Try saying ‘I’m loving it’ without the trademark McDonald’s slogan tone. Even if you do, your brain probably OCDs because it just does not sound right.

That’s Branding.

I can probably list 100 reasons why any business- small or established- need to invest in brand building. But let’s cut the hoopla and get to the point, you need a brand to make more sales.

In short, having a brand equals more money.

If the focus of your business is mostly online, then it makes sense to focus predominantly on online branding. Even if you’re a one man army who does the work themselves say, like a freelancer, you still need to brand yourself online.

Find your voice

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Most major brands have a voice. If Apple was a person, it’d be this cool hip guy who knows his mettle and can influence big time. He’s rich but not spoilt, he knows what he wants and maybe, just maybe has his nose up in the air.

Samsung on the other is the ever helpful friend- often friend zoned- he’s the guy you turn to if there’s a problem with your computer. Hard working and does well professionally, but secretly wishes to be the Apple guy.

Each brand has a voice and even if Apple and Samsung started selling rocks and pebbles, they’d still be Apple and Samsung.

Think of your business as a person. Now think of your targeted audience, who does you brand cater to.

Young college-goers?

Professionals looking for a cheaper alternative?

C-suite guys who play golf on Sundays and vacation in Bali?

Unless you know who you are speaking to, you would not how to speak to them.

Blogging is a great start to online branding

Providing quality content to your audience puts you top of the industry and makes them vest their trust in your knowledge.

Whether you choose to do it via videos, podcasts, or unleash the power of words, blogging gets the word out. Start with guest blogging on other relevant sites.

Neil Patel of quicksprout.com swears by guest blogging. He is of the opinion that guest posting is the direct way to being noticed by the right audience.

To get maximum outreach produce content that is trending or highly shared in your chosen niche. Topsy is an excellent site to begin with.

Here’s a screenshot of what the search term branding returned:

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Offer something rivetingly valuable to the readers. I don’t care if you are making a self-help video or giving out Breaking Bad’s recipe whatever the information is should be able to draw in the readers and make them keep coming back.

Storytelling through Social Media

Once you find your voice you’d be able to rope in the right emotions too. And the best way to do that is on social media.

Use the right quotes and pictures to tell your story. Remember Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches video?

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When starting with social media marketing and advertising, you need to make it easier for people to find you on social media. Include icons on your web page for traffic to be directed to your social media pages through your website.

The secret to getting thousands of active Facebook followers is to go beyond the sales aspect and aim to build relationships.

Bombarding the followers’ feed with product updates and coupons doesn’t work. Engage with them via comments. If a customer voices some grievance, tend to it immediately and then post success stories.

Twitter and LinkedIn too need constant management. There should someone manning these social media platforms in real-time.

A tweet can do a lot for a brand- both positively and negatively. Remember a customer’s hilarious response to Tesco?

Monitor brand mentions on Twitter and industry conversations. Plus you need to curate quality content for your Twitter page too besides linking back to your blogs.

I find LinkedIn more industry focused than customer-centric. But again LinkedIn can change the game as it becomes your information hub.

Participate in discussions and join relevant groups to get visibility.

Also, when branding through social media there must be uniformity across all the platforms. Your Twitter handle and Facebook name should be the same plus use the same background image. This does not confuse the customers looking to find you on social media and they also come to associate you with that name or image.

So you need to secure URLs and social media handles at the earliest.

Be unique

You might have decided to enter a market heavily saturated, you can still dominate it by finding your sweet spot- your USP.

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USP or your unique selling proposition is the fundamental building block of any brand.

Domino’s 30 minutes or free policy is their USP.

If you are going to mimic the big boys, well at least in terms of selling the same thing and the way they sell it, you’d end up as counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags- selling one for $200 instead of $2000.

Draw inspiration but don’t copy them. Your voice is different and so is your USP. Use it to your advantage.

Get publicity

Press coverage can cost a small fortune but there are a number of online news portals that can help to get the word out. Although this is more of an advertising scheme than branding, you need to advertise your brand.

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And if you say something that’s to the contrary, it gets you noticed.

Before the launch of his book The 4-Hour Week, Tim Ferris pitched an idea to a news channel on a current topic but spoke from a different angle. It got him noticed and we all know how that book fared.

Think Branding beyond Logo

Apparently the check mark worked wonders for Nike and the Golden M is synonymous with McDonalds, it doesn’t work that way in the beginning.

There’s no sidelining the importance of a logo- it’s your brands profile picture but there are hundreds of profiles with beautiful pictures on Instagram, would people follow them or Kim Kardashian?

Have any favourite branding tip you’d like to share?