You Are Your Brand

Here’s what secret successful marketers know: customers don’t buy a product. They buy you. 

Your personality.

Your experience.

The unique qualities only you possess. 

There was a time when “branding” meant a corporate-looking logo and a slick catalog, but in today’s online marketplace, the real value is not in appearing to be a big company, but rather in just being you. And your personality shines through in a variety of ways. 

Your Authentic Voice

How you speak and write and even how you act on camera or in an audio interview has the power to instantly identify you to your audience. You can see this in action if you scroll through your Facebook feed. It’s easy to know who has posted a particular image or status update, just by recognizing the voice with which they generally speak. 

Here’s an even more important aspect of your “voice” though: it has the power to attract a specific audience. In recent years, a few high profile coaches and product sellers have become celebrities of a sort, largely because of their harsh, “don’t hold back” language. Ash Ambirge over at www.TheMiddleFingerProject.org makes no apologies for her use of offensive words, and her fans love her for it. And those that don’t? Well, as she says right on her home page, her site and services are “not for humourless bores.” 

Snarkiness and foul language is not the only way to go, though. Carrie Wilkerson has built her brand almost entirely on her ability to be kind and generous. She always has a nice word, never appears defeated or overwhelmed, and is an inspiration to her fans and clients. 

While very different in their approach, these two women have one thing in common: authenticity. It’s clear that if you were to meet either of them in person, they would speak and act exactly as they do online. And their brands are stronger for it. 

Your Story

How did you get to where you are today? The backstory—which to you might seem boring and uneventful—is a powerful tool that can help solidify your brand and attract just the right audience. 

Melissa Ingold tells of being a struggling single mother, and of creating an online business rather than simply choosing to work one dead-end job after another. Her success is an inspiration to her audience, and is a huge part of her branding. 

Kelly McCausey speaks often of how she got started online when she was looking for a way to earn just a few extra dollars every month to keep the lights on. Creating graphics at $5 each quickly turned into a full-time online career. 

Your story doesn’t have to be dramatic, and you certainly don’t have to share more than you’re comfortable with, but it does have to be yours. Be your true self, and you’ll never have to worry about attracting the right audience. They will self-select, and your perfect client will find you.

Know Your Ideal Client!

Show your potential customer why your proposal is worth the hassle!

KNOW YOUR CLIENT

Why do I think it is extremely important to Know Your Client (KYC)?

Not only do you need to know and understand your client in order to be able to market to them (and I really do think this is very important), but you also need to understand who they are, how they think and what they need.

Know their objections and have answers for every question and concern!

Most business owners will automatically throw up objection to a new proposal.  In some cases it is just a reflex.  They’ll say no before they say yes.  In other cases, they are simply testing you.  In any case, you need to be prepared explain, in detail, what you can do for their business.  Tell them why they need you.. and how you are the right person to work with.

How can you do that if you don’t know who they are and what their business mission is.  Do some research – do your homework!

“Put yourself in your client’s place”.

RESEARCH

Get to know the person who runs the business you would like to work with.  Who is that person, or group of people?  Besides learning what they sell, coach, offer…  find out what their core values are.   Google is your best friend.  Do some digging!

MARKETING

The most successful businesses understand their client’s mentality.  How do you do this?

The key here is knowing your client, inside and out.  Do Your Research!

Zero in on your target audience and your marketing will become very clear and then it will suddenly become easy to do!

Learn everything you can about them; what makes them tick, their pain points, how they measure their success.

Whether it’s simply knowing what colours appeal to them, or knowing what ‘turns them off’, you will make your life easier if you can figure this stuff out before you put it out there.

CONSISTENCY IS KEY IN MARKETING.

For example,  it’s important to be consistent with the language you use on your website, in social media and in all your marketing.

You need to decide what you are going to sound like in all your communication.  Knowing your client will help you to discover your voice.

For example, if  he or she is an older professional, you might be less inclined to use a lot of slang terms or even a few curse words.  That being said, if you are talking to a hip young audience who aren’t offended by the occasional curse word, then you should consider speaking like they do.

