Whether you’re promoting a business or simply establishing your professional identity, branding is an essential step toward carving out your own unique niche in a crowded marketplace. But figuring out how to brand yourself is a different challenge altogether. With the Internet poised to completely overtake print worldwide, conventional wisdom holds that online promotions are the way to go. Yet focusing all of your energies in one place is sure to lead to a dead end, so here’s how to brand yourself both online and off to maximize your results.
Step 1: Create a Logo
Businesses, blogs – even individuals – can stand to benefit from a compelling and memorable logo. The best logos are almost surprisingly simplistic; for example, think of the lowercase “f” that immediately brings Facebook to mind. The reason why logos are so important in the branding process is that people tend to remember images more vividly than they remember words and names, so if you can create a visual representation of yourself or your business that really stands out, you’ve already accomplished half of the branding battle.
Step 2: Focus on Making Genuine Connections
All too often, people think of networking as something they “have to” do for their business, and the entire process is suddenly imbued with a sense of dreadful phoniness. The real key to successful networking is to make an effort to forge real connections with people, both online and off. Every blog you contact for linkbacks should be one that you actually read and enjoy; every person you hand a business card to should be someone with whom you have found common ground. It may take a little extra work to network this way, but it will be far more effective in the long run.
Step 3: Synergize!
Every single piece of correspondence you send out, from emails to mass mailings of postcards, should have a uniform appearance that makes it identifiably yours. If there’s a particular font you favor, use it on your blog and your business card. Place your logo everywhere. Always refer to your business by the same official name. You simply can’t have one kind of identity online and a different one in the real world – it will work against your branding efforts and leave people confused, or worse, disinterested.
Step 4: Choose Unconventional Items to Promote Yourself
When it comes to integrating print marketing into your branding strategy, don’t limit yourself to the old standards like postcards or flyers. Instead, you can make a real impact by choosing less expected items, like door hangers, magnets or custom stickers. When was the last time you found a door hanger on your front door that was promoting a blog or website rather than a restaurant or carpet cleaning business? Wouldn’t you remember it if you had? Case closed.
Remember, branding doesn’t have to be a headache. With a bit of ingenuity, it can offer many excellent opportunities to publicize yourself and your business.
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Eli Kahn is an internet marketer that specializes in increasing the web presence and brand recognition of online printing companies, such as PrintRunner.com. With experience branding large to mid-level companies, Eli lends his insight on personal branding and its importance.