Stand out from competitors: Useful tips for corporate branding, employer branding and personal branding. Solid advice for influencers and businesses alike.
A brand is a symbol, design, logo, slogan, name, words and/or sentences, that allow companies to distinguish their products from those of their competitors.
You can choose to combine the different forms of branding. With that, you can create a visual brand identity for you and your company. That will help making sure that customers will remember you as something special and original.
For this reason, a brand is often considered by marketing experts as one of the most important ways a company may promote itself.
By creating a strong brand, you can establish trust among your customers. It will provide more sales of a given product — while at the same time making sure that your customers will be more likely to try your other and future products, under the same brand.
Branding also works on different levels. There is the general branding of the business (also known as corporate branding). This is the form of branding that springs to most people's mind, when they hear or read about branding.
You may also do branding of your employers (employer branding). This helps among other things to distinguish your company as an attractive place to work — and thereby you can attract the best possible work force, which of course will affect the success of your business in a direct way.
Finally, we have the branding of a person (personal branding). A strong personal brand is essential, if you happen to be an influencer. It is a way to stand out from the rest of the numerous influencers in the market, and make yourself special and unique. Personal branding can also be useful, when you are looking for job opportunities.
But how do you create a good brand — as an influencer, but also as a company?
We will answer that in this entry, where we will touch upon the following topics regarding branding:
A branding strategy is a long-term plan for your company's public image. By distinguishing your company from competitors by way of branding, you achieve better recognition, trust, value, and in turn ways of earning money.
A strong brand also helps to establish a general idea within the company. This allows all employees to feel part of a greater project, with applicable visions og values — something customers will also feel part of.
As such, a brand is an overall story of your business, as expressed through numerous factors. A strong company brand takes its point of departure in the entire range of branding strategies — from visual design and written content, to internal HR and personal branding.
For that reason, it can be tough to establish a solid branding strategi — there are a lot of things to take into account!
But do not worry — we will give you a workable introduction into the most important areas of branding.
Befor you get too busy hiring graphic designers, consultants and other good people for the establishment of your brand, you may benefit from reading through these 5 great tips first.
This will help you make sure that you are making decision on a solid foundation.
In order to have a workable direction in your activities, you first need to decide what overall goal in life you and your business want to pursue.
That, of course, is a tall order. But coming up with a concrete answer to this will help you create a strong story and brand.
You might be tempted to answer: “Our goal in life is to make money”.
And arguably, that is the goal of any sound business., But how can you create a public image from that story, that will at the same time make you stand out from competitors?
You do need to dig a little deeper As an example, have a look at LEGO's brand framework.
LEGO is a strong brand, precisely because thay have taken the time to consider their place in this world - beyond mere profit.
They put the child into focus, and care about creativity, playing, learning and quality. All of these are values that any parent would want for their child.
So, when you are to define your company's purpose, you can draw inspiration from LEGO's story.
Having an overall idea in your business also means staying true to that idea.
This in turn means that you need to be consistent in your branding communication. It is no good if you send out mixed messages, that stray away from the overall idea.
In the end, doing so will only confuse customers. A good example of consistent branding communication is Starbucks’ Instagram feed.
(Foto: @starbucksdk Instagram)
It's about coffee — and only coffee. No cute cat videos, no political memes, and no confusing messages that stray away from their overall story and brand.
Customers do not always choose the most cost-effective products. Human beings are indeed ruled by their emotions, which prompts them to be part of something larger.
For this reason, strong brands take people's emotionel tendencies into account. It is not enough to offer a competitive product, you also need to make customers become part of a larger story.
Thereby, your products become a lifestyle. It could be a webshop, where you donate a part of the profit to the planting of trees.
An eco-friendly signal, that appeals to the customers' emotional environmental consciousness. Apart from that, you are also doing something good for the earth - which is in itself a good thing, and you and your employees self image will benefit from it.
(Foto: Vamvas’ Pinterest)
Shoe manufacturer Vamvas chose to do that. They promise to plant a tree for each pair of shoes their customers buy.
