by Vikki Hankins|
Branding is a necessary part of any business. It differentiates you, your products, and/or services from the next product or service. Branding builds a certain expectation of a company. If people know you are reliable, professional and punctual, generally they come to form an expectation; if you build a strong full-proof brand your service/products or even ‘you’ will be selected over the next. With that said branding ties directly into sales and digital marketing.
So how does a small business or person build a brand/business? This is how I’ve done it. I am a very, very tiny business owner in the big scope of things. However, I take great pride in my work. Below I’ve compiled my list of things I’ve done to build my brand.
1 Care: I care about the well-being of any business owner that reaches out to me. I think genuine care is the catalyst to brand building. Usually people can discern whether you’re out for a quick buck or if you’re truly working to strengthen and maintain a company or product.
2 Love What You Do: I love my work! There are times when I’m completely consumed with my work because of my passion, joy, and fulfillment of a finished product. If you love what you do, everything that follows ‘flows’. There is no strain in what you do for others. There’s been several times when clients, or even strangers clearly see my love for my work.
3 Professionalism: I cannot emphasize this enough. I pride on professionalism; treating customers with dignity and respect. Old fashioned principles help in this area. If a customer only has $50 for a $5000 service, do not demoralize them. There is a way to share your price expectation without crushing self-esteem. Such things as punctuality, returning phone calls, answering emails, interacting with people all play a role in professionalism. When answering phones or returning calls, put some ‘joy’ in your voice and pay attention to what’s being said. I am a talker so this is a challenge for me, but to offer a service, at some point I have to ‘be quiet’ and listen.
4 Quality: My skills have developed over the years and continue to develop as I learn more about me and my natural abilities, but each phase of my growth came with quality. I produce quality products for my level and my lane. I don’t place Sony, Lionsgate, or Warner Bros. expectations on myself; I work with what I have.
5 Graphics/Logos: It is important to identify yourself via graphics. One of the things that I found difficult over the years was for me to get to a place of one graphic/logo that identifies my work. This challenge stemmed from the never-ending development of my company name; I’ve went from one name to the next as I’ve included more services and met a few bumps about ‘names’.
6 Tenacity: I was once told that I am tenacious. Not exactly sure of the definition, I turned to Webster’s dictionary to understand the meaning – if you don’t know the meaning of certain words don’t be ashamed to look them up. The person that told me this was quite correct; I have never stopped in my belief for my business. When I started on this road, I continued to plow at it, even though I was discouraged at times, I never gave up.
7 Research: The very first thing I’ve always done for my business is research. Research allows a business owner to get ‘real’ expectations, understand cost, determine target markets, and understand the needs for services. It also allows you to learn from others who’ve come before you. Research, understanding analytics tis vital to the strength of your company.
8 Social Media: Strong social media presence is also critical to your branding. A few facts that helps us understand why it’s important to remain visible on social media: 1. “There are 2.3 billion active social media users.” 2. “Social media users have risen by 176 million in the last year.” 3. “78% of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour.” – brand watch.com
Vikki Hankins is CEO of a technology based publishing and media company. A professional book publisher, Vikki oversees the production, appeal and distribution processes involved with publishing. Providing digital, print, and electronic delivery (e-books), she has a knack for branding, digital media production, presentation, and the overall success of literary works and marketable products.
As a digital magazine publisher she is in charge of editorial, advertising and promotions, circulation, distribution, finance and accounting, marketing, production and research. In addition, Vikki shapes the magazine’s content, including its articles and its overall look. This includes writers, photographers, editors, and graphic designers, as well as production and administrative staff. www.vikkihankins.net