It’s been an honor and a privilege to join news anchor Rebecca Cooper for the last three years as one of the DC region’s small business experts on ABC’s Washington Business Report. In my latest segment which aired on Sunday July 12th, I discussed the importance of a strong online branding strategy, and shared the four steps small businesses must take to keep their brands fresh, relevant, and conspicuous above the online noise.
Please enjoy the clip to the five minute segment here.
The key takeaways are below as well.
Step 1: Discover
Knowing who you are, how you are viewed/perceived in the marketplace, & how you want to be viewed/perceived in the marketplace, is the first step to creating a successful brand. This requires an accurate self-assessment, as well as feedback from external stakeholders (customers, prospects, partners, industry leaders).
Step 2: Define & Differentiate
Companies with strong brands have a clear core value system, mission, and vision that they can effortlessly convey to the outside world. These are the foundational defining elements of every company.
I am a big fan of “Blue Ocean Strategy” in which organizations create “uncontested market space.” A “blue ocean” is a competitive landscape in which your firm clearly owns the space. Something sets you apart from the others. A “red ocean” is a sea of competition. In a blue ocean, an organization is the only one that does what they do, rather than the best one that does what they do. For the strongest brand, companies should strive for differentiation – not competition. There is always something that makes your company unique – whether it’s your product, service, customer service, culture, customer engagement… there is always something that makes you YOU.
Step 3: Deliver Consistently & Often
Staying visible and relevant takes a lot of work. A brand can’t go on autopilot. In the software industry, as soon as one version is released, it’s obsolete. In the publishing industry, as soon as a book is released, it’s out of date. In the branding world, strong brands are constantly evolving.
Companies need to use technologies that allow for easy and consolidated updating, and they need to streamline messages that are easy to understand. A visitor to your website should find the same information on your LinkedIn profile. Inconsistent messaging weakens your credibility and your brand. Wherever you are in social media, ensure consistent and frequent updating.
Step 4: Maintain & Evolve
In addition to keeping information current, companies have to keep it fresh. For example, video and podcasting are the two most in-demand mediums right now. You may not have the bandwidth to launch both strategies so select one and go with it. Darwin’s theory applies here. The brands that don’t evolve die.
Helping my clients strengthen their foundational components and their brands is one of my favorite ways to help them build their businesses. Please let me know how I can help you develop, strengthen, and evolve your brand so that you can claim your uncontested market space.
Again, please enjoy the clip to the five minute segment here.
To enjoy my other Washington Business report segments where I have shared insights on virtually every topic essential to small business growth, please visit the Successful Culture Media page here.
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