Why Your Brand is Critical to the Survival of Your Business

In today’s competitive marketplace, business owners are struggling like never before to stay afloat. In fact, a recent Gallup survey found that for the first time in 35 years, there are now more American businesses closing than opening. This is a very disturbing trend that must be reversed in short order for our economy to survive and thrive in the new millennium.

Despite the struggles many businesses are having, some are beating the odds and succeeding in this economic climate. What most of these businesses have in common is they have been able to build a successful brand. Preparing Business for Sale

What is Branding? Branding goes far beyond the usual advertising and marketing of yesteryear. It is about cultivating a unique position in your marketplace and building a reputation for delivering an outstanding product or service. When some think of a company’s brand, they picture the logo and tagline. Some examples include McDonalds (I’m Loving It) with the golden arches and Subway (Eat Fresh) with their name spelled out in white and yellow. These logos and taglines give consumers a distinct perception (good or bad) about these products.

Although the logo and taglines are important, they are only the beginning of the branding process. Virtually any business can spend a few hundred dollars to have a logo created and come up with a catchy tagline, but if not backed up with an exceptional customer experience, they quickly become meaningless.

Whatever industry you are in, it is important to think creatively and come up with offerings that establish your uniqueness. Once this is accomplished, you must make sure to deliver on these offerings at such a high level of competence your customers/clients would not even think of going somewhere other than your business to buy what you are selling.

Building Brand Loyalty: Once you have created the logo and tagline and made your brand recognizable, you must take steps to make your brand likable. This involves training your employees to live out your core principles and establishing a personal connection with your target market. Today, more than ever, it is relatively easy to reach out to your target audience effectively and efficiently through the Internet and social media.

Online branding starts with building a functional user-friendly website. The website should be built efficiently without too much clutter and show the visitor why you are different (and better) than your competition. Next, you need to take steps to increase the visibility of your online properties. Two of the best ways to accomplish this are search engine optimization and content marketing; producing valuable content about your industry and distributing it to highly viewed online media channels.

The final piece to the online branding puzzle is social media. You should, at a minimum, have a Facebook fan page in which you actively post useful content for your market. This page should be linked to your other Web properties. In addition, you or a trusted employee should be actively engaged with customers on social media; not to “sell” them anything, but rather to interact with them, solicit feedback on your offerings and do fun things to drive interest such as giveaway contests.

Brands Make Your Business Valuable: Building brand loyalty is hard work, but when it is achieved, the rewards make it well worthwhile. Take Starbucks as an example. How do they manage to bring in millions of customers daily throughout the world to buy $5 cups of coffee? First of all, they make their coffee in various styles and flavors you cannot find elsewhere. Secondly, even if you could find similar offerings somewhere else, people still come to Starbucks because they are loyal to the brand.

If you are looking for ways to stand out in your market so your business can buck the national trends, branding is the surest path to success. Not only will your business be more profitable, but when it comes time to sell, it will be much easier for your business broker to find you a suitable buyer.

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