Michael W. Byrnes, Jr.
In today’s competitive environment, it has never been so important to have a strong brand. Whether you are building a personal brand (e.g. branding yourself for your next job) or refining a business’ brand, you should invest time to develop a strategy to be successful.
Tips on branding best practices:
1. Be honest. Build a brand that is true…not one that is a fraud. In today’s internet age, brand imposters are quickly discovered…and news travels fast online.
2. Invest in it. A brand can help you win new business and lower costs of acquiring new clients, so make sure to dedicate resources to build and then strengthen it.
3. Cherish it. Treat your brand as one of your most prized assets.
4. Preserve it. You need to safeguard your brand image in all your interactions with business partners (and all interactions of your employees.) There’s truth to the old adage that negative news spreads ten times as fast as good news. In a
word-of-mouth or referrals business, your brand is crucial to your success. Consider what has happened in two recent brand downfalls:
– An individual: Tiger Woods’ actions have reportedly cost him millions in endorsements and his brand image will most likely never be the same.
– A large company: Toyota’s market share is taking a major hit as result of the company’s vehicle acceleration issues.
5. Protect it. In some cases it makes sense to get legal help to defend your brand through copyrights, trademarks and service marks.
6. Be consistent. All communications should consistently reflect your brand, from the top of an organization to the bottom, across all your points of contact.
7. Be different, in a good way. Have at least one of your brand pillars (i.e. the foundation for your brand) help you stand out from the competition. Just like a fingerprint, all organizations are different in some way. Determine what makes your firm better and capitalize on it.
8. Make it the backbone. A brand should be closely aligned with the mission statement and intertwined with the core values.
9. Be unforgettable. Make a positive great first impression that will last for a lifetime.
10. Live it. All associates, from the top of the totem pole to the bottom, need to practice the brand principles throughout each day.
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Michael W. Byrnes, Jr. is the President of Byrnes Consulting, LLC in Charlestown, Massachusetts.