The Business of Smart Branding

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It’s true what they say: there really is no such thing as bad press. Case in point? Donald Trump.

No matter if you love or loathe him, you know his name. And because it’s everywhere, a large percentage of the American populace associate him with leadership, wealth, and success. ‘The Donald’ is such a powerful brand, that entire social media campaigns have been launched to stop him.

Time and again, research shows that brand awareness is a key decision-making factor for consumers. It’s no surprise then to learn that the higher your brand recognition, the higher your profits. It’s why I believe in the Always Be Branded marketing philosophy, and make use of it daily in my own business.

Here are ways you can live your brand, too.

Dress to Impress

Choose a piece of clothing and make it yours. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg sticks to his simple grey t-shirts. Steve Jobs wore jeans and a turtleneck. I never leave the house without my branded Converse sneakers.

Don’t be afraid to wear your company’s logo with pride. I keep my outfits relatively low-key, and rep my brand in a pair of comfortable Chucks. Always take the advantage of opportunities to get noticed, especially if you interacting with people who might end up using your services. I’ve learned that my branded shoes are fantastic conversation openers.

Don’t Leave Home Without It

Marketing guru Seth Godin advises entrepreneurs to always stand out in a crowd. People remember individuals, so be ready to embrace non-conformity. This can mean pulling publicity stunts, like when Uber generated goodwill in new markets by delivering puppies to office workers. We once gave out blue wigs at a playoff hockey game and attracted major media attention.

You don’t need to have a budget for this kind of marketing to make a big impact. Simply bring your brand to a public and unexpected space: like an airport or a local tourist attraction. People will be intrigued and will want to know your story

Think Guidelines, Not Rules

At O2E Brands, we are big proponents of guerrilla marketing. One of the tactics we use regularly is knows as “parketing”, where we park a branded vehicle in a residential neighborhood so it can serve as a mini billboard. And we’re not the only company with a non-traditional approach to attention-grabbing stunts: Britain’s Vodaphone sent two streakers into a rugby game with only a strategically placed logo and a lot of double-sided tape.

These approaches aren’t going to connect with everyone, but outside of streakers, they aren’t breaking any rules. And if your first idea doesn’t work, just remove the tape, put on your clothes, and move on. At the very least, people will remember you and your brand!

Get Your Employees Talking

Your greatest asset as a business owner is your staff. They hold the key to multiplying your company’s branding power. A recent study found that companies with strong internal brand promotion, 65 percent saw improvement in branding recognition and 34 percent experienced increased brand loyalty.

We provide staff with ultra-visible resources, from wrapped vehicles to branded clothing. Beyond the logo, our employee ambassadors are crucial in terms of amplifying company news and messaging on social media and through their personal networks.

In the end, these initiatives help create strong brand identity within your company. With more and more research showing that people trust word-of-mouth recommendations over traditional advertising, it’s important to encourage your team to have fun wearing their branded swag – much the same way they would for their favourite sports team. It will bring you and your team together while boosting your bottom line.

Just remember, it’s as simple as ABB: Always Be Branded.

Brian Scudamore is the founder and CEO of O2E (Ordinary to Exceptional) Brands, which includes companies like 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, WOW 1 DAY PAINTING,You Move Me and Shack Shine. Brian is passionate about helping others grow small to medium businesses and corporate culture.

Tweet Brian at @brianscudamore