Branding For Dummies book cover

Branding For Dummies

Published: December 31, 2014

Overview

Discover how brands are created, managed, differentiated, leveraged, and licensed

Whether your business is large or small, global or local, this new edition of Branding For Dummies gives you the nuts and bolts to create, improve, and maintain a successful brand. It'll help you define your company's mission, the benefits and features of your products or services, what your customers and prospects already think of your brand, what qualities you want them to associate with your company, and so much more.

Packed with plain-English advice and step-by-step instructions, Branding For Dummies covers assembling a top-notch branding team, positioning your brand, handling advertising and promotions, avoiding blunders, and keeping your brand viable, visible, and healthy. Whether you're looking to develop a logo and tagline, manage and protect your brand, launch a brand marketing plan, fix a broken brand, make customers loyal brand champions—or anything in between—Branding For Dummies makes it fast and easy.

  • Includes tips and cautionary advice on social media and its impact on personal and business branding programs
  • Covers balancing personal and business brand development
  • References some of the major brand crises—and how to avoid making the same mistakes
  • Shows brand marketers how to create brands that match their employers' objectives while launching their own careers

If you're a business leader looking to set your brand up for the ultimate success, Branding For Dummies has you covered.

Discover how brands are created, managed, differentiated, leveraged, and licensed

Whether your business is large or small, global or local, this new edition of Branding For Dummies gives you the nuts and bolts to create, improve, and maintain a successful brand. It'll help you define your company's mission, the benefits and features of your products or services, what your customers and prospects already think of your brand, what qualities you want them to associate with your company, and so much more.

Packed with plain-English advice and step-by-step instructions, Branding For Dummies covers assembling a top-notch branding team, positioning your brand, handling advertising and promotions, avoiding blunders, and keeping your brand viable, visible, and healthy.

Whether you're looking to develop a logo and tagline, manage and protect your brand, launch a brand marketing plan, fix a broken brand, make customers loyal brand champions—or anything in between—Branding For Dummies makes it fast and easy.

  • Includes tips and cautionary advice on social media and its impact on personal and business branding programs
  • Covers balancing personal and business brand development
  • References some of the major brand crises—and how to avoid making the same mistakes
  • Shows brand marketers how to create brands that match their employers' objectives while launching their own careers

If you're a business leader looking to set your brand up for the ultimate success, Branding For Dummies has you covered.

Branding For Dummies Cheat Sheet

A brand is so much more than a pretty logo. To win loyal customers, you need to develop a story that represents the quality and character of your organization or product. By then telling that story consistently across all channels and backing it up with exceptional customer service, you gain all the benefits (and profits) that come from being a trusted name in the marketplace.

Articles From The Book

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Marketing Articles

How to Establish Your Brand Name Online

In the same way that your brand name is the key that unlocks your brand image in the mind of consumers, your domain name (the string of characters web users type into a browser to reach your site, such as www.yourbrandname.com), and your social-media handles or monikers are the keys that unlock your brand online.

Ideally, your domain name is comprised of your brand name plus .com or .org, depending on whether your brand represents a commercial business or a nonprofit organization. The Internet is populated with millions of websites accessed by domain names that tie up most of the words in the English language.

Beyond that, cyber-squatters camp on attractive unclaimed domain names, registering and tying them up until someone pays what can feel like a ransom to free them for use.

Landing on your website’s domain name

By a mile, making your brand name the centerpiece of your domain name is the quickest route to establishing your online identity, and here’s why: A good portion of web traffic takes the form of type-in traffic, a term that describes users who bypass search engines and simply type the name of the company they’re looking for, followed by .com, in the address bar of the web browser.

Domain name advice

As you plan your domain name, consider the following points:
  • Keep your domain name short and easy to remember. Some of the best-known web addresses provide good examples: www.ebay.com, www.google.com, www.yahoo.com.

  • If your brand name plus .com or .org is taken, don’t try to end-run the system by using your brand name plus .net. If web users instinctively type .com, they’ll go straight to someone else’s site.

  • Don’t get clever by adding hyphens or making unusual alterations to your brand name. For instance, a domain name like www.cookeezncream.com may be available, but the chances that most users will remember and instinctively type it correctly are slim.

  • Don’t invent an abbreviation for a long brand name unless you’re sure it will be easy to memorize and recall. For example, the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau can be reached by typing www.hvcb.org, but they don’t ask you to remember the lineup of initials. Instead, they market the domain name www.gohawaii.com, which offers an easy-to-recall address.

  • Think globally. If your business plan calls for international presence, register your name with international codes to specify your global offices.

Registering your domain name

When you find the domain name you want, register it immediately. Most registration services charge somewhere between $25 and $75 for a three-year period of domain name ownership.

When registering your name, consider this advice:

  • The first domain name you need to register is your site name, as in www.yourbrandname.com.

  • Consider also registering your site with various extensions, such as .net, .org, .info, or .biz so others can’t later grab the alternative addresses. You can redirect the traffic to your main address.

  • Consider registering versions of your domain name that people are likely to type when trying to find your brand online. For example:

    • Register your tagline as a domain name so people who forget your brand name but remember your slogan can reach your site.

    • Register your brand name with misspellings. For instance, if you type www.googel.com, you’re redirected to www.google.com.

