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By: Kareim M. Abbouda, Consultant, Investors Group Financial Services
The world loves to socialize. I recall the years when brands were nothing more than a description of their slogan and logo design, today that is all different.
We hear about brand personalities and brand promises like they were living breathing entities. Now, whether you think brand loyalty and brand engagement are more about large multinational FMCG efforts or the by-product of sleek advertising campaigns, brands are here to stay. Because they are here to stay, they now all compete for our senses and ultimately our dollars.
Caring, nurturing and driving momentum to brands is no longer the domain of large businesses; they are a cornerstone of success of every shop, firm or company, established or start-up.
But what is a brand and how do we build its ‘personality’? Consider looking at your brand (no, not just the logo, color or design) as a person, an extension of you. What do you promise yourself? what do you stand for? Who do you associate with and what are the things that make you great, unique and likeable? Add a little panache and a little more spice to that. Imagine you are coming out of your comfort box and doing the extra but don’t promise yourself what you cannot deliver. Take a step back. Do you like what you see? If no, go back and refine and once ready, you now have your newborn brand.
Now write it on paper and let all your actions in the future reflect that.
At this instant, things become a little more complex for your brand. As a start-up, remember your brand is a baby and is just not ready to stand out by itself. You need to push it, in other works market it. Marketing is an overwhelming effort for start-ups so we must begin by working it step by step. Fortunately, the internet and the networked world has provided us with the best marketing platform ever created. It is both awe-inspiring and dangerous. The speed at which brands are elevated because of the online world is the same as how fast it can bring it down. Step carefully.
Consider a map of the online space. Ask how your brand is going to perform and where. There are innumerable strategies and tactics but you need concern yourself with only a few spokes in this endless wheel. You need to consider a central thinking, ensuring that you are “Everywhere, Relevant”. If you think about it, in the same way I came to this conclusion in thinking about my practice, you will realize that this self-replicating strategy lends itself to dictating where and how your brand will offer itself.
In the terminology of the connected world, social media has given way to more profound social business and being a start-up todays means very different than it was say ten years ago. Yes you have to have a following on social media but you have to derive business and revenue from that. Social business is how we do so. In a multitude of expert advice from companies whose existence is given to working with start-ups I have found my own “Everywhere, Relevant” map. Use this to list the where and how your brand will function.
Prior to his appointment as Consultant with Investors Group Financial Services Inc., Canada’s oldest and largest investment management firm, Kareim served as country director for one of the world’s largest communications firms and led a number of high profile investor relations campaigns regionally and internationally.
Now, Kareim will continue to work one-on-one with his clients to help them achieve their financial goals. He also specializes in all facets of investment management and financial planning including: Portfolio Management, Tax planning/minimization, Risk management, Estate planning, and Insurance planning. You can email Kareim at Kareim.Abbouda@investorsgroup.com.
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