The Ultimate 2016 Branding Guide

5 tips to launch your brand to the next level

image of checkboxes and a pink pencil
(Photo credit: Aniesia Williams)

The end of the year has arrived. With only a few more days left in 2015, it’s time to grab 2016 by the reins and guide yourself on a path that will lead to ultimate success. If you haven’t begun to think about what your driving force will be in 2016, allow me to give you a huge hint: your brand.

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Your brand is the quintessential element to launch you to your next level. If it is not sharp, full of personal “flavor,” and representative of your goals, your goals could very well fall flat. As a brand executive and influencer, I work with top brands to ensure that they stay steps ahead of their competitors and set examples of how well-managed and strategic brands should operate. Here are some key tricks that major brands use to conquer their goals and how you can do the same:

1) Know your brand and what it represents. Take some time to figure out what your brand is all about. It’s called shaping your identity. In this phase, you should determine your style (are you casual, quirky, technical, etc.), your focus (are you a lifestyle brand, a technology brand, a health & wellness brand, etc.), and your audience (are you targeting a certain type of enthusiast, an age demographic, an industry, etc.). Once you’re able to put your branding identity into perspective, you can more succinctly focus on your message and how it relates to your goal. Speaking of messages…

2) Pay attention to what you say and convey. Your message is the voice of your brand. If your messages aren’t clear and they don’t paint pictures of what your brand represents or targets, you will prematurely lose your audience. At all times, allow your brand to shine through your written and verbal messages. Know what you’re talking about. Speak with conviction and back it up with facts about your work (i.e., testimonies, analytics, pictures, reports). Your message works in two ways: 1) it grabs your audience’s attention, and 2) it keeps them interested. If your brand isn’t “talking the talk,” then it’s at risk for failing.

3) Set some goals and knock them out. Goals are meant to be envisioned, executed, and enjoyed. If you have dreams of getting published in magazines, speaking to large audiences, traveling to exclusive events, or brushing shoulders with bigwigs, then you need to plan on making that happen. First, remember to closely follow steps one and two of this guide, then start piecing together the intricate pieces of your goal’s puzzle with the 5 Ws + 1 H:

  • Who’s going to help you get to where you need to be?
  • What are some tools/resources that you need to have in place to make things happen?
  • When is your deadline?
  • Where do you find the people and things that are a part of your goal?
  • Why is this goal important to you?
  • How is reaching this goal going to make a difference in your brand or your life?

A goal and a plan are nothing if they aren’t written down. So, grab a 2016 planner and answer all of these questions while marking your deadlines and important reminders.

[Related: 5 Relatively Inexpensive Ways to Do PR in Small Business]
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