5 Branding Must-Do's for '09

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					5 Branding Must-Do’s for 2009
We can all sense that 2009 will be a different kind of year. It is not just the economy or a new US president. It is likely the beginning of a new era of how business will be done around the globe. All of this sounds rather complicated - and it probably is. However, what most businesses need are some simple things to do; some specific, tangible steps that will help you have a successful year. Here are 5 Branding Must-Do's you can implement into your business. They are simple, virtually free, and scalable to any kind of organization:

ONE: Go Back to Your Roots.
Why did you originally start or buy a business? By returning to that original inspiration, you will rediscover the elements that inspired you to take the leap. In today's 360 degree, open culture, this is also the same inspiration that your employees and customers should have. By going back to your roots, you are ensuring your employees and customers that you are in business for something bigger than just the revenue model; that there is a reason and purpose for your existence as an organization. Inspiration is so much more powerful than coercion. And much less expensive.

TWO: Strip out the BS.
You need to present your brand as an idea; something inspires the audience to believe what you believe. If you are not quite sure how to do that, just talk in simple terms with your audience. Answer these two questions: 1) “What am I selling?” and 2) “Why should you buy from me?” People don't won't to be sold to, but they do want to know what you are selling. Just put it in common, every-day terms that create strong tangibility and visual images - and keep it free of marketing clichés such as "service", "value", etc. All of these rules apply to your employees, community, and other people that are connected with your brand.

THREE: Deputize Everyone.
Every person you come in contact with is not just a potential customer; they are also influencers. Instead of trying to sell them, inspire them with your ideas and differentiation. They may buy something from you - but even better is having them tell everyone in their sphere about you. If you are a B2B organization, this also means that everyone is a sales person; both inside and outside of your organization. Have a plan in place to pay finders fees to anyone that brings you new business.

FOUR: Be Social.
Organizations that try to use the traditional corporate-to-masses approach to marketing are going to struggle. Instead, focus on methods that allow your people to talk to The People. This often means just talking to people; asking them for feedback and insights on your business. Of course, this also where social media comes in. It is the most efficient way to have one 1:1 conversations with people. Like the other Must-Do's, this also applies to your employees, vendors, and other non-customers. A word of warning: don't use social media unless your culture can handle the transparency and dialogue.

FIVE: Own the Experience.
Brands will live or die based on the customer experience. The customer experience doesn't have to be amazing (unless you promised that); it just has to be consistent. This starts by being easy to use, respectful, friendly, and just plain nice. Another simple step for elevating your brand and increasing wordof-mouth is to treat every person as an individual. Or even better, as a peer - someone you can relate to. As consumers, we are used to being treated as just-another-customer. When we are treated with respect and connected with as people, it stands out.

It is not intended that you pick just a few of these suggestions. This is a system and we recommend that they all be implemented. You will find that they will compliment each other and create a net effect far greater than just implementing bits and pieces. As we said, none of these are all that difficult to implement, but it may require a change of thinking. If you are an owner or CEO, then it starts with you.

At Tricycle, we believe that every organization has a purpose. And that when you understand and communicate your purpose, you inspire people to embrace your ideas, purchase your products, and talk about you in the marketplace. Based on these principles, we created Tricycle - a Brand Development Firm dedicated to helping high-integrity organizations develop purpose-driven brands. Our knowledge and expertise is manifested through brand consulting, social media strategies, speaking, and publishing.

For further information or inquires please contact: Justin Foster Tricycle – Brand Development 208.841.3497 (cell)

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Description: 5 tips from Tricycle for having a successful 2009.