Establishing your brand is a literally a step-by-step process, but it all boils down to making your product memorable...favorably memorable. When someone walks into a store to buy, or runs their fingers through the real or virtual yellow pages, you want them to go looking for you specifically! So, you need to get inside their head and help them to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that spending their hard-earned money on what you have to sell is the best possible feel-good decision they can make. And that means good value and good quality for a product that for some reason is heads and shoulders above the crowd unique. If you do not know how to do this read my article on knowing your audience and researching your competitor.
OK. So your goal is to establish a place in the mind or the heart, or both of your potential customer.
You absolutely should have a good idea who your target audience is supposed to be. You know what their income level is, their age, and possibly geographical details. This information is relevant in establishing an actual audience. Now keep in mind that your audience may not necessarily be the end user of the product, your audience may be the one holding the purse strings, so if your product is toys for example, you goal is to make children want your product and build a brand that makes their parents feel good about buying your product. You are advertising for, or marketing to the children; but you are building a brand in which their parents can put their trust!
Your ultimate goal is to prove to the customer why they want or need your product or service. The customer needs to find a reason why they need your product, and why they want your product instead of your competitors. The branding techniques that you use will help the customer to decide for themselves that your product resolves a problem they may have, fulfills a need they have, or somehow makes their life better if they make the decision to purchase...and then it narrows the field of competitors and tells them why yours is the best one to buy.
When you have successfully gotten inside the customer's head they will believe they absolutely must have the product. You do this by highlighting the features that your product offers and then showing them how each features will benefit your customer. (If you are not sure how to do see my article on Basic Branding Techniques For Do It Yourself Online Success.)
Branding also means that you have to build trust and credibility with the public. Many products do a fantastic job of proving to the customer why a product or service is beneficial and needed. However, they fail to establish credibility or trust with the consumers. Your reputation is not at stake, but it is questioned at this point so you need to provide proof that you are going to deliver the promises you are making to the customer. Older and established businesses have history on their side, for the entrepreneur, a rock-solid money back guarantee with the owner's smiling presence standing behind it goes a long way towards establishing trust.
So what about endorsements. Stop and think, if celebrity or endorsements did not work do you think the big guys would be wasting their money on them. For good or ill, the people listen to public figures and celebrities? Why? Because in our media-driven society they are often as familiar to us as our friends and family. So if you have the ability to get an endorsement on a product from a well known person, then you absolutely need to take advantage of it. However, you cannot just sit back and wait for an endorsement to come to you. You need to contact people to see if they are interested in endorsing your product. You also need to be prepared to give free samples, and in almost every case, pay a substantial fee.
Now, of course, a celebrity endorsement is not always possible for financial reasons; but if all else fails start small and think local. Before there was an Internet almost every business that ever got off the ground was sold door to door in the inventor's local community. Everything from Monopoly Boards to Fuller Brushes to designer handbags to fine art got their start small and grew bigger through local sales, local enthusiasm and local endorsements. People trust the opinions of their friends and neighbors. Provide something unique, or simply a good product at a good price and your fame will grow.
If you are determined that only a celebrity endorsement will do, there are options. You can attend events where the person you want to endorse your product is going to be. This includes getting back stage passes to concerts or shows where you can have access to the person. You also can call their managers and talk to them about endorsing a product. Again, be prepared with free samples. If you want your favorite rock star or actress to be the first to carry one of your, one of a kind designer purses to a celebrity event, do not even begin to expect that she will want to pay you for it as well. Dream on, not gonna happen!
Another thing to keep in mind about endorsements is that you need to find a public figure that matches your audience. Use common sense. If your target audience for your hand-painted distressed jeans is made up teeny-boppers then you do not want to get your favorite white-haired and wrinkled Shakespearean actor-of whom they have probably never heard-to endorse your product, even if you can get them free because they are your mother's second cousin. For a celebrity endorsement to work, it has to be someone your target audience knows and trust, someone that would really, honestly and truly actually use your product in the real world, and someone your target audience wants to emulate.
If you want to learn more about using basic do-it-yourself techniques for successfully branding your business and making people want to buy your products please see the other articles in this series.
Virtually Branding Your Business Techniques For Do It Yourself Online Success
Step By Step Techniques For Successfully Branding Your Business Understanding Your Audience
Basic Branding Techniques For Do It Yourself Online Success
Is Your Company Logo Important Enough To Make Or Break Your Brand
Step By Step Techniques To Build Brand Recognition And Grow Your Business
Smiles and Good Fortune,
Teresa Thomas Bohannon
It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one's dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent. - W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915