With all the interest in content marketing, mobile dominance, and social media, the words “branding” and “awareness” have been put on the back burner. Experts say it’s time to bring them back. Here are some common branding guidelines for businesses to follow:

1) Stand out.
• Your brand is your identity; come up with a short phrase that defines your business.
• Keep refining and testing new offerings; pinpoint what makes you unique.

2) Prioritize service.
• Businesses prosper based on the quality of their customer service.
• Social media is the new customer service center ― people will retweet, reply, mock, malign what you say ― so address any issues preemptively.

3) Personalize.
• Businesses really thrive when the energy of the owner is present.
• Make sure your customers know you and connect with the face behind the business.

4) Build community.
• Build a strong community online and off to gain customers’ trust and respect.
• Participate in local events/fundraisers and host workshops/loyal customer events.

5) Remain present online.
• Content marketing and branding go hand-in-hand, so be active.
– Email. Still the biggest source of referrals/traffic; keep your list updated.
– Blog. Don’t let a week go by without a new article of some form.
– Social media. Stay active on all social media channels.

Branding and awareness includes everything you say and do. Keep your branding sharp and powerful by following these guidelines.

Source: Enterpreneur360™; U.S. Small Business Administration