"Branding" is all about building awareness of your company. Many different elements go into the strategy of branding, including increasing brand exposure, improving your brand reputation, establishing brand authority, and solidifying your brand identity. More and more businesses are looking to achieve these goals online. Successfully building your brand online requires different strategies and tactics than those that were used for traditional branding efforts back in the day. As a result, it's a good idea to work with an inbound brand consultant.

Here at SMB Advisors, our inbound brand consultants work closely with your business to plan and execute an effective inbound branding strategy tailored to your unique brand.

The World of Marketing and Branding is Changing as We Know It

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Before the advent of the Internet, marketing and branding were a simpler process. The strength of a brand was tied to how much exposure the brand got through traditional advertising methods, from TV and radio ads to billboards, magazine, and newspaper ads. 

While traditional marketing can still help build your brand, its arguably more effective (and cost-efficient) to do so online, especially for smaller and mid-sized businesses. Audiences are much larger online, which means that there's the potential for much greater reach. However, online branding has its own set of challenges as well as advantages to  consider. That’s why working with an inbound branding consultant can be so beneficial.

Less Open to Interruptions

Traditional marketing is more passive. People who are watching TV, listening to the radio, or reading a magazine aren't actively watching or listening to commercials or reading ads. They see or hear them, but they aren't fully engaged. They are more likely to be distracted by other things around them.

With inbound marketing, you're not forcing your branding efforts onto your audience, you're positioning yourself to be found. This means that your audience is coming to you. They're more locked into what you have to say because they made the decision to engage. Online audiences are less open to interruptions--and it's something you have to keep in mind when implementing your branding efforts. You've earned their attention, now you have to show why you deserve to keep it.

Split and Scattered Focus

Although there are fewer interruptions, there are also more options. The moment your audience loses interest, you've essentially lost them completely. They can simply move to another website or exit out of whatever page they're on. The attention span of an online user tends to be short. They are more likely to forget about your brand within a few minutes if you don't make an impact, especially once they've moved off your page. Not only do you have to figure out how to keep them on your page, you have to devise ways  to get them back to your website (or social page).

A Quest for a Deeper & More Meaningful Human Connection

With traditional marketing methods, there's no real connection being made. The audience is essentially being forced to consume whatever marketing efforts are being placed in front of them. Because they can choose the brands that they interact with online, audiences expect more. Generally speaking, they're not just looking for a product or service, they're looking for a company that they can believe in, that they can feel good about purchasing from. Because of this, they are looking for a stronger connection with the brands that they interact with. They want to be able to relate to your brand and to connect with it on a personal level.

Branding Must Transcend the Visual or Design

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There are businesses that still have the misconception that the branding of their company is just the way their logo looks. While your logo certainly plays a part in your branding (for example, there's no arguing that the famous swoosh isn't part of Nike's brand identity), it's not the only element of what makes up your brand. 

The visual aspect and design of your brand help with establishing your identity, but there are many other aspects of branding to take into account as well, including your reputation and your message. It's not enough that your audience be able to recognize your brand--you want them to feel and think something when they recognize it as well.

Branding Must Move Beyond Simply ‘Staying on Message’

Having a clear message helps when it comes to establishing a brand identity. But your "message" and the way that your logo looks aren't that difficult to establish. It's your brand's authority, reputation, and personality that require long-term work. The way that your brand engages with and interacts with your audience are also important parts of building your brand identity.

We Apply the Inbound Methodology to All Branding

The inbound methodology is a process in which you identify who your audience is, position yourself to be found by them, and then nurture them through their buyer's journey. We apply this methodology to your branding efforts using the following steps:

Attract

The biggest difference between inbound and outbound (traditional marketing and branding) is that with inbound, you're allowing the audience to come to you instead of forcing yourself on them. However, in order for them to come to you, you'll need to attract them using a variety of different tactics. The foundation for all of these tactics is content marketing.

By creating high-quality content, you not only establish yourself as a brand authority, but you also help increase your brand exposure. This is done through obtaining higher SEO rankings on Google, getting content shared on social media, and having other well-known brands link to your content from their websites.

Convert

It's not enough that you attract people to your site, you'll have to give them a reason to convert. This is done by creating content that is helpful and relevant to their needs, designing a user-friendly website that's easy to navigate and explore, using effective calls-to-action, and providing offers that are compelling in return for their conversions, such as downloadable eBooks, free trials, and free consultations.

Close

Once you've converted a lead, you'll need to nurture them. This involves building up a relationship by addressing their problem, providing more helpful content, and offering promotions to move them through the sales funnel until they're finally ready to make a purchase.

Delight

Closing a sale will certainly help your brand since it means that the buyer trusted you enough to make a purchase. Brand trust is an important part of your brand identity. However, it doesn't end there. You'll want to build brand loyalty by continuing to foster a relationship with your customer by making sure that their experience with your brand continues to be a good one. This involves continued communication, sending them more content that is relevant to them, offering special promotions, and more.

If you excel at this stage, not only will you build brand loyalty (which results in more sales), but also a brand evangelist who will promote your brand on your behalf.

The Area Most Brands Lack in is Delight

One of the common issues shared by many brands is that they stop short of the delight stage of the inbound methodology. They assume that once they've closed a sale, they're done. But it's during the delight stage that you really build the relationship you've started with your customers, which is what really helps to strengthen your brand. The following are a few examples of how the delight stage can benefit your branding efforts:

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It's during the delight stage that you really build the relationship you've started with your customers, which is what really helps to strengthen your brand.

Collect More Feedback

Obtaining feedback from your customers is vital to helping improve their experience with your brand. Even the action of requesting feedback shows that you care, which immediately helps strengthen your relationship with them.

Actually Do Something With the Feedback

The feedback you receive can be very beneficial. Collecting feedback shouldn't just be done as a way to fake interest in your customers. Your customers can pinpoint issues that may need to be addressed. Improving these issues can help you in many different ways. If customers see you do something with their feedback, they'll feel more connected to your brand. They'll understand that they have a say, which improves brand loyalty.

Allow Your Customers to Help Mold Your Entire Brand

Your brand is nothing without customers--this is important to understand. So allow your customers to help mold your brand. Give them the experience that they want to have and let them guide the direction of your brand's identity and reputation. This is generally the best way to increase brand exposure and to improve awareness of your brand.

How Can Our Consultants Assist?

Branding is unique to every business. At SMB Advisors, we go to great lengths to determine what makes your brand unique to help establish your brand identity. We will then design a branding strategy using the inbound methodology. We will implement this strategy and monitor the various tactics, tracking the performance of your brand and making adjustments as needed to achieve your goals.

What Does an Inbound Branding Consulting Commision Look Like?

At SMB Advisors, we use a retainer approach. This means that you'll be able to use our inbound branding consultants at a fixed cost. You won't have to worry about going over budget due to unexpected costs or hidden fees. You'll find that working with our inbound branding consultants is likely to be more affordable than hiring just one full-time employee.

Brand Development Case Study

A wise person once asked, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

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