One thing is clear from this year's presidential race: Donald Trump has built an incredibly recognizable brand. He's stamped his name on so many things -- from buildings around the world to steaks for sale at The Sharper Image -- that some American voters associate him with wealth and success.
Although Trump and I differ in almost all of our views, I do believe that branding is an essential part of business growth. Studies show that brand awareness is key in consumer decision-making and brand recognition correlates directly with profits.
That's why my philosophy is Always Be Branding. There's huge value in being your own personal billboard and encouraging your team to rep your brand, too. Here's how we make branding count at O2E Brands.
Clothes Make the Brand
Instead of wearing something non-descript, I put on custom-branded Chucks every day. I can't tell you how many times my shoes and other branded gear have sparked conversations. Generating this kind of word-of-mouth awareness can be as simple as making sure your teams have branded vests or stickers for their laptops.
After all, in your day-to-day, you'll interact with people who could potentially use your services - even if you're at the grocery store. Why not take every opportunity to get your brand noticed?
Stand Out Above the Crowd
Effective advertising is about being surprising and different. Marketing expert Seth Godin recommends being a "purple cow" in a field of black-and-white ones.
At O2E Brands, we strive to be the purple cow of home-services. Once, we gave out hundreds of blue wigs at a playoff hockey game and attracted major media attention. We use "parketing" - parking a branded truck in a residential neighbourhood as a mini billboard. Some companies get a bit riskier: Britain's Vodaphone sent two streakers into a rugby game.
You don't necessarily have to dispatch naked people into a public space, but using some eye-catching stunts can set your brand apart.
Turn Your Employees Into Evangelists
Research shows that people increasingly trust word-of-mouth recommendations over traditional advertising. We provide our staff with branded clothing, stickers, and wrapped vehicles so they can start conversations. And turning your employees into ambassadors has further benefits: they can amplify company news through social media. Some organizations have even created incentive programs to encourage referrals and tweets about the business.
Companies that turn their employees into evangelists see dramatic improvements in brand recognition and 34 percent experience increased brand loyalty. A culture of brand ambassadors also generates a strong brand identity within your own company.
So remember, Always Be Branding: start the conversation, be the purple cow, and turn your team into brand evangelists.
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook