Your brand is your business. Establishing a trusted reputation amongst consumers can mean the difference between success and failure as an entrepreneur. But how can you gauge whether the competition has the upper hand?
“Entrepreneurs need to constantly make an effort to improve branding,” says Daymond John, business mogul and founder of the FUBU clothing line. “The process of re-branding never stops.” This is something John knows all too well as he is reacquainting the American market with his popular urban clothing line, re-launching as an “all-American” timeless classic. A guest speaker at the 2010 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference in Atlanta, John will be helping other business owners figure out what it takes to build and maintain their brand. Take a sneak peak:
BlackEnterprise.com: You authored the book, The Brand Within. What would you say is the number one thing entrepreneurs need to remember when developing a brand strategy?
Daymond John: The number one thing entrepreneurs must remember when developing a brand strategy is the brand’s three-word mantra. Creating a three-word brand mantra defines what the brand stands for. It’s important for the public to understand the brand’s mission statement but the employees have to understand it, too, so they can believe in what the brand stands for. Here are two examples of brands with strong three-word mantras: BMW—fine German engineering, and White Castle—what you crave.
BlackEnterprise.com: What are the key signs that your business is becoming stale in the public eye?
Daymond John: Signs that indicate a stale business are a decline in revenue, employees not excited to work for the company, and new brands/competitive brands entering the marketplace too easily and cutting into your brand’s market share.
BlackEnterprise.com: Some companies attach celebrities to their products. If you’re a small business owner and don’t have that type of pull, what strategies can you use to still build that type of recognition?
Daymond John: It’s going to be difficult to create the same level of branding as a company with a celebrity endorsement if you don’t have the capital. But here are some other strategies small business owners can use to build a strong brand:
- Work with other brands that don’t compete with yours to create a beneficial leveraging opportunity for both parties.
- Create a large following via social media. Create a contest or giveaway using the many social media channels.
- Start with a local celebrity or influencer, such as an up and coming artist or community leader.
BlackEnterprise.com: Many entrepreneurs and small business owners are on Twitter and Facebook and are blogging, but they’re not doing it effectively. What are a few tips for leveraging social networks more effectively?
Daymond John: You can start with special offers and contests. For example, use Twitter and Facebook as channels for sending coupons to customers. Another thing people should take into consideration is word-of-mouth marketing, which can now be utilized on Twitter. Have brand followers and consumers use the brand’s hashtag—for example, #fblegacy—when commenting on the brand. Before long, the word will spread.