    • Register additional domain names as you discover new user-error tendencies. After your website is up and running, regularly check error logs to see what kinds of mistakes people are making when trying to reach your site.

    Creating a multiple-domain-name strategy costs very little. You can use a process called URL redirection to point all traffic to the website that carries your primary domain name, incurring no additional site building or hosting fees.

Registering your social-media name

While you’re choosing and registering your domain name, register your name across social-media networks as well. When deciding how to present your name, follow this advice:
  • Decide on a social-media moniker that’s short and memorable.

  • If your brand name is available, use it as both your domain name and your social-media handle. Sites such as knowem.com, checkusernames.com, or namechk.com will tell you on-the-spot whether the name you want is taken on various networks. If it’s available, click to claim and protect it.

  • If your brand name isn’t available on the social-media networks you want to use, consider this advice:

    • Avoid adding odd hyphenation or characters that people are apt to forget or mistype.

    • Invent a version of your name by combining your name with a word that describes or reflects your brand promise, business arena, or niche.

    • Use one name on all networks to build brand awareness. Reserve your name on the networks you plan to use immediately.

Marketing Articles

How to Brand Your Freelance or Consulting Services

If you’re a solopreneur — a freelancer, a consultant, or a one-person business dynamo — building a personal brand, essential as it is, may not be enough to fuel your success. You might also want to turn your talents into a branded business that others know and trust.

This stands true especially if you want to compete with established businesses or if you have plans to grow your one-person business into a larger enterprise you can someday sell to a new owner. In that case, you need to build two brands at once.

Benefits of a one-person business brand

By most forecasts, one of three people now work as freelancers or on contract, and over the next decade the contingent of self-employed is on track to include nearly half of us. If you’re aiming to succeed selling service or talent, full time or as a side gig, you’re up against stiff competition that’s only going to keep getting more intense. That’s why freelancer or one-person business brands are advantageous. They prepare you to convince the person you’re trying to sell that you’re serious about what you do, that your offerings are different and decidedly better than other choices, and that you can be counted on today, tomorrow, and well into the future to serve as a supplier and to stand by your work.

Think like an entrepreneur

By turning freelancing into a branded business, you turn yourself into an entrepreneur, and freelancers who think like entrepreneurs work more hours, make more money, are more optimistic, and enjoy more success than freelancers who provide services without an entrepreneurial or business-owner mindset. Those facts come from findings in the 2012 Freelance Industry Report, based on responses from 1,500 freelancers worldwide.

Brand to win business

Participants in the Freelance Industry Report survey were asked to name their most effective method for finding and landing clients. The leading answers: Referrals (27 percent), word of mouth (26 percent), and networking (17 percent). By building a trustworthy brand for your one-person business, rather than treating your work as a series of assignments or side activities, you develop the trust and confidence that inspires referrals, positive word-of-mouth, and networking success — online and in person.

One-person brand-building steps to follow

Branding freelancing or consulting services tends to differ from branding any other kind of business in one big (and dangerous) way. People who set out to build multi-person or high-growth businesses know they need to establish their businesses as trustworthy brands from day one, whereas people launching one-person businesses too often think they can wing it for now and develop a branded business later. As a result, they get off to a slower start, make weaker first impressions, command lower prices, and compete at a lower level than competitors who appear more structured, professional, and established. The minute you decide to turn your freelancing into a business, pave the foundation for a business brand by taking the following steps:
  1. Define your business.

    Include its point of difference, target audience, and competitive position.

  2. Define your business brand and how you’ll present it online and in-person.

  3. Formally establish your business.

    Choose and register a business name. Also, establish business accounts that separate your business and personal finances. (It’s hard to develop a credible business brand when you’re paying business expenses with personal checks.)

  4. Prepare to market by developing your business brand identity and making your business findable online through a website and social media pages.

Especially if your business serves businesses rather than individuals, realize that clients prefer to work with credible professionals they can count on well into the future rather than with individuals who work on a piecemeal basis and may leave to take a job or pursue another opportunity on a moment’s notice. Branding your one-person business gives it the necessary edge.

Marketing Articles

How to Assemble a Branding Team

Unless you’re building a personal brand, to paraphrase an old coaching adage, there’s no “I” in the branding team. Everyone in your organization plays an important role because your brand is reinforced or weakened every single time people come in contact with any facet of your organization.

The following tips help you when putting together a cohesive branding team:

  • Start by gaining buy-in from owners and leaders. Without participation and leadership from those in a position to make strategic business decisions, a brand is in danger of a credibility train wreck.

  • Involve and enlist the support of top-level executives. A brand needs to be reinforced through every business decision. For that reason, it needs to have the interest and engagement of those who call the shots to keep the company true to its brand premise and promise.

  • Gain organization-wide brand awareness and commitment. Every single person who has any form of customer contact — whether before, during, or after the purchase — is in a position to strengthen or weaken brand trust and belief in your brand promise. Gain all-important commitment by educating everyone from the CEO to part-time or freelance contractors about your brand strategy, promise, identity, and presentation guidelines.

    Turn them into brand champions and ensure that they know the rules for presenting your brand by managing your logo and staying true to your brand promise.

As you set out to create or revamp your brand, include representatives from all areas of your organization. Then, at key milestones along the way, involve your entire team in updates and to share the rewards of a brand well built. Commit the time and effort it takes to put everyone on the same branding page — because what they don’t know can hurt you.