MLM Branding – How to Brand Yourself Online in 17 Simple Steps

Ever thought about MLM Branding, or How to Brand yourself to succeed in promoting your MLM business online? Is branding yourself even important at all when you’re involved with an MLM company which already exists as a brand? Yes it is and I’ll explain why…MLM Branding – How to Brand Yourself OnlineFirst, a definition of Branding (source: businessdirectory.com)”Entire process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product (good or service) in the consumers’ mind, through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers”Take a moment to consider this definition carefully – it contains the essence of why and how to brand yourself. But what makes branding so critical when it comes to MLM?The Importance of MLM BrandingIn MLM, you must know how to brand yourself. How to brand yourself as a leader, as someone who can offer something unique to your prospects and customers. Why should anyone join up with you, rather than another sponsor, team or company? You have to have a smoking hot answer to that question if you want to set yourself apart from the countless other sponsors, teams and companies out there.Sometimes MLM companies go under, or even scrap their pay plans. Brand yourself as a leader, trainer, networker and team builder to weather this particular storm should it ever come your way. Your brand (often referred to as ‘You Inc’) gives you an autonomous structure independent of any company you may work with, which can be plugged into a new company at a moments notice, and allows for additional affiliate or other marketing outside your primary business.Your brand should inspire confidence, trust and positivity, and be combined with effective marketing to bring people to know, like and trust you. This foundation is what leads people to opt-in to your list, click on your emails, follow up your offers and ultimately, join your team or do business with you.That’s Why to Brand Yourself. Here’s How to Brand Yourself.1. Pick a NameGenerally the best name to use to brand yourself in MLM is your own name. If you don’t want to do this, brainstorm to develop your brand name. Mike Dillard’s ‘Magnetic Sponsoring’ is an example of this, which although associated with Mike, is a very strong MLM training brand which now operates independently of him.2. Pick a NicheYou need to know clearly what your brand values and purpose are in order to brand yourself effectively. What are you selling? What are you promoting? Who do you want to reach? What are their needs, wants and desire? What will they respond too? Answering these kinds of questions will help you identify your niche. A broad niche such as ‘MLM’ will be more difficult to target than a more focused one such as ‘MLM Lead Generation’ or ‘Social Media Marketing’3. Buy a DomainHaving a domain name that incorporates either your own name or the name of your brand is very powerful. If you’re not using your own name as your brand name, it’s worth considering the keyword content of your brand and domain name. Having a domain name which features keywords you’re trying to rank for will help you rank effectively. Check out GoDaddy.com for domain name availability.4. Show Your Face…Research shows that a face – especially a smiling face helps to develop trust in a brand. Since in online MLM you are looking to brand yourself as a leader, it makes sense to use your own face as the face of your brand. Use the same image or set of images for each profile, banner or header – this consistency makes instant brand recognition even easier and gives a sense of consistency5. Be unique – what’s so special about you?Have you got some experience that makes what you have to offer stand out from all the rest? Are you creative, do you have strong leadership skills? Do you have a good insight into people and the way they work, or boat loads of pure passion and drive to succeed and help others? Have you got extensive experience in Personal Development, or specialized Technical Knowledge? Perhaps you bring freshness – direct understanding of what it’s like to be a beginner and the courage and effort it takes to navigate those first steps on the path?6. Tell your StoryIn your Bio or About pages, make sure there’s a story which people can relate to or be inspired by (or both). Use your story to brand yourself by displaying your value, experience, humanity, individuality and to stimulate emotional connection with those who read it.7. Be everywhere….Make sure your brand is featured across a wide selection of Social Sites and Forums, especially those which are relevant to your industry. Always use your brand name as your profile name. Facebook and Twitter are essential, some other good ones are Better Networker (MLM and Online Marketing) and Blokube (SEO Marketing and Blogging), LinkedIn (Business Networking), Digg (Content Sharing) but there’s many. Don’t be limited, and do participate intelligently in the forums and sites you choose to join.8. Pick a Color…Pick a color scheme for your own websites, and all other material you put out. Two or Three colors works best. Keep it consistent wherever your brand appears.9. Develop a style…The style of images, website design, logos and so on should be consistent too. Are your corners sharp or curved? Is the font you use bold and simple or gentle and flowing? Is your page layout minimal full? What is the flavor of your brand?10. Get a logo…The best logo designs are instantly recognizable to almost everyone in the world. The Nike Swoosh. The Apple Apple. The Golden Arches of McDonald’s. A simple, bold symbol or image is best. (Tip: The plugin ‘Favicons’ for WordPress blogs is a handy tool which allows you to put your logo on the tab at the top of the browser page)11. Sign Your name…As a part of ‘personalizing’ your brand, add your signature to emails, posts, articles, or other places where you name appears. If you’re using a WordPress blog, the