On one hand, consistency is key to a strong brand - on the other, flexibilty and the ability to adjust is at least as important.
In a constantly evolving market, you have to be ready to adapt. The same goes for your brand.
It may be, that your old strategy is no longer working. Then you need to be ready to fine tune it.
It may also be, that you want to appeal to new target groups. In that case, you also need to be ready to make adjustments.
As long as you stick to your principal values and visions, you can safely develop your company's core concepts.
Once people start to trust your brand, make sure you reward their loyalty. Do not rest on your laurels — one fine day your customers may take an interest in other alternatives.
Unless, of course, you reward their loyalty.
And you can do that in many different ways. The most simply one is of course to say 'thank you'. That could be via a personal mail from the CEO. Actually, it isn't harder than that.
You may also choose to give special discounts and offers to your customers, through a loyalty programme. Look at H&M Member and the Coop-card as examples— both are loyalty programmes that reward frequent customers with special benefits.
In this way, your customers will connect loyalty to your brand to a pleasant experience as a customer.
Employer branding is the branding of your workplace. A good employer brand therefore means an attractive place to work.
So by spending time and energy on creating a strong employer brand, you make sure that the most gifted talents will be drawn towards your specific company.
And what is a successful business, if not the sum of the indivdual employees' talent?
Obviously, it is a question of management and organisation as well, but behind every successful business stands a team of talented employees.
That is why employer branding is essential to anyone, who wishes to run a successful company. But how do you go about employer branding? You will get three applicable tips here.
Powerful employer branding begins with powerful material.
First and foremost, you should have an “About us" tab (or something to that effect) on your company's website. This is where you focus on the individual employee. In this way, applicants and other interested people can have a living insight into the people behind the organisation.
If you add a little piece of text — perhaps quotes form the employees involved — about how cool they think the workplace is, visitors will have a an actual insight into the company, from first hand.
By linking to your employees LinkedIn profiles at the same time, you signal professionalism. And that is perfectly easy to do — so naturally we have done it ourselves here at Make Influence.
(Foto: Make Influence)
Pictures of professional workshops and events are also a good way to offer a lively insight into your business. Once you have invested in pleasing and atmospheric pictures of your workplace, they are there for you to use across all of your channels.
Pictures are especially useful on social media (which happens to be where you will find many of the young, future talents).
Another suggestion, which is more demanding, but also very effective, is to have video clips of your employees. This will give them a chance to talk about all the cool stuff your company represents. Videos also have the advantage of being suitable for all channels.
It is one thing to get your business to look like an attractive place to work, throug smart material. Another issue is to distribute the material to a relevant audience.
Apart from that, you should embed employer branding in all the communication chanells your company utilise. The cool, atmospheric pictures you got taken in the workshop last week?
Put them on the company's LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook pages. That way, you utilise the full potential of the material. At the same time, you get a unique opening into the younger segment of the workforce.
Below you can watch a video recorded at one of Make Influence's many events. A video like this is often used as employer branding on social media.
You might also consider sharing minor, happy stories about your employees' merits, in your company's newsletter.
On one hand it will make a positive impression on the specific employee, who will feel much appreciated.
At the same time, you, as a business, show that you do actually appreciate the smaller good moments on an individual level — and not only the larger ones, on company level.
And do include employer branding in your job ads. So that applicants get a view into everyday life as an employee in your company, from the very start.
When doing material for employer branding, it is important that your change your traditional tone of voice.
It is no longer the product or the service that is at the center — in stead, focus should be on the workplace, and the experience of being part of this. At the same time, the tone of voice should still be in line with your company's overall visions and values.
If you happen to be a very serious and conservative company, then tiny clips fjol of fooling aronund may confuse the audience.
If, on the other hand, you are a young og innovative company, then dull employer texts without any pics may seem a tad confusing.
So it's all about putting the employee and the workplace in focus, without disrupting the general idea in the company.
