Branding was a dirty word in some direct response circles when I first came online.

It’s what “big dumb companies” did to throw away their advertising dollars.  It meant dancing bears on TV and ads with just one big image in magazines without explaining what in the world the ad was about.

It was all about trying to get a “feeling” in the customer but not asking for the order.

We were told only the biggest companies with huge advertising budgets participated in branding.

For a small business, every dollar spent on advertising has to produce a return.  That much is true.  Every penny you spend in advertising must be tracked!

But branding is constantly going on, whether you’re taking advantage of it or not.

People are forming emotional connections to you with every contact.  Every experience they have with you is either advancing the image or detracting from it.

Accept it or reject it.  It doesn’t matter.  Branding is still working for or against you constantly.

For example, Dan Kennedy made a career out of slamming brand based advertising.  But is it really “branding” he is against?  Or is he against advertising agencies running cutesy ads without any respect for tracking or effective selling?

All you have to do is take a step back and analyze Dan’s business.  He is a master at branding himself.  He has an entire “No B.S.” line of books. He has a graphic cartoon which shows him sitting on a bull.  His newsletter is called the “Insider’s Circle” and has a stairway of continuity memberships built into it.

And he’s just one of many direct response entrepreneurs who have capitalized on their brand identity.

Let’s be clear.  Branding is not about having a catchy jingle.  It’s not just about having an entertaining slogan.  And it’s definitely not about wasting money on untrackable advertising.

As Glenn Livingston says, “An effective brand is simply the consistent communication of features, rational benefits, and emotional benefits your customers already desire.”

It’s about developing a unique voice your audience instantly understands and relates to.

If your mother calls you on the phone, do you have to ask “Who’s calling?”

Or do you know who it is instantly?  You know the voice.

And you will experience emotions that go along with that voice for you.  For many people it would be a sense of nurturing and caring.   My mother passed away years back, but I get those feelings of comfort and peace when I think of her still.

If your best friend calls you, you know who they are!  You have emotions that come along with their voice.

If you study a copywriter’s work for a while, you’ll even start recognizing their voice.  I spent several years studying through Gary Halbert’s material.  Afterwards, when I spotted an ad he wrote, it was easy to recognize and credit it back to him.

He had an identifiable voice in his writing.  It was consistent no matter what he was writing for whether real estate or weight loss.

What is the voice of your business?

And is it consistent across all your forms of communication including websites, emails, letters, graphics, customer service, and products?

Does this voice give customers an emotional feeling that connects with your primary benefits?

Branding is a SHORTCUT to presenting the end benefits to your customers.

The August edition of my Monthly Mentor Club is all about branding.  It will be ready for print August the 1st and also includes 2 bonus interviews this month.

Dr. Sharon Livingston digs into Crayola, Disney, Volvo, Ajax, and Starbucks brands in order to illustrate the power of branding itself.  Then Dr. Glenn Livingston and I follow-up with direct advice intended for smaller direct response businesses like ours.

Brand underscores everything you do in your business…and it’s why one person may be charging $1,000 an hour for their time while others are simply seen as a commodity not worth the $50 they charge.

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Terry Dean
Terry Dean

Terry Dean has been in full-time internet business since 1996 and has helped thousands of entrepreneurs get started online through his articles and products. He lives in Ocala, Florida with his wife and 2 dogs. Find out more about how his step-by-step courses can help you today.