The Basics of Branding

emineo media branding basicsBranding is one of the most important aspects of any business, large or small, retail or B2B. An effective brand strategy gives you a major edge in increasingly competitive markets. But what exactly does “branding” mean? How does it affect a small business like yours?

Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer. It tells them what they can expect from your products and services, and it differentiates your offering from your competitors’. Your brand is derived from who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.

Are you the innovative maverick in your industry? Or the experienced, reliable one? Is your product the high-cost, high-quality option, or the low-cost, high-value option? You can’t be both, and you can’t be all things to all people. Who you are should be based to some extent on who your target customers want and need you to be.

The foundation of your brand is your logo. Your website, packaging and promotional materials–all of which should integrate your logo–communicate your brand.

Brand Strategy & Equity

Your brand strategy is how, what, where, when and to whom you plan on communicating and delivering on your brand messages. Where you advertise is part of your brand strategy. Your distribution channels are also part of your brand strategy. And what you communicate visually and verbally are part of your brand strategy, too.

Consistent, strategic branding leads to a strong brand equity, which means the added value brought to your company’s products or services that allows you to charge more for your brand than what identical, unbranded products command. The most obvious example of this is Coke vs. a generic soda. Because Coca-Cola has built a powerful brand equity, it can charge more for its product–and customers will pay that higher price.

The added value intrinsic to brand equity frequently comes in the form of perceived quality or emotional attachment. For example, Nike associates its products with star athletes, hoping customers will transfer their emotional attachment from the athlete to the product. For Nike, it’s not just the shoe’s features that sell the shoe.

Defining Your Brand

Defining your brand is like a journey of business self-discovery. It can be difficult, time-consuming and uncomfortable. It requires, at the very least, that you answer the questions below:

  • What is your company’s mission?
  • What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
  • What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
  • What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?

Do your research. Learn the needs, habits and desires of your current and prospective customers. And don’t rely on what you think they think. Know what they think.

Because defining your brand and developing a brand strategy can be complex, consider leveraging the expertise of a nonprofit small-business advisory group or a Small Business Development Center .

Once you’ve defined your brand, how do you get the word out? Here are a few simple, time-tested tips:

  • Get a great logo. Place it everywhere.
  • Write down your brand messaging. What are the key messages you want to communicate about your brand? Every employee should be aware of your brand attributes.
  • Integrate your brand. Branding extends to every aspect of your business–how you answer your phones, what you or your salespeople wear on sales calls, your e-mail signature, everything.
  • Create a “voice” for your company that reflects your brand. This voice should be applied to all written communication and incorporated in the visual imagery of all materials, online and off. Is your brand friendly? Be conversational. Is it ritzy? Be more formal. You get the gist.
  • Develop a tagline. Write a memorable, meaningful and concise statement that captures the essence of your brand.
  • Design templates and create brand standards for your marketing materials. Use the same color scheme, logo placement, look and feel throughout. You don’t need to be fancy, just consistent.
  • Be true to your brand. Customers won’t return to you–or refer you to someone else–if you don’t deliver on your brand promise.
  • Be consistent. I placed this point last only because it involves all of the above and is the most important tip I can give you. If you can’t do this, your attempts at establishing a brand will fail.
Read more: Entrepreneur

Instagram Launching Branding Guide for Businesses

instagram-for-business.emineo mediaInstagram is wedged in an awkward space between serving as both a platform for basically free advertising and developing a more formal structure for paid products and promoted images.

The Facebook-owned company is taking things a bit further with a new online guide in the works to guide businesses with better branding tips for images shared on the Instagram stream.

Starting with a few basic tips that might seem so obvious they’re usually ignored, the photo sharing service has already published the first series of tips from the new Instagram Handbook for Brands.

With an emphasis on inspiring action and emotion in specifically targeted viewers, the Instagram for Business team pointed to a number of examples from corporate customers, ranging from social media savvy eyewear brand Warby Parker to camera maker GoPro.

Here’s one putting the spotlight on General Electric:

Find beauty everywhere: Show how your company sees the world and make it meaningful to people. @generalelectric showcases the beauty of their technology by transporting people to giant jet engine factories and remote wind farms, capturing the machines with elegant symmetry and imparting the grand scale of these man-made wonders.

Tips about content, most popular hashtags, and more will continue to be published in an ongoing series of blog posts, although Instagram also noted a book is on the way soon too.

Read More: ZDnet

Promote Your Business on Instagram

Instagram-For-Business-Emineo MediaIf you are thinking about promoting your business and looking for some fresh ideas, one of the most popular social networks – Instagram – will help you. Below you can find 10 creative ways how to expand your business on Instagram.

  1. Share your products. People like to examine products, so give your followers this opportunity. Put your products (supplies, equipment, etc.) on your Instagram profile. You can reduce the image of a not very widespread product and ask your followers to guess what it may be.
  2. Show how your product is made. Let your followers know how your products are made and where they come from. You can post photos of the production process. You can even show the whole process: from production to delivery, using many snapshots.
  3. Let people see the backstage process. People are interested in the offstage process. You can show your followers some exclusive photos from backstage, e.g. if you take part in a photo session, filming or interview.
  4. Show the results of using your products. You can announce a contest, in which followers have to use your products in the most creative ways. Then choose the best ones and post on Instagram. If your business is makeup or hair design, decoration or interior design, you can show the result of your work. Use photos “before and after.”
  5. Make your followers special. Make your Instagram followers feel that they are the first to learn news about your products. Share exclusive previews of products, show your new shops or offices before opening.
  6. Show your company. Post photos that show a common working day at your office: people, work places, equipment, recreation room and other interesting things. If you have vacancies, don’t forget to mention about them under the pictures.
  7. Invite your followers with you. If you go to some interesting event, like party or concert, you can take your Instagram followers with you. People can better understand the essence of your products by learning about the events you attend or sponsor.
  8. Show your employees. Make your brand closer to common people. Show your followers the employees of your company. Write some words about each of them. In their turn, your employees will have a minute of fame and feel useful.
  9. Show celebrities using your products. Post photos of celebrities using your brand when they are at your sponsored event, when they visit your company, or just somehow interact with your products and services. These posts will be popular for sure.
  10. Stake on animals. Almost all people like animals and pets often do some funny things. You can use this for your brand. Post pictures where animals are dressed in the clothes with your company’s name or show animals gazing on your products. Such photos will get many likes and comments from your followers.

Now you have learned the ways how to promote your business on Instagram. You can use only one way or combine several variants to achieve your goal.