Creating an Influential Brand
Welcome to a level playing field
Our world has changed dramatically in the last few years with the rise of the internet, social media, mobile computing and other technological developments. This online evolution is transforming business, careers, marketing, socialising, learning and practically every other aspect of life.
Democratization of media and publishing means that marketing yourself or your business has changed for ever.
Suddenly anyone, anywhere in the world has access to communication tools which are powerful, instant and free – and there are no limits on what they can achieve.
- Small up-and-coming brands can trump established major players simply by engaging with customers online (for free).
- Online merchants can set up shops which offer cheap, highly targeted products for a specific niche. Their low capital expenses mean they can make a profit on margins a bricks and mortar store couldn’t dream of.
- If a customer is happy – or unhappy – with a product or service they can tell 100’s of people about it at the press of a button.
- Celebrities, sports stars and politicians, and companies of all sizes are far more visible, accessible and accountable.We have moved from a world where big media and big companies had control of the conversation to one where individuals, smaller brands and large companies are on a more or less level playing field.You’ll pay less, but you gotta deliver moreBut while these online platforms are often cheap or even free they do take time, and having the right quality content for a given audience has become more important than ever before, because people have so many more options.Traditionally, you had to pay big bucks to access broadcast media and advertising, but in return you got direct access to your customers’ attention – you could interrupt their day and convince them to buy or believe something. Now, powerful multimedia publishing platforms with global reach are accessible and affordable for anyone, but your audience can tune in or turn off whenever they want.
Social media: handle with care
Before you attempt to develop and market your personal or business brand it’s essential that you get your message right.
It’s vital to remember that social media isn’t a new advertising platform. It’s all about human interaction, and if you approach it as an exercise in blatant self- promotion you are likely to fail – catastrophically. Social media, the internet and world wide connectivity means we can reach a vast audience – which can be amazingly powerful, but also means that if you don’t hit the right note you can do a huge amount of damage to your reputation almost instantly. That means both your brand and your messages need to be well thought out, meaningful, sharable and authentic. Sometimes this means you need to change your whole approach to business.
Become the one they listen to
To be influential online you need to have something worth saying, and have the right tools and strategy to achieve the results you want.
It comes down to being likeable, authentic and authoritative in the topics you talk about. Becoming educated and finding information is no longer a challenge, but expert opinions are still essential to help us make sense of the avalanche of information available online. And we don’t just want put our trust in a random ‘expert’ – we want personalised information, tailored to our needs and reflecting our world view. When we find someone who can provide this for us – on a topic that interests us – we identify with them and begin to value their opinion. These are the people and businesses we’ll listen to, talk about, and buy from:
- People we know, like and trust
- People like us
- People who understand and provide what we need
- People who know what they’re talking about on a specific topic.
- People who are memorable and stand outIn many cases, these people will be people we know via traditional media – such as journalists, celebrities and TV identities, or household name companies.But with the right brand, strategy and effort they could be you.