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        Another AHBBO Article
        Branding Your Business

        © 2015 Elena Fawkner

        If you think only big corporate names need to think about things
        like brand names, think again.  Your brand says a lot about you
        and your business, and that's as true for a one person home-
        based operation as it is for a multinational conglomerate.  In this
        article we look at how creating a strong brand for your business
        can help you set yourself apart from the pack and lay the right
        foundation for the future growth of your business.


        WHAT IS A BRAND?

        Your brand is more than just the logo on your letterhead and
        business cards or your business name.  It is your corporate
        identity.  An effective brand tells the world who you are, what
        you do and how you do it, while at the same time establishing
        your relevance to and credibility with your prospective customers. 

        Your brand is also something more ethereal.  It is how your
        business is perceived by its customers.  If your brand has a high
        perceived value, you enjoy many advantages over your
        competition, especially when it comes to pricing.  Why do you
        think people are prepared to pay stupid money for items of clothing
        with the initials "CK" on them?  Perceived value.  Perceived value
        as a result of very effective brand promotion resulting in very high
        brand awareness.

        Now, I'm not saying we all need to rush out and start creating
        brands that are going to be recognized the world over.  Most of us
        simply don't have the time or other resources necessary.  What I
        am suggesting, however, is that it is possible for your brand to
        dominate your niche.


        WHY DO I NEED TO CREATE MY OWN BRAND?

        => Differentiation

        We touched on this in the previous section when we looked at
        what a brand is and how it can be used to increase the perceived
        value of your products and services.  The main reason for creating
        your own brand is to differentiate yourself from your competition. 
        New websites are a dime a dozen.  So are home-based
        businesses.  You need to constantly be looking for ways to set
        yourself apart from your competition.  Your brand can do that for
        you.

        => More Effective, Efficient Marketing

        Another good reason for creating your own brand is to make your
        sales force (even if that's a sales force of one - you) more effective
        and efficient.

        Imagine if you didn't have to spend the first 50% of your time with
        a new prospect explaining who you are, what you do and how you
        do it.  What if your brand had already communicated that for you? 
        You can spend 100% of your time focusing on sales rather than
        educating your prospects about your business

        Another benefit of branding is that the efforts you expend increasing
        your brand awareness through promoting and marketing your brand
        to your target market automatically transfers to your products and
        services.  So, even when you're advertising your brand, you're
        indirectly also marketing your products and services.


        HOW DO I CREATE MY OWN BRAND?

        OK, so you're convinced you need to create your own brand. 
        Where on earth do you start?

        We saw earlier that your brand needs to say who you are, what
        you do and how you do it.  It needs to do all these things at the
        same time as establishing your relevance to and building credibilty
        with your prospective customers.  Needless to say, it is absolutely
        essential, if you are to build your own brand, that *you yourself*
        have a firm grasp of  who you are, what you do and how you do it.
        If not, you're going to have the devil's own time getting that
        message across to anyone else, let alone establishing your
        relevance and credibility.

        => Write A Mission Statement

        So, let's start by creating a mission statement.  What is the
        mission of your business?  Obviously you're in business to make
        a profit.  But making a profit is a byproduct of a successful
        business.  Focus instead on how you choose to achieve that profit. 
        What are your core values?

        A good place to begin thinking about your mission is to put
        yourself in the shoes of your customers.  Put yourself in their
        target market.  Let's say your business is web hosting.  If you're
        in the market for a web host, what things are important to you? 
        Different people will be looking for different benefits but you can
        bet that they want their website to be accessible to site visitors so
        reliability will be high on their list.  Price is also likely to be high
        on the list as is 24/7 technical support.  What about add-on features
        such as unlimited email aliases, cgi support and what-not? 
        These things will be highly important to some and less important
        to others.  So focus on the benefits that are likely to be highly
        relevant to the majority of your target market.  Let's settle for our
        purposes on reliability, price and technical support.

        Your mission statement might read something like this: "I strive
        to earn a fair return on my investment of time and money by
        providing affordable webhosting with guaranteed 99% uptime and
        24/7 telephone technical support".  That's a pretty general
        statement and if you decide to focus on a particular niche of the
        webhosting market, such as small business, you may want to
        more narrowly focus on that group in your mission statement.

