Branding involves the use of creating symbols that potential fans or "targets" will associate with you or your product.
Those symbols, when combined and attributed to your brand, are then known as your brands identity.
Personal Branding is reflected in everything you do or say as a business owner or REALTOR. The pictures you take, your signatures, your name, logo, interviews, logo art and anything audible or visual should all be taken into consideration when developing your brand identity.
If your business brand is still young (under five years), be careful of everything you do or say in public.
Build your own brand Identity - don't let the public do it for you. Compare your brand, to the branding of a musical group. Recently, Arctic Monkeys sold over 300,000 using only the internet to market their music. Arctic Monkeys came out of nowhere with their CD "Whatever They Say I Am, That's What I'm Not". Arctic Monkeys got lots of free press but not the kind they would have liked. News articles and radio features about Arctic Monkeys all said the same thing -"we don't know who they are or what they stand for". Well that's no way to build a brand.
With all of the free press Arctic Monkeys have received you'd expect them to be on every American teens lip's. Not so. Most American Teens don't even know Arctic Monkeys exist. Arctic Monkeys allowed the press limited access to their brand and the press did what they do best when the details are missing - they fill in the blanks with speculation.
If you are a young business brand don't let this happen to you. Tell the public what to think and say about you through press releases and brand building activities.
Let your brand account grow before you take deposits out of it.
With branding, consistency is builds equity. Once you have built your brand identity and start to get some good attention, leave it alone and let it create value for you. Consider your branding efforts as putting money into an interest generating account like a 401K. The more you put into the same account the more interest you'll get. The more interest you get the more money you'll get. Get it?
It took me years of wondering if my website name was too hokey. As a Main Line REALTOR in Pennsylvania, I coined the phrase and website, AskTheBigGuy.com. Partly because I am a “Big Guy,” but also because I dreamed BIG, I thought BIG and I wanted my business to be BIG! Over time, people grew to like the name, the fact that it was unique, and easily memorable. After a few years, people began to remember it like they remembered a cool piece of music or a hip new coffee shop….in other words, I grew a “fan” base. Now people call me out as, “Hey, it’s the Big Guy!” I even had a person call me five years after I sold their friend a property. They didn’t remember my name, but they remembered my brand!
Of course, much like artists and musicians who change their brand identity often, you won't have much success establishing a solid brand identity and will have a much more difficult time getting people to remember who you are or why they should buy your brand.
What you are shooting for is brand presence.
To have brand presence, you'll need to pick a target market, you'll need to build the associative symbols that represent your brand, you'll need to handle your young brand with care, you'll need to limit where and how you market your brand, you'll have to tell people what your brand symbolizes, you'll have to invest in your brand and let it grow for you without changing it.
As you follow the steps above you'll see your brand grow and give you a return on your investment.