Which came first, the product or the brand?

Part two:  An introductio1x1.trans Which came first, the product or the brand? n to selling yourself aka personal branding.

How does one apply branding when it comes to handmade marketing? Branding is one of the principles of salesmanship, meaning, you must sell yourself before attempting to sell your product. Branding is also a logo that differentiates one company from another.  As promised in the last post, we will go in depth today and discuss both.

To answer the title of of this post, the brand comes before the product. Because we take the terms, product or brand, for granted and use them interchangeably, there is often confusion with new sellers trying to learn the ropes of marketing.  When I write Crest on my shopping list, I mean Crest tooth paste, but the Crest brand carries many products. How many can you think of?

The brand is you and your story.  If you can sell yourself, then you can sell most anything—handmade products or glow in the dark toilet paper.  Branding is what drives your creative process. Ultimately, your story introduces your product.  And if its a good plot, then your brand sells itself. Does this just sound like semantics to you? Perhaps a con job?  It’s neither.

Your story could be the spark that created your product. It could be the product that almost wasn’t.  Maybe you made your product based on someone else’s need.  What ever your story is, it’s what will capture your niche’s attention.

Once you have your prospects attention, you have to keep it by continuing your story with new material, which is what builds your reputation.  Your character is also part of your brand.  You will learn that with every piece of information that you feed your base, your personal brand will grow.

The process of marketing the handmade brand is no different than any other business, but the internet is definitely responsible for the switch from traditional marketing methods.  Getting your brand noticed is now easier than it used to be.

It’s not that traditional marketing methods no longer work, Prestadesigner charts a comparison showing why online marketing  is far superior in reaching your target market on a world wide scale.

Internet Marketing vs Traditional Marketing

Internet marketing has continued to deliver bigger, better results over traditional marketing, year after year. Unfortunately for many businesses, they fail to adapt and instead waste thousands of dollars per year on outdated, ineffective advertising tactics that don’t reach the right audiences. And their results are almost impossible to measure.

Most common problems with traditional marketing:

  • Results rarely cover the cost of investment
  • Ads aren’t targeted enough
  • Too many bad leads are generated
  • Ad budget is blown on just one print ad, TV or radio spot
  • Very difficult to track results or the effectiveness of ads
  • No matter how much you spend, your competitors are still winning!

With problems like these, can you wonder why traditional marketing is failing?

Internet marketing solves all of these problems and consistently delivers more bang for your ad dollar…Prestadesigner

http://prestadesigner.com/internet-marketing/

While our focus is personal branding, branding does include your mark or logo.  Keep in mind that brand logos trigger a range of emotion in people.   Brand logo signifies many things, but the most important,  quality, promise, image, lifestyle (or a lack there of).  Can you describe your brands quality, promise, image, lifestyle it aligns with?  Remember this answer, in a later lesson you will see how your own brand interpretation is not a factor in how your brand is seen.

Logo Controversy Shows Why Engagement Matters

We all know that brands are more than just logos. Yet without careful planning, the launch of a new logo can result in a reaction that places undue focus on the visual elements in isolation. After all, logos are powerful symbols. They can trigger emotions, surface memories and subconsciously influence our opinions of brands…Interbrand

http://www.interbrand.com/en/knowledge/blog/post/2012-12-14/UC-Logo-Controversy-Shows-Why-Engagement-Matters.aspx

When Brand Logos go Wrong

In the world of do everything yourself small business, mistakes are bound to happen.  Inexperienced amateur designers may fail to scrutinize or get a second opinions on design ideas for their new business logos.  Business Insider points out 15 logo failures you’ve got to see.  This one’s tame compared to the rest.

15 Worst Corporate Logo Fails

After examining a recent spate of bad logo redesigns, we felt that it was time to reflect upon 15 of the most inappropriate and idiotic logo fails ever. ..Business Insider

1x1.trans Which came first, the product or the brand?

http://www.businessinsider.com/15-worst-corporate-logo-fails-2012-1?op=1

What constitutes Personal Branding?

Your brand can lead the way to selling your product—or not.  Your brand is you, your promise, your character, your honesty, your forthcoming-ness, your lifestyle, your usefulness, your information—not your product.  How you personally communicate with your prospects dictate how your niche base will define your brand.

These days, everyone has an opinion and now anyone can know about a good or bad experience in less than a minute flat.  One customers poor comment or complaint on your public feedback at your ecommerce platform, a remark on Epinions, Angies list, Facebook, Twitter, a bad review on a rip off/scam site won’t necessarily hurt you, but it’s not helping you.

