When it comes right down to your image, are you firing one out of the park or you just bunting to get through the game? What is it that people think about when they hear your name, or your company name?

If you can’t really answer, you’re uncertain or you’re just stuck with a ho-hum image then it’s time to think strongly about strategically repositioning your brand.

You need an overhaul.

This is where it can help to take cues from major corporations in terms of what they’ve done to manage their brands in a global marketplace. It’s no wonder they have people toiling endlessly in dark rooms to create some of the world’s most recognizable brands – image is indeed everything and they know that many people make relationship decisions based solely on a personal or corporate brand.

Thankfully it doesn’t have to cost you millions of dollars to improve your image through brand development strategies. To get started follow these four basic guidelines for better brand management.

Make Your Personal or Corporate Brand Something Different
Whether you’re an individual or a business, branding is all about sending a consistent message that strongly backs up your image. Since every point of contact a person has with you or your business is a branding experience, you want your image or message to resonate strongly with them. Refining your image is extremely important, especially

if you’re in a very competitive market. – you have to separate yourself from the pack.
If you want to start a part you have to stop thinking in terms of product benefits and what you offer and start digging into your strengths and weaknesses. By performing a competitive analysis, you can see the strengths and weaknesses of your own brand as well as those of competitors.

This will highlight how you’re different and what you can leverage to stand apart. Showcase what makes you different and start tooting your own horn. This new image will stand strongly in the minds of those who come in contact with your brand.

Promise and Deliver Value
If you want to improve your personal or corporate brand then you need to have an accurate understanding of who your target audience is. By researching who you’re talking to or targeting you will begin to understand their thoughts, feelings, interests, dislikes and hot buttons in great detail. Most importantly, you’ll know what resonates with them in terms of the message they need to hear. This can help you craft your personal or corporate branding strategy to offer values that relate specifically to the interests of your audience.

If you try to be all things to all people your brand will quickly become diluted. Focus your efforts and refine your brand image so that it resonates specifically with the people you want to do business with.

Establish Yourself as a Market Leader
You can only do so much by operating at the status quo. Over time your brand will just become stale. As you use the guidelines above, such as promising and delivering value, you’ll see that you’ll begin to live up to your branding efforts. To supplement that, you need to ensure that you’re delivering something more. A thought leader and market leader supplies their audience with a great deal more – ideas and information.

When you join the conversation on the web and among social communities, providing relevant and pertinent information, you’re branding yourself as a thought leader. This kind of conversational branding builds credibility and rapport with your target audience. Of course, being a market leader goes beyond just being a thought leader.

You have to deliver on your promises.
You may be able to promise value, but you need to consistently deliver it as well – especially if you’re making claims and promises within your content marketing and thought leadership. People will be reading your content along with other information online that you leverage as social proof. You should be able to perform to the expectation people have established based on what your brand image says about you. Nothing will torpedo and sink a brand faster than failing to live up to the hype.

Unify and Integrate Your Branding Message
This comes back to consistency. The web has changed that way that people interact with a brand. With so many social profiles and content sites you need to ensure that your brand message and image is being consistently communicated across all platforms. For example: Your blog, social profiles, email marketing and your personal communications should all carry similar, clear branding messages that relate to a unified voice and personal or corporate brand.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Matthew E. Alleyne, A.K.A The “Toot" Guy founder of WikiToot.com. I have been a serial entrepreneur my entire life, starting when I was in my nappies – it’s just in my blood!

For the last 20 years I’ve launched one successful business after another and have fallen in with the crowd of best-selling authors and public speakers in the branding circuit.

When I’m not involved in hands-on interaction with my businesses, I’m mentoring others. I’ve led hundreds to personal and professional success and look forward to continuing that trend.