        Now that you've written your mission statement, you can begin
        thinking about creating a brand that reinforces and supports your
        mission.  So, getting back to the fundamental questions of who
        you are, what you do and how you do it, you can now begin to
        think of your business in these terms.  You're a webhosting
        provider, you host websites of small businesses and you do that
        by offering cost-effective webhosting solutions, guaranteed 99%
        uptime and 24/7 telephone technical support.

        When you create your brand, you need to keep the who, what
        and how firmly in mind but also use the brand to establish your
        relevance to your target market and build credibility with that
        market.

        Let's turn now to the nuts and bolts of creating your brand.

        => Describe What You Are Branding

        List out your business's key features and characteristics, your
        competitive advantages and anything else that sets you apart
        from your competition.

        Using our webhosting example, you'll focus primarily on the
        objectives from your mission statement namely, reliable, cost-
        effective webhosting solutions supported by 24/7 technical
        support.

        => Identify and Describe Your Target Market

        Decide whether you want to target lthe entire webhosting
        community or only a segment of it such as small business
        websites.   Describe your market.

        => List Names that Suggest the Key Elements from Your
        Mission Statement

        The key elements from your mission statement were reliability,
        cost-effectiveness and customer service.  List names that are
        suggestive of these elements.  Let's use Reliable Webhosting
        for our example.  (I don't claim to be a creative genius.)

        Don't limit yourself to real words, though.  A coined name with no
        obvious meaning is a perfectly legitimate name provided it conveys
        something about your business.  You will find coined names easier
        to trademark and secure domain names for too - a definite plus!

        => List Tag Lines that Reinforce Your Mission Statement

        We'll use: "Outstanding reliability and technical support at a
        price your small business can afford".  I know, I know.  You can
        do much better, I'm sure.


        HOW SHOULD I USE MY BRAND?

        => Create a Logo for Your Brand

        Your logo is NOT your brand but your logo should allow your
        brand to be instantly recognized by those familiar with it.  To
        this extent, your logo helps create and reinforce brand
        awareness. 

        The logo you create should be able to be used consistently in a
        variety of different media.  It should be suitable for corporate
        letterhead and business cards, as well as for your website and
        corporate signage (if any).  You do NOT want a confusing
        mishmash of logos and banners and heaven knows what else. 
        Everything you produce needs to use the same, consistent
        style of logo so that, over time, your logo becomes synonymous
        with your brand.  Instant recognition is what you're going for here,
        so don't dilute it by using several different logos for different
        purposes.

        =>  Consistent Usage of Company Name, Logo and Tag Line

        Going back to our webhosting example, putting the brand name
        and tagline together, the physical manifestation of your brand
        will be:

                RELIABLE WEBHOSTING
                Outstanding reliability and technical support at a price
                your small business can afford.

        To establish brand awareness, this branding needs to be used
        consistently and frequently in everything your produce, whether
        that be letters to clients, business cards, brochures, quotations,
        invoices, advertising, promotion, on your website, on the front
        door of your principal place of business and on your products.
        And don't forget to be consistent in your use of color schemes.
        These can be powerful brand reinforcers.

        => Marketing and Promotion of Your Brand

        Once you've created your brand, you need to market and
        promote it, in addition to your products and services.  This is
        how you establish your credibility and relevance to your target
        market.  You can hopefully see why your brand needs to be
        suggestive of your mission statement.  If, at the same time as
        you're selling your products and services you also push your
        brand, your brand becomes synonymous with your products
        and services.  And vice versa.

        A properly descriptive brand and high brand awareness amongst
        your target market will allow you to more easily introduce a wider
        range of products and services when they're developed without
        having to start by again selling who you are, what you do and
        how you do it first.  Your brand has already presold YOU.  Your
        job then is to sell your products and services.

        _________________________

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        ** Reprinting of this article is welcome! **
        This article may be freely reproduced provided that: (1) you
        include the following resource box; and (2) you only mail to a
        100% opt-in list.

        Here's the resource box to use if reprinting this article:

        Elena Fawkner is editor of Home-Based Business Online. Best business ideas and opportunities for your home-based or online business.

        Copyright 1998-2017, AHBBO.com. All rights are reserved. Thursday, 21-Jan-2021 03:32:08 CST

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