Personal Branding vs Business BrandingIn the physical world, people walk around their immediate neighborhood and get to know the stores.  Before they ever make the decision to buy, they can usually tell you what’s great about a store, what’s bad; what makes it unique, what makes it boring; what they would go their for, what they would never buy there; and so forth.

Whether or not these stores are even aware of branding, they have naturally created an identity.  And people learn this identity almost by osmosis; by simply wandering around browsing the shops.

Branding is not as clear a topic as some would have you believe.  The type we’re talking about here is the deliberate type of branding you have to invest in for your online business (and if yours is a local business, every word applies to you too – if you want to attract and retain new customers).

Branding is nothing more than creating a strong identity – so strong that when people think of the item or service that is your signature offering, they think of you.  Not your competitor.

What Does Branding Do?

No, I mean… literally.  The word comes to us courtesy of cattle wranglers of the old West.  Their herds roamed over thousands of acres, none of which was fenced initially.  They had to have some definitive way to tell which cow or bull belonged to which ranch.  So they heated irons in the fire and literally seared a distinctive mark – a logo, if you like – onto the animal’s rump.

While you certainly don’t want to be running around with hot irons, you want your brand seared into your ideal customer’s mind just as irrevocably.

But here’s where many people get it wrong:  They confuse personal branding with business branding.

Both can be used for business purposes, but it’s important to know which type you’re creating and why that particular type of branding is going to work best for you.

Let’s take a look at the differences…

Personal Branding

This is what you need when you are your business: “You” meaning the particular skills or qualities you bring to the table – things your ideal client or customer needs.

Personal branding is not just about what you have to offer people, however:  It’s also about your strong, unique voice.

Your “voice” is what makes you different; what makes you stand out from the rest of the professional in your field.  And make no mistake – the majority of them are highly proficient at what they do.  That’s the base line – the starting gate.

How do you “get” voice?  There’s no one answer, and no right answer… but it comes from knowing, clearly and passionately:

  • Who you are
  • What you believe
  • What you stand for
  • What your core values are
  • Why you are doing what you do
  • What you can bring to your customers

Personal Branding vs Business BrandingStill not clear?  Just look at the Rolling Stones and the Beatles.  Even if you were born less than two decades ago, you can probably recognize a “Stones” song or a Beatles song instantly.  Not just because of the words, either; but because of the distinctive vocal styling, the combination of instruments and beats – the character that these two bands have developed that vaulted them far above the thousands of brilliantly proficient session musicians rising and falling all around them.

Most of these session musicians are actually many, many times more accomplished as musicians than either the Stones or the Beatles.  It’s just that these two bands had a voice – one that connected with their audience and spoke to their needs, dreams, preferences and feelings on a highly empathetic level of connection.

That’s what you need to develop, if you want be the one person with your particular skills or offering your particular services that people instinctively seek out first.

And you won’t get it by being a clone of the Stones or a clone of the Beatles, to continue our music metaphor.

You don’t want to be a top-notch tribute band, either.  That’s not how the Beatles became the most revered band of all time.

You want to be original.  You want people to either love you or hate you.

That’s what you’re after.
But here’s the scariest part…

  • Personal branding is being yourself

You should be so much yourself, you’ve had to do a lot of soul-searching, growing and introspection to get there.  (If you don’t know who you are and what you’re all about, your followers won’t either.)

Try to fake it, and you’ll fall flat.  People can tell when someone has ulterior motives.

Sure, a lot of people will come up to your gate, get to see you for real and veer away:  But that’s good.  It means your time won’t be taken up with hordes of people who will never love what you do and always want maximum attention.

Save yourself for those who love everything you do.  When you’ve captured an audience like this, you know you’ve achieved personal branding.

You know you’ve achieved a following of repeat customers who trust and believe in you:  The sort who will return to buy, again and again… because it’s you.

Business Branding

Just as personal branding is all about personality and voice, business branding is all about perceived value.  For example, if you were to have two sneaker companies – let’s say one is Nike and the other is an unknown company called Clompers.  Imagine both are for sale.  Imagine both have equal numbers of assets, shares, property, customers and so forth.

Now imagine Clompers makes better sneakers – miles better.

Which company is going to sell for more?

Nike That’s right:  Nike.  Because it’s a brand name.  Everyone knows Nike.

When you create a business brand, you create it around what you produce.  If you produce physical goods, you base your brand on your goods.  The key lies in creating a signature product so powerful, people start to call similar products by your brand name, as if your brand name was the generic name for the product.  (Think “Pepsi”, instead of “cola”.)

