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Brand Success Checklist – I wanted to do a quick video on how your brand should be the focus, and a checklist of a few items that’ll allow you to… to make your brand a success. This post, in particular, would be aimed at clothing lines… clothing brands, fashion brands.. entrepreneurs thinking of starting clothing lines and so on and so forth, but these principles apply to everyone looking for business success.

Brand Success Tips For 2014 (1)

I wanted to talk about making the next year, the Year of Your Brand! What I mean by that is making your brand the focus point of everything you do: Investing in proper design… for your brand; Getting online and Selling online; Getting social, of course, which is very critical… very crucial; Investing in content marketing, which is blogs and white papers and so on; and most importantly, Building a community or tribe. Now, I cannot emphasise enough the importance of building a community going forward because marketing, especially online marketing, has really progressed to a state where community is what’s going to keep brands alive and thriving. So building a community or tribe very important on any social media platform.

Brand Success Tips For 2014 (2)

Making your brand the focus point.

Well, start from the ground up, you know, think of your brand core values; think of the core values of your brand. What does your brand stand for? What’s important to your brand…. besides money, of course? These core values will help you build a mission statement which is very important, without a mission statement, your brand is like a ship without navigation right in the middle of the ocean. So you need a mission statement which will help you build a brand story. Of course, your mission statement does not have to depend on your mission statement… sorry, your brand story does not have to depend on your mission statement, but having a mission statement would really, really help your brand story.

Create your ‘Brand World’

That means you need to think of your brand… brand as a world by itself, and you need to bring your customers and your target market into this world through your market campaigns. This.. this involves, of course, you know, branding everything you do… having touch points… which I referred to one of my previous videos and I’ll do another video on how to create your ‘Brand World’. And, most importantly, you got to be your ‘brand evangelist’. A brand evangelist is someone who is passionate about your brand… of course, it could be yourself, the CEO, the founder. It could also be your employees… or.. or your team… it could be your stake holders, but having a brand evangelist is very important. A brand evangelist is not to be confused with a ‘brand mascot’; for example, our brand mascot at Spellbrand is Dexter, my pug.

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Investing in proper design

When you start out a brand, you might be tempted to skimp on the design, but proper design should be at the core of your branding. Design drives brands… it drives trust, it drives conversions. Believe me design is important. Again, I always mention Apple…. as… as… everybody does, but Apple is a great example of how design has made a faltering company into one of the most valuable companies in the world.

So, proper design and … the design should be in such a way that your… your image is … your image is enhanced, because your image translates into trust and conversions. You should try and look like a Fortune 500 company, without of course, within.. within your budget. I don’t mean to say that you need the budget of a Fortune 500 company. But, believe me, with a very limited budget, you can have a very effective-looking brand image.

[stag_alert style=”blue”]Do not go cheap on your brand identity, because your brand identity is at the core of your brand. It’s what people are exposed to; it’s what… it’s the touch point where the message is conveyed to your target audience, so, do not go cheap on your brand identity. You band identity is your biggest asset.[/stag_alert]

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Getting online and Selling online

If you’re a clothing brand, you might be targeting retail stores; you might be targeting super markets; but getting online and selling online should be a big part of your sales model. I’m sure, you would have had that as a part of your sales model, but I’m just mentioning that for completeness. So, invest in a decent website. Your website is the second biggest asset of your brand.

And you… you really need to invest in a proper website design; a good hosting; content management system and so on and so forth. If you’re a clothing store, I’d strongly recommend you to have an online store. Even if you are not really ready to sell online, it’s good to have online store where you might have a… an online only line, for example, a collection that you’d be selling specifically online.

Next, Think of online marketing strategies. These could be, of course, Google organic search rankings; social media, of course, which I’ll be talking in the next… taking about in the next slide; PPC, which is pay per click; Google adwords; online banner campaigns and things like that. Think; educate yourself; get to know the kind of online strategies that are available at your disposal.

Next, Mould your business model to suit online sales. Try to push towards online sales, especially if your clothing line or a fashion brand… this’s what, you know, all the high-street design… fashion firms or fashion companies are doing. Their online presence is becoming their biggest seller. So…

And, finally, Don’t forget Mobile. Now, mobile devices are taking off, and, in fact, for any given business, website, online store, mobile accounts for a huge portion of the traffic that businesses are.. are getting. And as you go into 2014, it’s going to be even bigger.

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Get social

Well, everybody’s talking about ‘social’, and I don’t wanna harp on the importance of ‘going social’, but you have several different social media avenues… you’ve got Facebook there, Google +, Twitter, pinsterest, and so on and so forth. At least, try to have one primary channel. This depends on your business… if you’re a software development company, then Google+ might be a fantastic place.

If you’re a recruitment company, ‘linkedin’ might be a great place. If you are a clothing line or a fashion brand, then it’s a combination but your primary one would be Facebook, closely followed by Pinterest, and so on and so forth.

Invest in branding your channels. Get a decent cover profile image; get a decent avatar; work on trying to brand your channel with a unique brand voice; brand your Facebook, your Google+, your Twitter channel, so on and so forth. In terms of keeping your social media channels active, have discipline, have a daily task list of posting something new, re-sharing something that you find interesting, commenting on other people… within your network… commenting on their posts or photos or.. or images and so on and so forth.

Engage your connections. Engagement. Social media is all about engagement. It’s not about sales; it’s not about trying to push your… your service or… or… or trying to ask people to buy something from you — it’s about engaging people and building a community, which is something that I’ll talk about in the next… actually, it’s my final slide.

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Content marketing

Now, ‘content marketing’ might sound like a very fancy word, but it’s nothing but writing or providing valuable content to your target audience, or your target market. Now, most businesses… when it comes to content marketing would put the hands up and say, you know what, we are in a dull market; there’s nothing interesting to write about; there’s nothing that we can constantly be talking about. What do we do?

There are several things you could do: first of all, establish a blog on your website… now on this blog, you can talk about your industry news; you can talk about your company news; you can talk about how to’s and so on and so forth. Generating content that’s directly related to your business or your market. You could also write articles on your industry segment in general… you could write ‘white paper’, you could write reports, you could do polls. There are many things that you could actually do in terms of trying to generate content that people would assume about your market segment. And then, of course, you have to share this content with your social networks, not spanning but sharing. It’s very important how you share it and, you know, who you share it with. Finally, in terms of content marketing, connect with the rock stars of your industry; actively search out. They may be your competitors; they may be someone who is… who looks like they are unreachable, but try to connect with them; visit their websites; visit their social media channels; tell them about what you’re writing; tell them about your blog posts, and so on and so forth.

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Build a Community or a Tribe

Your community building or your tribe building activity is the most important you could take in 2014. You can build a community by actively engaging with your social network by providing valuable insights and information across your social network or on your blog or on your website. Connecting with and communicating with people that.. that you constantly come in contact with.

That’s what building a community or tribe is about. You could build a news letter community and start sending out a weekly news letter or a monthly news letter. It’s all about connecting and communicating. It’s about sharing and promoting, not only your business but others. If you find a..a…an interesting business, an interesting service, share it; promote it and ‘karma’ will always come back and help you. Well, yeah, you know, I’m again philosophical and I can’t help that bring ‘karma’ into the discussion. Finally, your community will be your base… platform. It’ll be the most important thing that will take your business forward and 2014 should be the year when you’re focusing on your brand and… and building your community.

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Mash Bonigala

Mash B. is the Founder & CEO of SpellBrand. Since 1998, Mash has helped conscious brands differentiate themselves and AWAKEN through Brand Strategy and Brand Identity Design. Schedule a Brand Strategy Video Call with Mash.