I recently put together an article that I want to share with WF. It's all about business branding.
As Internet Marketers, strong business branding is extremely important because it helps customers to clearly identify what you are about. It will differentiate you from your competitors and, by practicing what you preach, will create a desire within your customers to be associated with your business. They'll want to 'belong' to your brand.
Business branding is not just about portraying an image through clever marketing though. If you try to portray an image that isn't true, then your customers and subscribers will see through that. You really need to find out what you, as a business, are all about. Then consistently and clearly portray that brand, making sure that your staff, website and product or service do the same.
Think about the top Internet Marketers, they each portray a different style or personality in their marketing that makes them stand out.
Your customer service people, apart from your existing customers, are the most critical ambassadors of your brand. Therefore it is vital that they are extremely clear about what you represent as a business. For this reason, if you haven't already, you will need to develop a Business Philosophy. These are thoughtfully planned Values and Vision statements that clearly enforce what you stand for, and why you exist as a business. Although the obvious answer would be 'to make money', some deeper reasons, depending on your business, could be; to make people feel great, to promote an adventurous life, to make life easier, to provide quality entertainment, to provide real business solutions, etc.
Maintaining Brand Consistency
Once you have defined your brand, you must establish consistency of your key brand message throughout your website, all copy, in all customer interactions (phone and email) and within your product or service itself. Simply setting standards is not enough, you need to constantly evaluate the image that your business is portraying to the public, and ensure that it is in line with your business brand values.
Allow staff, customers and subscribers to give you feedback about any inconstancies within your business and be sure to take their advice. If your brand stands for one thing and a customer sees another, you will be in danger of damaging your reputation. The best way to lead is by example. If your brand projects a friendly image that claims to care about people, but you treat your staff poorly, then your reputation (and sales) will suffer. Always stay true to your brand.