You may sell hundreds of products or services and each piece of marketing for these will give specifics about those products. Branding is a much broader focus. When you brand yourself or your business, you are setting up parameters that encompass your mission, your style, and your message. And you want those factors focused on your target audience.
Why is building a cohesive brand so important? Because your brand is how your customers will recognize you. It makes them comfortable buying from you. Think of some big brands you know. All you have to do is see their logo to get a certain feeling, whether that be fun (such as Coca Cola), edgy competitiveness (Nike), or sleek design (Apple). And the logo is only the face of their brands. These companies have invested a lot of time and money into this branding.
Every day your customers are bombarded with messages and noise. Only a few ads will stick out in their minds. And it’s been proven that people need to see an ad as many as seven times before it makes an impact. Branding provides consistency so that customers can feel as if they know you. Branding makes a lasting impact. So, when a customer is ready to buy, they will feel comfortable trusting you with their purchase.
Businesses that fail to brand themselves, fail to convey their message consistently or in a way that puts customers at ease. Many businesses try to cram the message down the customers’ throats by spamming and bombarding them with emails. This is like standing on a street corner, shouting for attention. Not only do they annoy potential customers, but they also fail to convey what their message or business is about.
Every marketing asset or ad content should communicate your brand. You aren’t simply selling a product or service; you’re selling a feeling. If your product is corporate event planning, you want to project efficiency and confidence. If you sell home-made soaps, you might want to evoke nostalgia. Look to your mission statement for clues on what your brand should project.
6 tips for building a powerful brand
Today, your personal brand reflects the information available about you on the Web, mostly on social media platforms. Here are seven tips to creating a brand that will resonate with your target audience.
1. Know yourself and what your strengths are. Your personal brand reflects who you are. You can’t copy someone else and expect to be authentic. You also can’t possibly brand yourself if you’re clueless about your mission, beliefs, and strengths. Take some time to really think over these elements. This doesn’t mean navel-gazing, but rather a realistic assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, what you love doing, and the skills that you’ve mastered or are working to master. Create a mission statement that reflects your service ideals. Remember, selling is just serving others—helping them achieve their goals or filling a need. Let this reflect in your brand.
2. Create a memorable brand name. If you’ve got a unique name, make that your brand name. If not, create a brand name that’s a hybrid of your name and a slogan or catchphrase of what your business is about. An example would be John Smith, the Corporate Escape Artist. You want people to find you, not somebody who has the same name as you.
3. Capture your online turf. Buy the domain name that corresponds to your brand name and secures your “handles” such as your Facebook page, Instagram account, and YouTube account. If you find that your brand name is already owned, create a different brand name. Make sure that your social media handles are consistent across the board. Also, when creating your social media accounts, make sure you use the same profile pictures for all of your accounts so that people will recognize you.
4. Build a website for your domain name. This is easier than you think. There’s no reason to struggle with a complicated website editor when you can create a perfectly usable site using a product like WordPress. (There are alternatives, but WordPress is the de-facto standard.)
5. Be authentic. Be yourself and don’t be afraid of putting yourself out there. As long as you don’t come off like you’re crazy or weird, a little opinion in your online presence is a good thing. Don’t assume that being authentic will turn people off. Nobody is interested in working with a cookie-cutter.
Create your perfect avatar
An avatar is someone you want to attract. It is the personification of your ideal customer. Defining this avatar will help you focus your mission statement and your brand. Define your avatar by asking some questions. Don’t just skim the list. Consider each question carefully and jot down a sentence or a paragraph for each.
What is the avatar’s basic demographics?
• Education level
• Geographic location
• Relationship status
• Number of children or dependents
• Household income
• What is their personality like?
• What are their five core values?
• What are their hobbies?
• What do they do for fun?
• What are their likes and dislikes?
• What industry are they in? (Their profession or day job)
• What is their occupation?
• What are their main needs in life?
• What challenges do they face in life (i.e., education, health limitations, economic limitations, etc.)?
• What is their number one personal life goal?
Once you have some idea of who your avatar is, solidify those ideas in your mind. Give your avatar a name. This will humanize the profile. If you are targeting both men and women, you’ll want to create a male and female name. Then put a face to that name. Find a picture that best represents what your avatar looks like visually. If you plan to use this image in your marketing, be sure to use royalty-free stock images so you don’t run into copyright or privacy issues.
Write your avatar’s story. Imagine you are your avatar and are journaling about the discovery of your product or service. What were they thinking before they bought your product? How were they feeling? Why were they feeling that way? What were they looking for? What were they hoping to solve or accomplish? How did they find you or hear about you? How did they feel once they purchased your product or service?
Design a dossier for your avatar. This one-page collection of information should include your avatar’s name, picture, information, and story. Keep this information handy when you are designing content or ads targeting your avatar.
With a well-identified avatar, create content around your avatar’s pains and struggles. By offering value through high-quality content, you give enough information to get them to take action on the next step in the value ladder.
Your content can be in the form of a podcast, blog post, or video. For example, if your avatar is struggling to get more leads for their business opportunity, a headline that will attract them would be something like:
• 3 Quick ways to get more leads using social media
• How to leverage free and paid traffic to generate high quality leads that will convert to hungry paying customers
• How to use YouTube videos to get 3-5 high-quality leads per day on autopilot (even if you don’t have expensive video equipment).
It’s your turn!
Once you have decided on a topic to talk about, then you will create the content around the headline and keep it very short and to the point. Keep the video around 3-5 minutes. Teaching them practical steps they can take to start achieving the desired result.
Be consistent with your profile pictures across all platforms so that people will recognize you. Share helpful tips relating to the products you sell, relevant content, and personal updates that build an emotional connection and convey positive character. By doing so, a well-defined avatar lets you create content targeted to their needs.
Do you have a business that allows you to brand yourself? What have you done to allow customers to remember you and find you easily online?