Branding, Authenticity, Evangelism, & Content.

Is your Branding building awareness? Are you authentic. Do you feel real with your audience. Have you built evangelists to share your stories. Do you have client reviews on your website? And above all, are you consistently providing relevant content on your site that demonstrates your authority in your field.

-Branding. Is your logo memorable. Does it leaving a lasting impression or create brand awareness?

There are companies out there that leave such a lasting impression that seeing just a small portion of their logo makes the brand recognizable.  I’m certain you can all identify each of the brands above by seeing just the portions shown! That’s the power of branding.

How about your marketing and advertising. A lot of new companies think they need something that will have global appeal before they get off the ground. But you need to plan for the zip code first, then the town, then the county, then the state before you reach nationwide or global success.

Don’t be scared of altering your branding as you hit milestone changes in your success. Almost all Fortune 500 companies have done it.

If one of the richest men in the world can allow the logo of one of the most valuable companies in the world to be changed this many times… so can you. Or take a look at the most commonly thought of brand selling coffee at a premium:

Your brand should be you, but evolve with your company’s constantly “growing-changing-demanding” audience.

Branding will remain one of the most important things you must get right when starting your company. At the end of the day, there are so many great businesses that die because no-ones heard about them, and on the flip side, there are some crappy businesses out there that survive because everyone’s heard of them.

-Authenticity is a very important thing. Small businesses that demonstrate they know their consumer better, and a builder better products to compete with the titans are winning. Take for instance, Uber vs Cab companies, DollarShaveClub vs Gillette, Huffington Post vs Traditional News Papers, Netflix/Hulu vs Cable Companies, or even Netflix vs Blockbuster. If you can show that your content is really valuable and authentic to your user, you can in fact beat out the big guys.

Authenticity can be the little things. Take real pictures… STOP using stock photos that closely resemble what you want to represent. It’s not hard. Grab a camera, take a pic, and use a filter. You’re much better off than grabbing fake pictures off the internet.

Authenticity also requires engagement. If you put out great content, and potential customers or fans engage with you on that topic, you must engage back. Don’t make it feel like a robot posts for you. Talk to your audience, build a thread of engaging conversation. Customers value this. Above all, respond to negative feedback. Customers usually hate just a small piece of the experience. Fix it for them. A simple response or gesture can turn a negative review into positive evangelism. Which leads me to my next point.

-Evangelism. It’s more important than ever these days, because it transcends the spoken referral. We have Social Media, review sites, a forwarded email, and more. Evangelists are free spokespeople for your brand. They are often happy to share you because they want to. And that share can spread your thoughts to millions of people quickly. “People share, read and generally engage more with any type of content when it’s surfaced through friends & people they know and trust.”

On Facebook only 1.5% will see a Facebook Page post unless you boost it, but 33% of your friends will see it if you share it on a personal page. So if you have 10,000 fans on Facebook, you get 150 eyeballs on that post. If you have 10 fans share the post on their personal page with each fan having an average of 500 friends, you have 1,650 views. See the difference. 10 loyal fans are more important than 10,000 people that hit like on your fan page.

How can you build great Evangelists?
1. Keep all of your customers as happy as possible.
2. Go above and beyond to be helpful to your customers.
3. Respond & Act on any feedback that’s been given. It’s often after this moment that Evangelists are born.
4. Listen to your customers. They use your product/service. They are best positioned to have advice on how to better it.
Quality content is important. Not only does content allow you to provide your customers with knowledge about your products or services, it helps Google decide you Search Engine Optimization Fate. The more relevant content you provide, the more valuable you are to Google as a quality result.

Above all, you become a higher authority on your subject. Google’s new algorithms penalize you for have keywords stuffed into content that has no actual relevance to the subject of your post or to your audience. But if you provide quality content, engaging your audience to stay longer on your website, Google rewards you.

Content also helps you stay relevant and authentic. If you can’t provide meaningful stories, experiences, or expertise on your products, how good can you actually be? Ask yourself that when you decide to share posts online, or hire companies to fake it for you. Take a serious stance on providing quality content and you will reap the rewards from both your customers and from Search Engines.

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