Direct Marketing Article
Be Authentic! 10 Tips on How to Develop Your
By R. Kay Green, PhD
A brand is the power of you on paper, in person, on the airwaves, or on
screen. It is the extension of yourself that your marketing materials
attempt to project. Brands work the same way whether large or small. The
brands that succeed are the ones that are unique, but they're also the ones
that are authentic. A brand must always come from the heart. It must define
who you are. Your brand will only succeed if it represents the true picture
A brand is a direct representation of you as well as your promise about what
you will deliver to your customers or clients. You can't achieve it if
you're not in tune with what you have to offer. With that in mind, let's
examine a few key insights into how to develop a brand that is true to you
and your mission.
1. Determine your vision and your purpose. Ask yourself one question:
"What is my business really about?" The goal of successful entrepreneurs is
almost always to make something happen first and foremost. So what is it
that you want to make happen? Answer that question honestly and thoroughly,
then write it down in the fewest number of words possible.
2. Build the right network. The point to take away from this segment
is that not everyone belongs in your network. Some people can't help you.
Some people won't deliver what they promise and others are just clutter for
your contacts list. So build your network, but make sure everyone that stays
in it is right for you and for your business.
3. Conduct a SWOT Analysis. A SWOT Analysis is a method often
attributed to strategic planning that calls for the analyzer to evaluate the
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) involved in a
business venture, project, or in this case, brand. With a SWOT Analysis, you
can create a detailed and honest assessment of where your brand soars and
where it suffers. You can also find key avenues through which you might grow
that brand, and of course determine potential threats to your brand
awareness and uniqueness.
4. Determine your target market. Ask yourself who is the most
profitable segment of market that is likely to purchase your product or
service. Once you've answered this question...you may then craft your
strategy to attracting these consumers. As entrepreneurs, you must be clear
on who you are targeting and how to attract these consumers.
5. Determine who your competition is. Sometimes the best answers to
brand questions can be found out in the field. Often, if you're stuck on
what your brand should be, the best way is to study what the competition is
doing. It could be that there's something specific about their brand that
might help you to shape your brand. Maybe you perceive a shortfall on the
part of the competition's brandóone that will fit nicely into the brand
you're trying to create. That is certainly something to capitalize on. Maybe
from your survey into your target market, you have determined a flaw in
something the competition is doing. Again, that is something that you can
use to your competitive advantage.
6. Remember the Three C's for branding. The Three C's for branding
are Clarity, Consistency, and Constancy. With regard to clarity, you want
your brand image, purpose, and message to be unassailably clear. When people
see, think about, or learn about your brand, you want them to know
immediately and exactly what you stand for. Consistency is a matter of
keeping the message uniform. You can't present your brand in print
differently than you do in person or on the radio/television. Constancy is a
matter of getting the message out there to the point where it is almost
ubiquitous. It means carefully considering how to position your brand to
where it can have the most lasting impact.
7. Conduct a brand assessment. Ask twenty of your customers to name
one word that they would use to describe your brand. If your twenty
responses all come back different, you need to work on your Consistency. If
the large majority of them don't meet the message you were hoping to send,
then your Clarity needs improvement.
8. Deliver your authentic self. When building brand awareness, you
must deliver your authentic self. Be original, be yourself, and be honest.
The more of your authentic self that you bring to the table, the more
successful you will likely become.
9. Understand your value. There is only one you. That has value and
that has poweróbut only if you know what your own personal value and power
is. What do you bring to the table that no one else can? Why would someone
want to invest in you and your company? What makes you different from
everyone else? These are all questions whose answers belong in your brand
10. Define your positioning strategy. When your customers think about
your brand, what kinds of thoughts do you want them to have? When you have
the answer to that question in mind, you're in position to craft a brand
that will reach your target market effectively. Remember, however, that it's
important to conduct a brand assessment every quarter to ensure that your
message is being delivered and received properly.
As a final point, don't attempt to build your brand like anyone else. Be
authentic. If you can be open and honest with yourself about your personal
value, you won't need to fudge facts on your brand. Focus on your passions.
Determine what it is that you're inherently good at, what value you bring to
the table, and how you can make an impact in your chosen market.
About the Author:
Dr. R. Kay Green is CEO/President of RKG Marketing Solutions, a professor of
marketing and author of the new book, I've Been Called the B* Word...Now
What Do I Do? 13 Rules for the New-Age Professional Woman; see
www.ivebeencalledthebword.com, barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com.