Many business owners confuse branding with advertising.
Branding is your intangible reputation or the perception consumers have about you or your business. This may seem confusing, and it can be.
“A positive brand image is vital to business success, and a brand is much more than a familiar name presented through traditional advertising strategies (Investopedia).”
While “a brand encompasses the consumer’s complete experience with both the product and the company, making it a powerful tool for gaining market leverage.”
Just think of branding from a consumer point of view. What comes to mind when I say Apple, Wal-Mart, McDonald’s or Nike?
Each of these brands elicit an emotion or judgement, maybe good or maybe bad. Knowing this, you should want to increase the positive impression consumers have about your business. When your brand is mentioned you want your audience to think professionalism, quality and value and not sloppy, inferior or stressful.
The following 3 online tools can help you create a solid brand image and improve your professional image.
Did you know that adding pictures to a social media post can boost retweets by 35% (Social Media Examiner)? Including a photo on a Facebook post can increase user engagement by 87%! That means creating high-quality images are essential for any social media strategy.
When it comes to creating fun, valuable, or meaningful social media content, Canva is an excellent choice. It’s extremely easy to use, and they offer a wide variety of customizable templates.
You can upload your own pictures or buy a stock photo for $1. Creating unique content using Canva allows you to share professional images, without having to hire a graphic designer.
In the era of web conferencing, it’s important to have reliable and professional technology. Some small businesses with remote employees and distributed teams rely completely on virtual meetings, and ClickMeeting gives you the ability to create a customized meeting room.
Their meeting room rebranding features let users can create their a one-of-a-kind meeting room with personalized brand colors, a logo, and graphics. You’re not throwing clients or potential clients into a boring meeting room, but showcasing your brand in a unique way.
If you rely on web conferences for meetings and sales presentations, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. This simple tool can help brand your business as unique, professional, and upscale. More importantly you can meet and collaborate regardless of location, operating system, or time zone.
When it comes to maintaining a professional brand image, Google Alerts may sound like an unlikely option. But people like to talk online, and it’s great to know when they say something nice (or negative) about you and your business.
You can set up Google Alerts to notify you when your name or company name is mentioned. According to author Michael Hyatt, getting notified when there is a problem has four benefits. You can:
resolve the issue in a timely manner
gain immediate customer feedback
show you’re listening and willing to respond
attach a response to negative online chatter
If you don’t respond to negative issues, you can seem incompetent, disconnected and arrogant. A negative online reputation can obviously hurt your brand image.
Building a Professional Image
Building a brand with professionalism takes time and effort, not luck. You have to consciously build a solid image that’s based on your core principles.
Most businesses want to be seen as professional, high-quality and reliable. These three simple tools will help you craft this type of image and will grow your business into a brand you can be proud of.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Liesha Petrovich is the creator of Micro Business Essentials, a blog dedicated to helping women balance their business and their crazy life. In her free time, she’s working on a Doctorate in Entrepreneurship. Grab a copy of 10 Easy Ways to Increase Profits Without Losing Your Mind! and follow her on Twitter.
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