Learning is an ongoing process that every business owner partakes in. We tune, adjust, and apply new methods to our business models. But where do we get these ideas from? Some are inherently learned through our own practices, while others are taught by those that have endured them before.
Such sources are most often shared through books and seminars. Through these mediums, experts (and even novices) share what they’ve learned with others. Not all ideas are the same though, and in many cases, certain applications require your own personal touch and appreciation before you can incorporate them into your brand.
Best lessons from books on branding
One of the best things about books is that they can be shared very easily. Through recommendations, they make it into our libraries (both shelf and on digital apps), because they have something to offer their readers. Such books as Made to Stick promote the idea that it’s good to keep ideas simple if you want them to stick. John Morgan's Brand Against the Machine says, “Your brand is not a campaign, it's a commitment.” However, one thing to consider is that all too often, books also advise to never go by the book if you want to succeed. In other words, don’t get too comfortable. Instead, be ready to adapt because the business world constantly changes. Ten years ago, if you had claimed that content marketing would be the most viable strategy in the online world, others in the industry would surely have their doubts. But today, content marketing is amongst the most powerful tools because it doesn’t just help spread the word of your brand to others, it allows your audience to share the brand with each other through word of mouth.
Of course, other lessons reach further into the exact definition of your brand. Everyone within the brand affects its image, and it isn’t until you are defined that it will be possible to effectively reach your audience. And when you consider everyone in the brand, remember this includes the customer as well. It is in fact, the customers who define your brand best, not you.
Books have a lot to say, but it always comes down to your own interpretation and application. No brand will be identical to the next, and neither will their methods. Books are guidelines that help us get an idea of how and where, not the exact coordinates. Those details are up to us as business owners.
Best lessons from conferences, seminars, webinars, and workshops on branding
Books aren’t the only source of guidelines that help us define our brand. We converse through conferences and workshops, and study through webinars and seminars where experts provide valuable information. So consider a few of the most practical suggestions that you’ve heard.
Such material would include the importance of the fact that brands that don’t acknowledge what others think about them are doomed to fail, while others simply state: Hunt where the ducks are.
As of late, incorporating the latest trends and more content marketing into a business model is crucial to a brand’s online growth. The great thing about the conversation methodology of seminars and workshops is that they focus on what needs to happen right now to improve growth in the future. For instance, one reference includes the inquiry of: Where is time best spent? And that is what many of today’s webinars and conferences are about. They focus on the importance of a business owner integrating technology effectively, such as mobile, social, desktop, and even the good old analog (desktop calendar) to help improve their reliability and sharing value. But perhaps the oldest and still most widely stated is the importance of always double-checking yourself. Mistakes cost more when you overlook and them.
Lessons from the birth of a brand
These helpful guidelines we receive aren’t an exact map of where to go because they are a map of where we’ve been and what we’ve learned. So like anything that develops (such as a brand), things take time. Don’t expect extraordinary results, but be impressed when there are. When your business first begins, keep in mind that the brand will need time to simmer. And above all, you must first know what your brand represents, and only then can you prove it to the audience.
The best thing we can do is learn from every medium possible. Whether it’s a book, a seminar, or even your customer offering a little sound advice, take the knowledge into consideration and learn from the experience. After all, you can’t experience every situation for yourself, so the best thing you can do is pay attention to what others have to say and apply what they’ve learned to your own brand.
Maria Elena Duron, is managing editor of the Personal Branding Blog, CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucks.com – a word of mouth marketing firm, and a professional speaker and trainer on developing social networks that work. She provides workshops, webinars, seminars and direct services that help create conversation, connection, credibility, community and commerce around your brand. Maria Duron is co-founder and moderator of #brandchat – a weekly Twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding that is recognized by Mashable as one the 15 Essential Twitter Chats for Social Media Marketers.