Friday, December 25, 2009

Branding: how are you perceived in the marketplace?

How are you currently branding yourself as a small business or
affiliate marketer?  What perceptions are you creating in the market-place?

Branding can create recognition, positive customer perceptions and  loyalty.

So, how do you create your small business brand or brand yourself
as an affiliate marketer?

Cindy Ratzlaff, Brand New Brand You, suggests that there are
four key branding elements:
  1. Voice
  2. Visual
  3. Value
  4. Variation
1. Your brand voice

This is very much about your brand message and how and where
you speak.   Do you send a consistent message or are you confounding
peoples' perceptions of who you are and what you stand for?
What kind of personality do you portray (serious, humorous,
light-hearted, generous)? Is this personality congruent with your
message and your niche?  Congruence is easy when you are
being yourself; it's difficult when you are not speaking from your
real self and personal truth.  Is your message consistent across the
various social media platforms?

2. Your brand visuals

This is often overlooked.  Branding visuals have to do with the
colors you use, your logo or avatar, the presentation of your
Squidoo lenses, websites and blogs.  It even comes down to the
typeface you use.  Are you communicating a professional image
or a sloppy one? What image is appropriate for your branding
message and your niche?  Sometimes it is appropriate to use
an image of yourself across multiple social media platforms so
that you gain recognition.  However, this recognition is
undermined if your message is not consistent and your
behavior incongruent.

3. Your brand value

Brand value is very much about what your brand offers - your
USP (unique selling proposition).  You need to know what your
value is and what you are offering.  Can you present your value
in an "elevator speech" or a brief statement that you can make
in the time it takes to travel five floors of a building?   You build
brand value through what you contribute in line with what
you claim to offer.  In other words, when people associate
with you, or connect with you, do they take away something
of value that is consistent with your stated offering?  Are you
sharing your expertise in line with what you claim to offer?

4. Your brand variation

So what sets you apart (refer Seth Godin's "Purple Cow")?
Brand variation is about differentiation, how you stand out from the
crowded marketplace.  Why is your offering better than the next one
or the one before?  What is unique to you - your life experience, your
accomplishments, your personal  insights, your humorous portrayals,
how you share, what you share, how you comment, how you listen,
how you specialize, what social media platforms you use (and why),
what you value, what you spend your time on, your expertise,
your creativity, the media you use (text, voice, video)?
What are the components that make up your brand differentiation
... and what can you do to strengthen these components?

Note: A special thanks to Cindy Ratzlaff for her stimulating
telesmeniar presented via the International Social Media Association.
which provides free weekly teleseminars on social media marketing.
Cindy has a superb blog on branding and social media marketing.

Ron Passfield is a Top 100 Squidoo Lensmaster and
Giant Squid100. He provides free resources
for Squidoo marketing on his Squidoo authority

To learn more about Squidoo Affiliate Marketing
check out:

Subscribe to Ron's free Squidoo Marketing e-course:

Ron is the author of the e-Book:
Squidoo Marketing Strategies


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