plugin ‘MyLiveSignature’ will give you a basic one for free, or one in your handwriting for a few dollars.12. Signing Off!After articles, posts and emails you’ll want to sign off with a consistent message. Over time, people will associate your brand with that message, so make it positive, simple and powerful. As you can see at the end of all my posts, my sign off is “To Your Abundance, Freedom and Success…”13. Be Relevant…Keep your content relevant and consistent. If your brand is built around MLM Branding, don’t put out an article about Fish.14. Go Multi-Media…The more different ways you present your brand, the more people will absorb your brand identity. Written articles, Videos, and Audio recordings are the most obvious mediums to use online.15. Play Your Own Tune…When you’re putting together audio or video for your brand content, find a suitable piece of music as a ‘signature’ and use it across all your material. Bear in mind the energy level of the music – do you want people to feel excited and energized or peaceful and calm when they hear it? Another point to consider is accessibility – Your favorite tune may not send out the right message – think about what your target market will enjoy, not what you enjoy16. Dominate Google for your brand name!Make sure that when people type your brand name into Google, they get results which are controlled by you. Especially as your brand develops, others will try to piggy back off your success, and even write negative reviews. Preferably your own websites will come up first, followed by your article and video content and Social Media profiles. You don’t just want the top spot, you want at least the whole first page…17. Frequency and RepetitionRinse and Repeat. Put your brand in more places. Get your message seem by as many people as possible. Make sure they will see it again and again. Share your content. Participate in forums. Network actively on Social Sites. People generally need to see your brand several times before they start to notice it, though the process is quicker if they see it in a number of different places.Now Just Do It! (As a famous brand once said). Look at ways to capitalize on the unique elements you have to offer. Bring your special skills, talents and perspective in line with the needs, wants and desires of your clearly defined target market. Be creative. Think outside the box. Brand Yourself.Jym Tarrant – Author

The Digital IQ of Prestige Brands in China

An exclusive report from L2 and Labbrand The massive potential for retail businesses in China is no surprise to anyone-least of all prestige brands. After years of annual double-digit growth, China’s booming economy has left tens of millions of consumers seeking new ways to spend their disposable income. In 2009, China became the world’s second largest luxury market behind Japan, surpassing the United States.Even though these trends were recognizable at least 20 years ago, many prestige brands are still playing catch-up in this diverse and rapidly changing marketplace. With 384 million internet users-more than the U.S. and Japan combined-much of the competition for customers and brand loyalty will play out online. The investment prestige brands make in their own digital competence could be a deciding factor in their ability to survive and thrive in China, and is likely to become increasingly important as the market matures.What is Digital IQ and How is it Measured?In July of 2010, L2, a think tank for prestige brands, partnered with Labbrand to measure and rank the digital competence of one hundred prestige brands in China[1]. The measurement methodology, “Digital IQ,” gives each brand a combined score based on website translation, functionality and content, search engine optimization (SEO), social media performance, and digital marketing effortsDigital IQ Ranking: ChinaA Closer Look at the NumbersThese rankings reveal several interesting trends and correlations with other available metrics. For example, the eight fashion brands measured show a strong positive correlation (0.72) between Digital IQ and brand value as reported in BusinessWeek’s annual 100 Best Global Brands report[2]. For the six automotive brands measured in both studies, the correlation is also strongly positive, at 0.61. These correlations do not necessarily mean that increasing Digital IQ guarantees an enhanced brand value. Nevertheless, the strength of these correlations suggests that the relationship between brand value and Digital IQ is not arbitrary. It is possible that valuable brands are more likely to have higher brand awareness, and therefore enjoy higher returns on the same or smaller investments in digital. Alternatively, valuable brands may be more likely to have higher marketing budgets and invest more heavily in digital media.Prestige brands with the highest Digital IQ scores are breaking away from the pack. In mature markets, measurements of digital competence show prestige brands tightly bunched together-leaders do not achieve significant separation from brands with average Digital IQ scores. But in China, digital Geniuses are not just in the lead-they’re winning big. For example, the five brands in the Genius category boast a mean Digital IQ more than 25 points higher than that of the next five brands. In comparison, brands ranked six through ten show a mean difference of only 13.2 points compared to those ranked eleven through fifteen. Digital leaders start “breaking away” at an inflection point around Digital IQ 120. Brands at the bottom end of the ranking demonstrate a similar but opposite effect-they lag significantly behind brands with average Digital IQ scores.Fifty-nine percent of the luxury brands in the study of Digital IQ in China were also measured in a separate study of the Digital IQ of luxury brands in the U.S., dated September 2009. Brands measured in both indices demonstrated a correlation of 0.58 between their Chinese Digital IQ and