Now that I’ve said that, I believe it’s important to sound like yourself.  If you are the ‘rockstar chic’ type, then is your ideal client going to be an serious, middle-aged business man?  Not likely.   So, why would you go after this client?

Knowing who you are before you figure out who your ideal client is and you’ll come to your ‘sweet spot’.  Where yin meets yang.  Where you are going come together with the person you can help the most!

Do you know who your ideal client is?
Before you should do anything with your business, take that pre-branding journey of discovery.

 

Jen

Choosing Your Name. Why Create a Personal Brand?

When you started your business did you consider creating a ‘personal’ brand? 

If your business is about selling dog toys, or perhaps you own a multi-person service business, you likely have a catchy or memorable name for your business.  For example, Playchewa Dog Toys, or The Intela Group (I totally made those up).  This makes a lot of sense.  You may be the creative brains behind the brand, but ultimately it’s not about you and most of us hope to create a brand that endures and maybe, just maybe, you will sell your business and retire to your mega mansion or private island retreat.  Fingers crossed!

That being said, if your new business is all about you… then perhaps make your new brand personal!  What do I mean?

I’m talking about using your name as the name of your business. 

When might you do this?

If you are your business, and it’s all about you, then this really works.  If you are selling your unique ideas, your expertise or even something tangible like your paintings… then why not use your name?

It’s yours, you already use it and it will be the easiest thing for people to remember.  

I know some of you might hate your name, and you don’t have to use it.  Maybe you think it is far too long and in this case, I might suggest you consider a version of your name, maybe shorten it. 

Your “brand voice” is how you, as a business owner or entrepreneur, express your business personality in your writing style, language, and tone. It is the distinct persona or identity of your brand that shines through in the words and phrases you use, and which allows you to stand out from other brands. If your brand voice is distinct enough, your followers should be able to recognize you in your writing even if there was no name or logo on it.

Your Brand Is Like Your House

When people are expecting company, they give their house an ‘extra’ cleaning. They make sure that the living room and kitchen, bathroom and front entrance look ‘perfect’.  They want the first impression to be welcoming and they want their guests to see the best version of the way they live.  Most people are not likely to take visitors down to the basement, out to garage, or show them their closets.

It’s the same with your branding and your website.

Your website is where your visitors will get to know your Brand. And just like the new visitors to your home, you want to make a great first impression! They won’t be staying long, unless you give them a compelling reason to stay.  Therefore, you need to have a plan.

I say start with a design (blueprint), next build your brand (foundation), then you can build a solid website (house). Another way of looking at it is to build the website, to house your brand. A beautiful place to show it off. Without the blueprint and the foundation though, the house will eventually fall down!

Here is another way to look at it is this: You don’t usually choose the paint colour until all the cabinets are installed, and furniture is in and floors are done.  There is a natural order to things and when you try to do things backwards, you make things more difficult for yourself and you simply end up doing them again.

You might have heard the phrase “building a brand”.

You need to understand what it is you want to do with your business.  Take time to consider who your clients really are, why they should choose you, what their pain points are and how YOU are going to help them.

Once you’ve established who they are and what they look like, you should find it easier to get clearer on what you think they will be attracted to. Building your brand is not often as simple as finding a font you like, picking your favourite colour and drawing a picture of a heart or a star… and calling it a day.

You may be the kind of person who really loves bright colours and busy designs, but will your ideal client be able to relate?  For example, if you own a meditation studio, most people will be looking for a Zen, calming vibe. They may not relate well to hectic and busy. If your brand doesn’t match your business… it may be memorable, but not in a positive way.

You need to think about style, textures, colours. Where will people find your logo? Will it be used in print, on giant painted signs. Or, will it be in the tiniest of places, like pens or matchbook covers? Do you need it for letterhead, or will it simply be on your website, social media posts and perhaps just a business card?

Consider all this when designing your logo, and your website will follow.

Next time, my top tips for logo design.

Jen