Depending on the niche or size of your company, one poor comment a day could eventually shut your doors.  If you do the math, one persons bad experience will notify everyone on their friend list or network, and so one and so on.  It would be much more efficient to have good things said about your brand.  In anticipation of your coming out party on the social platforms, let’s review what constitutes good personal branding.

Working on our relationships: Brand-to-Person

Think about the best personal relationships you have.  They’re built on the basics like trust, transparency, managing expectations, taking responsibility for actions and resolving challenges. Relationships grow deeper when those involved share common goals and interests and work to make even the routine truly enjoyable. And the most successful relationships are the ones that always feel fresh and exciting — turning the ordinary extraordinary and offering all involved an opportunity to be their best. These are the relationships that make you anticipate what’s next and leave you wanting more.

Have a look at the brands with the biggest gains and losses in brand value over the past year, and you’ll see that the dynamics of good and bad relationships are the same whether it is person-to-person or brand-to-person. In general, the largest 2010 decliners are having trouble with the relationship basics, whereas the largest risers are excelling at fueling good, strong relationships with customers…Interbrand

http://www.interbrand.com/en/knowledge/blog/post/2010-09-16/Working-on-our-relationships-Brand-to-Person.aspx

If you are brand new to handmade marketing, have a product but haven’t done anything with it yet, it’s okay to wait on creating your business card, logos, icons, even your webpage can wait a little while longer.  You want to focus on your relationship with your prospects.   On the other hand, maybe you are a seller that has established customers or maybe a small following on the social networks, but you feel lost when it comes to growing your base.

Do you have a personal relationship with your followers, readers or customers?  Are you posting “relevant to your prospect” informational content?  Or, are you trying to sell  your product to them?  The most important thing to remember when creating or promoting your brand: you are not actively pitching your product at this point.  

If your only web presence is on Etsy, it’s probably not enough.  With every new day, hundreds of thousands of people search the internet for quality information on products they wish to learn about, which eventually lead to a sale.  Your potential customers may be searching right now for the most relevant website, Facebook page or tweet to help them decide whether or not to buy an item in your niche.  If you aren’t in any of those places how are they going to find you?

This is rough to hear, but if you are a business that is not providing relevant information to your base, then you might as well throw in the towel.  What is relevant?  In our push button world, consumers want instantaneous quality information and if they aren’t instantly gratified with interesting content, then your page gets the back button push, no  matter how great your product is.

First things first, let Green Blog show you how to size up your niche and brand.

Guide to creating a brand: First Steps

1. Work out your business, product or service’s core competencies. These are

what you achieve for your customer, not necessarily what you do. For example, a

good wine shop’s core competence is selling wine that its customers enjoy — not

just selling wine.

2. Assess who your existing and potential customers are and find out what they

like and what they don’t. For example, if they are driven by competitive pricing,

there is little point in you presenting yourself as a premium-price supplier of the

same products offered by your competitors.

3. Find out how your customers and your employees feel about your business.

Reliable? Caring? Cheap? Expensive? Luxurious? No-frills? Later in the process,

these emotional responses (brand values) will form the basis of your brand message.

4. Define how favourably your business is viewed by customers and potential

customers — this is your perceived quality. Do they trust your business, product

or service?  Do they know exactly what it does for them? What do they think of

when your brand is mentioned to them? Low perceived quality will restrict or damage

your business. High perceived quality gives you a platform to grow…Please visit Greeblog for the entire list of 5 steps.

http://www.greenblog.co.uk/files/guide-to-creating-a-brand.pdf

Do you have a lot of homework to do? In order to carry out some of these steps you will need to go social immediately.  This thought may drive away a few shy business owners who don’t like to draw attention to themselves.  Buckle up, it’s not that bad.  Communication with prospects on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, forums, YouTube, anyplace there are loads of people online in your niche is mandatory.

If you already have profiles on these platforms, then you know what you have to do.  If you are in sync with Facebook,  here’s something you might want to try, Facebook Ladders or Like Sharing.  If you have not yet made your home at Facebook or any of the other social platforms, you might want to wait till our next post.  We will cover the best ways to accomplish a meaningful profile.  First impressions count when you are building your brand, so you want to do it right.  In the mean time, get familiar with the social platforms listed on this page.

We apologize if you’ve read down this far and you haven’t learned anything new.  Need some inspiration?  Maybe you are a bit ahead of the curve, and that’s wonderful.  Are you actively developing “need to know niche content” for your website?   Are you personally connecting with your readers on your site?  Do you gain new followers on social networks often?  Do you participate in your  suppliers forums or social media pages?  If not, stay tuned, for fine details, how to’s and the best resources in building your personal brand otherwise known as how to sell yourself on handmade-marketing.

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