At the highest level, similar brands will compete ferociously against each other, trying to steal each other’s customers.  (Think “Pepsi” versus “Coke”.)  Often, there’s just a hairsbreadth of difference between rival products.  So what creates brand loyalty, when this is the case?

Creating Brand Loyalty

In personal branding, creating loyalty is based on three key factors:

  • Your personality – how much your followers like and identify with you (or want to be you)
  • How consistently your are in their field of vision
  • How consistently you deliver what you promised

In business branding, customer loyalty is based on slightly more criteria, including:

  • Visual elements – Logos, graphics, colors, shapes, symbols
  • Textual elements – Name, tagline or slogan
  • Personalization – Think “Coca-Cola polar bear” or (if you’re old enough) Tony the Esso Tiger

But why are these three factors important?  What all these bells and whistles actually do?

They help customer not only to remember you, but to think of your product first when it’s time for a refill or replacement.

The stronger the identifier, the more recognizable and memorable your brand becomes.  (If you changed your logo every week, you’d create confusion and a weakening of recognition.

The one common denominator that both personal and business branding share?

Trust.

Customers have to believe that your brand is best; or at least suits them, their needs, their budget and their lifestyle better.

When trying to brand a business, it’s advisable to expend all your advertising and promotion efforts mostly on one element alone.  For example:

  • Branding your logo
  • Branding your company name
  • Branding your icon
  • Branding your tagline
  • Branding your colors

(One way to brand colors:  Always display them within the same shapes.)

All this would be in aid of branding either your company… or a signature product.

Core Characteristic of Personal and Business Branding

Successful personal and business branding share certain core characteristics.  Becoming known and instantly recognizable is just the first step.  Next comes building the brand – this is even more important than promotion, and it’s a step too often skipped.

Promote your brand without rock-solid core characteristics in place, and you’ll fail miserably.  This is what you need:

  • Consistency
  • Visibility
  • Recognizability
  • A place in public consciousness
  • A promise based on values
  • Fulfillment of that promise

Concentrate on delivering in all of these areas, combine it with tangible elements such as logo and colors and your business will be well on its way to becoming a household name.

 

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Why You Need An Email ListWhy You Need An Email List To Market Your Business.

According to Wikipedia.org an email list is “… a special usage of email that allows for widespread distribution of information to many Internet users…” Pay attention to the words, special usage, because that is important. This special usage requires a lot out of you such as:

Special Software
Knowledge of Laws
Something to Share

But, this blog post is about why you need an email list. The definition also gives you a clue into that aspect of an email list. It answers the why by telling you that an email list is for “…widespread distribution of information to many… “. This means that it’s a super simple way to get out your information to the masses. Your information being the information you want to give your target audience about your business products and services.

So the short answer to why you need an email list is obvious: In order to distribute information about your business to many people. It’s a simple way to do it with the right software such as Aweber. This software enables you to set up simple sign up forms on your website, blog or even Facebook page so that people can enter their email address, giving you permission to send them information about your business products and services.

The software immediately sends a thank you email, with confirmation process so that you know for sure you really have permission from the person. This is called “double opt-in”. This is required because it ensures that the right person really did enter the right email address and really did mean to receive the information. This process prevents you of being accused of sending out SPAM to people, and ensures that you get people on your list who really want to be on it. After all, you really only want to market to the right people.

The software also enables the person who signed up to easily unsubscribe at will with a simple click. This unsubscribe information appears automatically in every email that you send from the system. This makes the entire process super efficient. In some cases the software will also clear out bounced email addresses and you can manually clean out email addresses which have not opened email for a specific amount of time. The software makes the entire process simple, giving you no excuse not to have an email list.

With a properly set up email list you will be able to regularly market your products and services to an audience who has given you permission, who wants what you have to offer, and who already trusts and likes you. You want this because most people need to see your offers at least 7 times before they decide to purchase. By having them on your email list, you explode your opportunity to make a sale many times over.  You may have heard people say, “the money is in the list.” Let me tell you, the Money IS in the list. They’re not joking.

No matter how big social media becomes, having that direct email address route is always going to be better. It’s tried, true, and well tested. Every business now asks for your email address because they want to use one of the best marketing formats ever invented. Email. If you treat your subscribers right, and give them the regular information they asked for you’ll create a lot of success via your email list.

Create your first email list using Aweber:

 

 

All The Best,