If you are to be successful in just about any type of business venture, you need a brand. A brand could be one of any number of things, it might be different than what is in your mind.
If you are a soup company, Campbell’s is a great brand. If you are a discount store, maybe Target or Walmart are super brands. If you have a website, though, what would your brand be? We’ll explore that in this article.
I started out on the Web in the early 1990’s. I didn’t think about a brand, or worry about anything even similar to that. I just made a few websites and had fun. I didn’t worry about making money, I had a job, or had other ways of making money. The web was just for fun.
These days, though, the Web is both for fun and it is my job. Even on projects that I do for fun, or not for making profit, I still consider my brand. I want all of what I do to be tied in to my brand. I want that if people go to one of my websites, they know right away that “this is Bob’s site.” It is something that is important. It builds your level of trust, and also gives you more perceived expertise.
About 15 years ago when I first started getting serious about using the Web as a platform for earning a living, I did not start out in terms of building a brand. Just after 2000, my first “real” internet business went online. It was “WowPhilippines,” a website that allowed people to send gifts to their loved ones in the Philippines. When I got that site up and running, and was focused on building up the site and the brand, my brand at that time was WowPhilippines. Today, more than a decade later, I have more than one brand. I still have the WowPhilippines brand, but I also have my personal brand. A lot of people come to the site because of who owns it – ME! A lot of people when they realize that I own it, they want to do business on the site, because they know me and trust me. They have had interaction with me, and know that I am not out to rip them off. If they go to other sites, competitors, they don’t know for sure who they are dealing with.
How did I build up this personal brand?
Basically, through blogging, I have come into contact with many people. I have built that further through Social Media like Facebook and Twitter. All of these things have added to my brand. In fact, not only have they added to my brand, they have allowed me to create a new brand. Like I say, before I got active in these other types of branding, my brand was WowPhilippines. Now, probably a much bigger brand is the “Bob Martin” brand, and also the “MindanaoBob” brand. Thousands, really tens of thousands of people know me through Bob Martin or MindanaoBob brands.
So, how did I build these brands? I worked, and worked hard to do it. I blogged. I interacted with people. If somebody left a comment on my blog, I replied to them with an answer to their question, or an acknowledgement that I did read their comment, and a greeting to them. This made people who read my website grow a personal relationship with me. The vast majority of my site readers have never met me in person, but they consider me to be their friend. If they do come to Davao, they look me up and go have coffee with me. They almost always bring me a gift if they come and plan to meet me. In other words, I am not just another guy with a blog, I am their friend. So, if they need to buy a product or service that I sell, they are dealing with a friend, not just some unknown, faceless person.
After social media came on the scene, after I had already been blogging for some time, this only added to my ability to interact with my readers, and build even stronger friendships. Building stronger friendships online lead, in turn, to a better recognized brand. Having a better recognized brand lead to more authority, more expertise, better ability to build up my brand even more. It’s a circular arrangement. The more you do, things just keep growing.
Is your band important?
You better believe it is! If you want to earn a living online, having a strong and trusted brand is the best thing you can own. Even if your website not quite as good as some of your competitors, your brand and the trust that you have built up is way more important. Nothing is worth more than trust and strength in branding.
So, as you can see, building a brand is important. Very important. Probably the most important thing you can do on the net.
But, building a brand is not easy, nor is it quick. It takes a lot of work, and it takes consistence and honesty over a longer period of time. If you can devote the time, remain consistent and always be honest, and take the upper ground, you will succeed in building a strong brand. If you cannot do that, you will never have a strong brand. If you don’t have a strong brand, in the long run, you will not succeed.
What do you think, do you have a brand? If not, are you working on building one? Let me know in the comments what kinds of things you are doing to build your brand. I will be interested to hear, and maybe even pick up a few new ideas for myself!