Personal branding is all about how you, as an individual, promote yourself.
A personal brand is in that sense that combination of qualities, talent and experience, that constitutes you. Every individual has a personal brand — and everyone can elaborate it.
Especially as an influencer, personal branding is essential. It is a way to make you stand out from the rest of all the influencers that fill out the media.
At the same time, a strong personal brand will make you more attractive to potential partners. When a company considers working with an influencer, it will typically start by seraching out the market. They are bound to ask themselves the following two questions:
What influencer shares the same values and visions that we have?
Which group does the influencer target?
But if you did not spend energy on "selling yourself" through personal branding, it can be difficult for the company to get a sense of who you are, and what you represent.
On that account, you may miss out on important business deals with successful companies.
That is we we strongly advice you to spend some time on personal branding — as it will make it much easier for companies to start collaborations with you.
But it will also help you to understand yourself better, and why you can offer somthing that others cannot.
But how do you get started on personal branding?
And where do you need to pay special attention?
We would like to provide 3 great tips for that here.
Your tone of voice as an influencer is the common theme in your communication with your followers.
You must decide how you want to be percieved by others, though your language. Do you happen to be a very adventurous influencer, posting about exciting adventures and travels?
Then your tone of voice could be empathetic, humorous, and down to earth. That way, you will use a language that people with an interest in adventures og experiences will relate to.
Then again, are you a very serious and solemn influencer with important things on your mind?
Then you might want to avoid too much fun and games in your communication. In stead, you can focus on creating discussions, retrieving documentation for theses, and build a civilised and serious tone in your posts. People with an interest in debate, politics and society will then relate to your content better.
Look, for instance, at influencer Jackie Navarro. Her personal brand focuses among other things on “lifestyle, fashion and children”.
So it makes sense that her entry emphasises fitness, her daughter and vitamins.
As an influencer, you have a general idea — a purpose, that defines you as a person.
Is it your purpose to, say, show how one keeps fit and looks great?
Or is it your purpose to challenge status quo through dank memes, and in turn unfold debate about society, Habermas-style?
Whatever the purpose, make sure you have it clearly defined (both for your own sake, but particularly for potential partners).
Once you have defines your purpose, you should stick to it. It is no good confusing your followers with content that strays in different directions.
In the same way your tone of voice should be consistent, so should the the content you post.
A fine example of an influencer who follows a general idea, Irina “The Diva” Olsen (and her spouse, Morten “Faustix” Olsen).
They share an Instagram account, dedicated to promoting their TV-show “The Olsens”, broadcast on Dplay — as well as promoting interior design and the lifestyle of the modern nuclear family.
Here you will find nice pictures of their home — cute and off photographs of the family (including the dog, of course) — and some advertising for the the TV show. All in line with the overal concept for their account.
That way, followers get what they expect. But you can still surprise and entertain your followers in a creative way — like “The Olsens” does it with a picture of the dog halfway into the washing machine— as long as its stays within the overall framework.
Avoid making your social media feed one long collection of sponsored entries.
Your followers will of course understand that your work will only pay through sponsors and partners, cooperation with other brands.
But too much focus on promotion, sales and money will inevitably seem dishonest and irrelevant to many followers.
So, you will be wise to create a variety of content that will appeal to your followers' common interests.
Influencer Sanne Bisp Agersnap is a prime example of this.
She manages to post various content within the general framwork of “family life, motherhood and children” — and at the same time incorporate paid partnership posts, without making it appear forced.
So, our strong recommendation from you as an influencer, is that you above all things focus on a strong content.
This will allow you to build up a credible brand, with loyal followers. Then the good partnerships will follow.
Do you need help to establish a strong influencer brand?
Or are you looking for stærke brands for cooperation on your social media channels?
At Make Influence we specialise in influencer marketing, and we have all the tools you need to make your perosnal brand a success. We will put you into contact with great brands and businesses, and make sure your work will be paid in real money — not goodiebags.
Contact us for further information.