There's a lot of information out there on how to brand products and product lines. Most of it pertains to million dollar companies, not work at home people who aspire to perhaps one day earn a million dollar salary, and certainly not to bloggers. But branding isn't just for corporations - it's for anyone in business. When you have a brand that is easily recognized as an authority in your niche, you've got a symbol that goes out into the world and brings back business. And you've also got a tangible asset you can one day sell, if you build your brand correctly. I recently took a course on branding from Debbie LaChusa. And while her course was geared towards coaches and consultants, some of what she taught can actually be applied to bloggers and information product sellers as well. To begin, there's a lot of confusion concerning what branding is, so for our purposes Debbie defines branding as simply, 'Who You Are and What You Stand For.' It's how you position yourself in the marketplace, or your point of view on your particular topic. Bottom line, it's what you want to be known for. The benefits of branding yourself or your business: 1. You'll attract more customers and clients because you stand apart from your competitors. It's easier to get and hold the attention of your customers. 2. You'll attract the RIGHT clients. When you take the time to decide exactly who your ideal customer is, you can tailor your branding and your marketing to attract that exact customer. 3. Your unique point of view attracts opportunities like speaking engagements and guest blog posts, and possibly even media exposure. 4. You understand who you are and what you're about, giving you more confidence and allowing you to make better marketing decisions. 5. The right name can allow you to charge more for the exact same products and services. For example, Anthony Melchiorri of Hotel Impossible says you can charge 70% more if your brand name includes the word "hotel" instead of "motel." http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/223427 So how do develop your own brand? Before I outline the step-by-step process, please realize you can spend days on this. In fact, I recommend you do spend days thinking about it, answering the questions and finding the brand that you know you want to live with for a long, long time. Ready? Let's get started: First, define who you are or what your business is. What's your story? What do you stand for? What experience, methods or tools do you offer that no one else does? Who are you? What are your core values, and what's your personality? Spend some time on these questions because they'll help you with the rest of the process. Second, choose your ideal clients. Who are they? What are their problems? What do they want? And what do they value? It may help to create an avatar of your perfect client, right down to her profession, age, location, lifestyle, values, desires, problems and so forth. Third, what is your big promise? It's not your product or service that your clients want, it's the solution to a problem they have or a big benefit that they desire. Fourth, uncover your brand platform. This is where you, your clients and your big promise all come together. It's what you want to be KNOWN for. Fifth, brain storm for ideas to develop your brand name. Hold your own brain storming session with your colleagues, friends and maybe your children, too. Then when you run out of ideas, try using one or more of these tools: Crowd Source it on Reddit http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/ Google Translate - You might find your word in another language works perfectly http://translate.google.com/ Urban Dictionary - You never know what you'll find here. Today the first entry is "horizontal peeing." If you use that for your company name, I guarantee you'll be remembered, although I doubt anyone will do business with you. http://www.urbandictionary.com/ Visual Thesaurus - Stuck for synonyms? Use this 21st century thesaurus to get you unstuck http://www.visualthesaurus.com/ And here are some domain name generation tools: http://www.dotomator.com/ http://www.impossibility.org/ http://www.leandomainsearch.com/ http://www.namemesh.com/ http://www.nametumbler.com/ http://www.panabee.com/ Sixth, do your research. Google the name to see if you can find it, who's using it and in what capacity. Then make sure your brand name is actually available throughout the social media channels by using: http://namechk.com/ Next, if you're in the U.S. go to the U.S. Patent and Trademark website at http://uspto.gov Go to 'trademarks,' and then 'trademark search,' and then 'basic word mark search.' Type in your brand name and see if anyone has registered it. If the name is trademarked already, check to see if it's in a completely different category than your business. If it is, you can most likely register it. For example, if you want to name your business Fat Toad Recording Studio and there's already a Fat Toad Bakery, you're not going to be competing in the same market. For those living in the U.S. you might also want to go to your state's Secretary of State website and do a search to see if your business name has been incorporated in your state. Carefully choosing your brand takes some time and effort, but it can pay off in multiple ways for years, making you a recognized icon in your niche.
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