Management Department

Make a Statement—Your Brand Is Your Business Greg Dennis, BA, BJ

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business built on a solid foundation of energy and innovation is a good start. It’s your public profile that’ll make you finish. It’s all about your brand—who you are, what you do, and how you will serve your customers and clients. The brand is how you sell yourself, and its visibility—your public profile—is crucial for success. Networking, paid advertising, and brochures are all tried-and-true ways of getting your name out there. They still work but come with a significant investment in time and money. In today’s digitally driven society, it makes dollars and sense to seize opportunities to enhance your brand through the social media and on popular platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and Google+. Like an IKEA shelf, some assembly is required. But it’s not nearly so burdensome and basically costs little if any money. The requirements going forward include a content strategy and a commitment of manageable time. Your Web site and social media platforms of choice will launch your brand and promote your profile to prospective clients or customers. Oh yes—if you build it, they will come. No doubt, as part of a business plan you have made a mission statement and vision statement for your company. Your brand is shaped here. It’s why you started this company; it’s what you do, and it is how your product or service will continue to make life better for those who use them. The mission statement is usually just one concisely crafted sentence that states why your company is the best and will strive to the highest levels possible. This statement will constitute the daily focus of your business, provide direction to your staff, and offer a pledge of excellence to your clients.

Greg Dennis, BA, BJ, is a communications consultant and brand journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Greg’s professional background includes high-profile communications positions in the public–private sector. He is also an award-winning television producer and digital media leader. You can find Greg on Twitter and LinkedIn (Web site: http://about. me/gregdennis). The author has written this article with strict ethical adherence. The author reports no conflicts of interest. Address correspondence to Greg Dennis, BA, BJ, GD Communications, 8WhitebirchRoad,Toronto,Ontario,Canada.M1N-3A6(e-mail:[email protected] sympatico.ca). DOI: 10.1097/PSN.0000000000000022

Plastic Surgical Nursing

To write an effective mission statement, ask yourself the following questions: • What is our business and whom do we serve? • What is our purpose and what needs will we address? • What are the principles that will shape our image and build trust with our clients? Use sharp and colorful words to catch the eye of a potential customer. Write with honesty, passion, and conviction (www.kinesisinc.com). Our mission is to produce through hard work and innovation a top-quality product/service that will deliver an utmost satisfaction to our valued customers. The vision statement takes this message one important step further. This is a big picture assertion, a tidy declaration of your goal to improve the lives of your customers or increase business for your clients. As with the mission statement, write from your heart and head—and with your customer in mind. Take these three basic steps to formulate your vision statement (www.hvacrbusiness.com): • Clearly define what you intend to build or create. • Create distinct links between the company, the clients, and the employees. • Pinpoint your company’s most important goal and give it a time frame. Our vision is to channel a commitment to excellence into a strong demand for our service/product, and to build on that trusted consumer confidence with a company expansion within 5 years. The mission statement and vision statement are your brand’s primary building blocks. Put them front-andcenter on your Web site, in marketing materials and on social media platforms.

PLATFORM DIVING—WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CAN DO FOR YOU Web Site Your company Web site is your corporate identity. The Web site will inform potential customers about your company’s mission and vision. It will also highlight products or services and supply testimonials from satisfied clients. Use of bright graphics and video can enliven a Web site, but it doesn’t have to be overly flashy or deeply layered. Give the viewers the information they need as quickly and cleanly as possible. www.psnjournalonline.com

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Management Department

You will have to pay for a domain name and host, but really not much. It could also be money well spent to hire an outside party to build and populate the site. It is crucial to have content that is well written and speaks directly to the target audience. Crisp and clear language free of jargon is essential. So is a site that is easy to navigate. User-friendly links to key information pockets will serve the clients well and speak volumes about your efficient business practices. You’ll also want to send clients to interactive digital sites. That will allow them to follow you and get to know you better. In turn, social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube will boost your profile and enhance your brand.

SOCIAL MEDIA Several popular social media platforms now serve the needs of business—and it seems that more are unveiled every day. Right off the bat, determine which will be most effective for your branding needs. Companies with business-to-business relationships will most often use LinkedIn as the primary social media platform while businessto-customer needs can be best served on Twitter and Facebook. Regardless, you will want to have some presence on various platforms. Consider the communications possibilities in social media circles this way: Twitter is the equivalent of the neighbor’s fence or the water cooler at work where you casually exchange snippets of interesting information; Facebook is like your living room or the coffee shop where the conversations are more fulsome and engaging; and LinkedIn is like the boardroom at work where conversations are more detailed and straightforward. Here are some key things to consider in the planning and delivery of social media strategy. 1. Platform. It’s important to determine which platform would best attract and inform your core

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clients, which vehicle would best increase your profile and sales. 2. Target. Is it other businesses or consumers you need to target? Knowing whom to approach and talk with will give your messages clarity and focus. 3. Content. You know your target; you’ve picked the best platform. Now don’t let good intentions get lost in a dense content jungle of excessive jargon, sloppy spelling, and foggy notions. Crisp, clear messaging rules the daily posts. 4. Engage. Ask people what they think, answer questions, and share common interests. This is why it’s called a social network. 5. Sell yourself. It’s tempting but do not push your product and service with every post on Twitter or Facebook. Speak to the shared interests of people in your target group. Let them like and trust you, and draw them into your virtual space with helpful suggestions and not a yank on the collar. For small business on limited budgets, the word-ofmouth promotions that can be launched through social media are invaluable. With a minimal investment in time and a commitment to the campaign, the benefit in the long haul would be loyalty and a trust in your brand. Don’t go it alone. You can get a great deal of advice online on best practices, do’s and don’ts. Better yet, hire a communications professional to set up a strategy to promote your business brand. That initial investment can save you time and stutter steps on the road to success. REFERENCES

http://www.kinesisinc.com/branding/how-to-write-a-powerfulmission-statement. Retrieved October 3, 2013. Mayfield, W. (2013). 3 Steps to Creating an Effective Vision. http:// www.hvacrbusiness.com/vision-statement. Retrieved October 3, 2013.

Volume 34 „ Number 1 „ January–March 2014

Copyright © 2014 American Society of Plastic Surgical Nurses. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.

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Make a statement - your brand is your business.

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