This statement might be a bit confusing to anyone who thinks that “branding” begins and ends with logos, colors and images used on signage and in advertising. Sure – those visual design elements are crucial elements in building your brand- but in and of themselves – these elements NOT your brand.
Rather – the careful creation and execution of those elements will help consumers identify your business – and help guide them on their journey to “branding” your business.
See -it is not your marketing team or advertising agency that builds your “brand” – but rather it’s your employees – the ones who have direct consumer contact – who are the “brand builders” of your business.
United Airlines learned this important lesson in 2009 when a social media shit storm arose from some exceptionally bad customer service – by not just one employee but many. Social media is really great at telling customer service stories -and the root of “branding” is customer service.
You may THINK that your “brand” is a shiny logo, carefully chosen font and a tag line assembled in a committee meeting – but in reality – your “brand” is truly in the hands of your customers.
Just as the cattle who are branded are not wielding the hot metal rod which marks their flesh – a business must accept that consumers are the ultimate “branders”.
Consumers have ALWAYS had the power of “branding” a company – but it’s only been since the web got “social” did businesses begin to sit up and take notice of that power.
So when you view “branding” and building “brand equity” through that lens – through the brutal lens of “we’re only as good as our last customer service transaction” – then and only then does blogging’s role become clear.
So often, business owners tend to look to blogging as a way to generate sales leads instead of a way to build trust with prospective customers. Capturing sales leads is best done with a squeeze page – building trust is best done via a conversation. Of course, the IDEAL situation is if you could sit down and talk with each and every prospective customer. You could then explain in person why the customer should choose to do business with you and your company. Even if you are able to do that today – count on the fact that you won’t be able to do that 5 years from now. Your business blog posts can provide that information in a timeless manner.
Even better – those trust building business blog posts are doing double duty for your business. Not only are they educating consumers to help build the trust needed to close the sale- they are also working hard to build your brand – a.k.a. your online authority if you’re a consultant or other independent service provider.
Whether you’re blogging for your business or not – your customers/clients/patients are sharing their tales of their interactions with you. Good – bad – or indifferent – they are the ones “branding” your small business.
In the end – your business blog can act to support the good – upgrade the indifferent – and mitigate the bad. So why aren’t your blogging for your business yet?