By Simonetta Lein, CEO of Ausonia Partners LLC, social media entrepreneur, top-five global fashion influencer, brand ambassador and author.

As the world continues its march toward digital, branding has become a top priority for companies and organizations looking to differentiate their offerings and increase their bottom lines. The power of branding is unstoppable, and as we head further into 2021, it’s interesting to consider how it affects consumer behavior. 86% of consumers prefer an authentic brand image and honest personality, especially when it comes to social media driving digital trends and changing how we look at brands in the future.

Branding is no longer an afterthought. It is the primary fuel powering your business and driving sales. Since the launch of The Simonetta Lein Show, we’ve been covering branding and brought on particular guests this year who shine a light on the conversation. Understanding how branding is changing in the social media era and how to harness that is paramount. With guests like Kevin Harrington of Shark Tank and Steve-O of Jackass, for instance, both well-known brands in their own right, we prove through the show’s engaging conversations how powerful branding really is.

1. Differentiate yourself from the competition.

77% of consumers purchase items because of the brand name, and 82% of investors prioritize brand recognition. Talking about branding with Kevin Harrington is always an eye-opening chat because he genuinely understands how brands just starting out can gain traction. Kevin intrinsically understands how brands can make it even through these challenging times. It comes down to standing out. He and the other Sharks inspired me to create “The Game-Changing Entrepreneurs” panel, helping entrepreneurs to shine. This format, together with the A-listers interview, enables my online show to differentiate itself from the competition.

2. Define your offering.

Great branding differentiates you from the competition. So, who are you? Succeeding in the social media age is all about standing out, and there is no doubt that Steve-O coming as a guest to my show while in a AAA parking lot, changing a tire with his dog on his lap, is an example of something that stands out.

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Or a platform called City Chic Living by Alexandra Nicole Nolan (another guest on my show) is a great example of what offering constant tips and the latest finds can do for your audience, as it has attracted a big community of loyal fans exactly for that reason.

Taking people through a journey of building a somewhat unconventional brand proves the value of individuality and helps your audience understand exactly what you are doing and what you offer.

3. Maintain a dedicated following.

Brand power retains followings. This season truly drives home the fact that fan followings extend to everyone, including products and celebrities. Repetition is key. It’s key for creating engaging content, adding always-new elements to your brand. For example, Steve-O’s fame was built on his attraction as a funny and wild character unique to the entertainment world. With 80% of readers engaging with original brand stories, relatability is crucial. I was able to become recognized as one of the top five women fashion influencers in the world, and to see The Simonetta Lein Show ranked as number 27 in the world, according to Hollywood Entertainment News, in part because I constantly strive to have my millions of followers dedicated and engaged. A TV show proved to be a perfect vehicle.

4. Increase brand equity.

Increased followings and a defined offering not only aid in recognition but also positively impact your equity. Brands are worth as much as their image projects. Consumers are consistently aligning themselves with brands that make them feel good, making them worth more.

While also exploring myriad topics on the show, we are maintaining a focus on a digitally powered and socially conscious future, never overlooking how that can be utilized for brands.

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