Understand your brand, says chamber guest speaker

In a world cluttered with messages and logos of all types, one social media expert from Pigeon Lake says businesses...

Megan Madden

In a world cluttered with messages and logos of all types, one social media expert from Pigeon Lake says businesses need to understand their brand.

Megan Madden, who owns and operates South Paw PR, said brands exist and business owners should ensure it’s the brand they want as she spoke during the regular Wetaskiwin Regional Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Montgomery Glen Golf Course Dec. 2.

“You have a brand whether you know it or not, or whether you like it or not,” said Madden to the chamber members, staff and guests. She noted that brand and reputation can be closely linked.

She pointed out that branding is more than just a logo. “It’s never too late to re-brand either,” she noted, stating brands can be built anytime and tweaked as a business grows and changes. What a business values affects their brand.

Brand, she explained, is how people see and describe your business when you’re not in the room, and that includes your employees, your communication and other factors.

Hence, business owners should have a strategy for how to develop the brand they want. Madden said the word strategy isn’t necessarily a bad thing; strategy can boil down to simply who you want to reach, and how you’ll reach them. When developing a strategy, simply note what describes what you’d like your business to be. Keep in mind an audience you want to target, and look at the message that reaches that target. For example, if your audience isn’t on Facebook, you don’t need to include Facebook in your strategy. A simple way to develop a strategy is to use the five W’s: who, what, when where and why. When those are ready, the “how” follows next.

A brand includes factors like value, vision, personality, attributes, benefits and positioning.

Madden pointed out that one business cannot target everyone, and can’t make everyone happy. “Be yourself and find your niche,” she said, noting if your competition seems a little formal, maybe you should consider being a little edgy or unconventional.

“Your brand doesn’t need to be boring,” said Madden. “There is so much noise out there. You have to stand out in some way.” Don’t try to be something you’re not, though, the social media expert added.

Five traits of brand personalities include sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness.

Lastly, Madden said demographics isn’t a big factor anymore. “Get demographics out of your head,” she said.

She noted that interests are much more important than limits like age and income.