their U.S. Digital IQ, suggesting that digital competence in one market can be leveraged in another. Beauty brands Lancme, Clarins, and Este Lauder show the greatest positive disparity between Chinese and U.S. Digital IQ. This suggests their recognition of the opportunity to build brands in China through digital media. Meanwhile, champagne brands Veuve Clicquot, Mot & Chandon, and Dom Prignon demonstrate the largest negative disparity-none of them support a Chinese language version of their brand site. Negative disparities may speak to inability or carelessness when translating digital competence from West to East.Missed Opportunities and Winning StrategiesMost prestige brands earning high Digital IQ scores in China share at least two attributes: local relevance and availability across a broad range of media.Local relevance stems partly from familiarity with Chinese sites like Baidu, Kaixin, and Youku, which can be loosely compared to Google, Facebook, and YouTube, respectively. But brands doing business in China must recognize that for Western sites and their Chinese counterparts, different strategies are required; simply translating site content is often ineffective.While homegrown search engine Baidu boasts 62 percent market share in China[3], only 39 percent of measured prestige brands come up first in its organic results when searching by English brand name. Meanwhile, 94 percent of brand sites came up first on Google.cn (prior to its departure from China) when using English names. When searching with Chinese names, approximately 30 percent of brand sites are not among the top three search results on either search engine. This indicates the difficulty of brand name translation for many multinational brands. These numbers suggest that many brands approach search visibility with a Google-centric mentality that fails to recognize the Baidu algorithm and other local nuances.One way brands can enhance SEO is by creating more opportunities for consumer interaction through a combination of social network sites (SNS), microsites, bulletin-board systems (BBS) and e-commerce and mobile websites.Although many prestige brands are eliciting thousands of user-generated comments, video uploads, blog posts, and photos on popular SNS like RenRen, Qzone, Kaixin001, and YouKu, very few are interacting directly with consumers on these sites. As consumers are increasingly expecting brand communications to be interactive, rather than one-way broadcasts, digitally savvy brands that are beginning to engage directly with users on SNS platforms stand to gain an edge. Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and BMW host contests on RenRen, while Dior has a page on Qzone. Digital Genius Lancme boasts an official group on Kaixin001 with more than 250,000 members. Johnnie Walker also hosts a group on the platform.Four of the brands in the study have invested in branded online communities. Digital Genius Lancme launched an online community called Rose Beauty in 2006 and has four million subscribers. Este Lauder and Clarins also host branded beauty communities. BMW has created a community for the estimated 150,000 BMW drivers in China through its MyBMWClub.cn site. Meanwhile, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche have created simple-interface BBS to help facilitate discussions with avid fans. Although the appropriateness of microsites as a means of online consumer interaction is debatable, efforts from these brands demonstrate a heightened commitment to the Chinese marketplace.On average, brands that embrace e-commerce boast Digital IQ scores 50 points higher than brands that do not sell online. The size of the e-commerce market in China may have quadrupled from 2006 to 2009[4], but only ten of the 100 prestige brands in the study offer online transactions. The Beauty & Skincare category leads with six of 13 brands selling online. Many prestige brands opt against e-commerce for fear it will reflect poorly on the brand’s premium status and diminish control over the sales experience. However, as fashion brand and China first-mover Ports 1961 is the only foreign brand outside of the Beauty category to sell online, making e-commerce available would be a clear point of differentiation within many prestige categories.In addition to website enhancements, SEO, and SNS, it is imperative for luxury brands to develop a mobile strategy. There are an estimated 745 million mobile phone subscribers in China[5], and more than one quarter of mobile users access the internet through their phones[6]. China has considerably lower in-home internet penetration than most developed nations, and many Chinese consumers move directly from no internet to mobile internet. Yet, only 42 percent of the measured brands have mobile-enabled sites. Hong Kong brand Shanghai Tang is one of the first luxury brands to incorporate a Chinese language iPhone application.ConclusionWhile at least rudimentary digital competence is essential for prestige brands operating in China, specific digital strategies should be customized based on a brand’s vision and personality, opportunities and positioning, rather than a “check box” approach. As with other brand communication and media, digital strategy should be informed by comprehensive and up-to-date market research, strengthened by sound analysis and concrete brand positioning, and executed with distinctive and compelling creative work. Ultimately, brands with a deeper understanding of their Chinese customers, local competition, and familiarity with their own reputation and strengths will fare better, both online and off.[1]”L2 Digital IQ Index: China”. Scott Galloway &, Doug Guthrie, June 16, 2009.[2]”100 Best Global Brands”, BusinessWeek, September 2009[3]”China Online”, eMarketer, December 2010[4]iResearch, February 2009[5]Ministry of the Information Industry, People’s Republic of China, August 2009[6]”Global Device Insight Report”, Nielsen, October 2009