive digital marketing channels that spread your brand voice loud and clear. Better yet, they give your audiences the platforms to amplify that voice.
The cost of entry into digital marketing channels is low. And the price you pay for not getting involved in digital branding is dangerously high.
Why should you get excited about digital branding?
More and more purchasing decisions are being influenced by web site information, recommendations made by peers or friends via social media, and customer reactions on web/blog sites that invite and discuss customer experiences.
I’ll leave you with two examples from local service providers whose digital branding approaches couldn’t be more wildly different.
Young Medical Spa http://www.youngmedicalspa.com/ in Center Valley has taken digital branding to new heights. Paula Young directs marketing efforts for the firm, and she is a fearless and tireless proponent of aggressive digital marketing. She’s launching a consulting arm to help businesses with their digital efforts. Young Medical Spa has become a national leader, and digital marketing has played a major role in that growth story.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum is a small tire company that doesn’t market, doesn’t have a web site, and makes no effort to proactively push their brand into the digital marketplace. What they do have, however, are loyal customers who buy tires, spread their satisfaction through old-fashioned word of mouth, and post comments on customer review sites. K & S Tires in Quakertown has such a superb old-fashioned service ethic that customers do the digital marketing for them. Just imagine what K & S could accomplish if they focused on managing their digital brand voice! You can see some of the customer recommendations at http://local.yahoo.com/info-12161225-k-s-tire-company-quakertown
It’s not rocket science…
…but you’ll be left on the marketing growth launch pad if you don’t begin thinking about your brand voice.
How you perceive it might be different than how your customers and ex-customers hear it. Unless you make an effort to craft that voice now, future customers will never hear it.
You have never had a better opportunity or a more pressing need to discover your brand voice, and communicate it with current and future customers. Don’t wait. Start, refine, expand.