Implementation of your brand strategy

When you've set your brand strategy and established your brand identity, implementing your branding program becomes part of your existing marketing program — and your existing marketing budget. Branding and marketing aren't separate in terms of message or money. Your brand strategy becomes the foundation for your marketing strategy, just as it becomes the basis of your business plan (see the next section).

The old saying marketers use when dealing with small-budget clients is, "If you don't have the heaviest hammer, use the sharpest nail." How does that relate to branding?

If you don't have the biggest budget (or anything even close to a big budget), sharpen the focus of your branding program so that it works to achieve two brand functions above all others: target-market awareness and product differentiation. Make sure that every single communication that leaves your business helps those within your target market know who you are and why your offering is different and better.

The key to this strategy is focusing on your target market. If you don't have the biggest budget, don't try to talk to the biggest market. Tailor your brand and focus your communications on those who will make a difference to your success. Then as you send brand messages into your target marketplace, follow this advice:

i See that every single communication — online or offline, in person or through media — carries your brand identity without variation so that you etch a single, crystal-clear, professional brand image.

i Put your logo on absolutely everything that represents you and your brand in the marketplace.

i Add a tagline or slogan (see Chapter 8 for help) if your name doesn't adequately convey who you are, what you do, and why you're great.

i If you rely heavily on e-mail, add a signature line that presents your business name and tagline on your e-mail messages.

Building a brand image doesn't have to cost a fortune, but building a brand that doesn't cost a fortune does require target marketing and utmost consistency.

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