Smart Branding: Online and Offline

Few products or services can reach the level of brand recognition that the millions of ad dollars help create.  Few businesses have the resources or expertise to achieve those levels, but that doesn’t mean that corporate or business branding should be overlooked in strategy and planning.

Branding is much more about creating and keeping a clear, unified vision of a company, with all of its marketing efforts focused on supporting that one central theme….the customer’s experience.

Website and Social Media

I think nearly everyone can agree that a website is a key element for branding any business today.  As the internet continues to grow in popularity as a primary place of commerce, the competition to truly “stand out from the crowd” become more and more difficult to achieve.  And so, the importance of your website continues to grow with the market as one of the key places your brand “lives”.

The explosion of social networking platforms has created a whole other arena for online branding. While having a solid social media presence is another important channel to consider for your brand, using it well becomes even more of a challenge. When you communicate with your customers through social sites like Facebook and Twitter,  you create the kind of direct engagement that can lead to real customer loyalty.

But, while incorporating your brand image (logo) and messages in your social media outreach is smart, nothing is as powerful as engaging your clients and prospects in real dialogue, and helping to spread their messages to your followers as well.   This “social reciprocity” creates a public image of interaction that can strengthen your relationships – and even more importantly, elevate the level of your brand in the competitive market.

The most important thing to remember with a website and social media is that it should remain true in message and presentation to every offline endeavor. If you have a general look to your printed materials, flyers and brochures, the website should capture as many of those conventions as possible. The more unified your on-line and offline marketing is, the more successful they will be in branding your company as a whole.

Logo Products and Community Engagement

Many businesses can also benefit from offline promotions and marketing with logo products and community engagement. While branded promotional items may seem like an unnecessary expense to many emerging or struggling businesses, the reality is these little tokens and reminders can go a long way toward increasing your brand’s perception and reach.  Granted, people may not make a purchase decision based on whose company pen is more stylish, but when it does come time to make the sale decision, they may just be reminded of your offering through that one small investment in a promotional item..

Physically reaching out to your local community is another great way to get people interacting with, and learning more about your brand.   Something  as simple as a one page flyer can be available in group settings that can make all the difference in your sales strategy.  But even more powerful that collateral, supporting a non-profit cause (“Cause Marketing”) may be the most effective of all.  Showing that your company cares about a cause is one of the fastest ways to attract, and maintain a solid list of loyal clients.

No matter if you’re offline or online marketing, branding is key to your business.  Smart branding is using all of the methods at your disposal to increase the visibility of your brand name, and when you leverage your website and social media together as one unified effort, deploy your logo cleverly and embrace your local community, you create a marketing mix that can take your company brand to a new level.

What “marketing mix” has worked (or not worked) for your brand recently?

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