If you are a business owner, you have a brand. If you are a blogger, you have a brand. If you command any type of engagement with people whether it be for financial gain, future financial gain, popularity in a community, etc. - you have a brand; whether you like it or not.
The question is, what kind of brand do you have?
Are you known for always providing valuable and unique content? Are you known for being a copycat? Are you known for always standing out and going over and beyond?
While you can contribute to the influence of your brand. Your customers, readers, audience determines what your brand is.
“Customers build brands, not business owners.”
In my (newly released) email course, I teach my students that a brand is what your audience thinks when they hear your brand name. You can sign up below or learn more here.
It is a collection of perceptions that include how your audience sees your brand, what they feel about it, what they say about your brand to others and the experiences that they encounter with your brand.
Based on observations, customers will form opinions about your brand, and build your brand (or knock it down). So while you, the entrepreneur, blogger, biz owner, cannot directly build your brand, you have the opportunity to influence their perception. I highly encourage you to take advantage of that.
To have a positive perception about your brand, you will need to influence that with positive actions. Let’s take a look at the word influence for a minute. Influence means to move or impel a person to some action (source). With branding, we want to impel people to have a positive opinion or perception about our brand. We do this by being a positive brand. A bit ambiguous?
Every experience your audience has with your brand - meaning, your website, your shop, your blog, your email newsletter, social media sites, guest blog posts and more; should be a positive one.
It is up to you to decide what a positive experience is. For me, a positive experience at the forefront includes consistent brand messages and consistent brand visuals. This means that I’ve taken the time out to write out a clear mission, clear taglines, clear one-liners and elevator pitches so that I’m not thinking on the fly and giving different messages each time. The message is consistent every time.
For example, my core brand message is as follows - She Builds gives women the framework and tools they need to nail their dream business and build a life they love.
If I need to personalize the statement it is said like this - I give women the framework and tools they need to nail their dream business and build a life they love.
If I need to shorten the statement (say for a short social media bio such as Twitter), it is said like this - I give women the tools they need to nail their dream business.
I have three variations of this statement that I can use in different scenarios and they all deliver the same consistent message. I keep these statements in my Google Drive so that I can easily pull them when I need to use them and to keep my brand messages consistent!
The second key player in my brand’s positive experience are consistent brand visuals. I’ve taken the time to build an arsenal of visual templates so that images are consistent. The two integral parts of my brand visuals include my color scheme and font pairings. Once I had defined those two, I created a style of how my images look and variations on that.
Here are some of my blog post images that are optimized for Pinterest:
Here are a couple of Instagram posts that I’ve posted as well:
Other things that contribute to my positive experience are delivering high value content, creating content upgrades, responding back to my audience in a timely manner and ensuring there are no broken links in my blog posts, newsletter boxes or emails.
Besides a positive experience, a well branded business has the following in place
Whether you do business or blog in a saturated market or not, differentiation is critical to the growth of your brand. Setting your offerings apart shows your audience what they can expect from your that they won’t get anywhere else. Some biz owners dread differentiation, but it is only because they don’t want to analyze the characteristics of their offerings that are separate from their competition. This can be a hard task. I know. But doing it will help you to shine and stand out.
Let’s take a look at Apple products. What is one thing that sets the iPhone apart from other smartphones? It is the only phone that runs on an Apple operating system. Most other smart phones runs on some type of Android operating system. This is just one example of how Apple iPhones is differentiated from the rest of the market.
Unique positioning and differentiation work together. After defining how your offerings are different than your competition, you have to position your brand in such a way so that your audience perceives that differentiation.
It's great if you have an awesome product or service that is unlike anything in your industry. However, if that message isn't communicated and understood by your audience, then it's to no avail.
Again with Apple, they could use this differentiation to their advantage by positioning themselves as being able to push updates to the operating quicker than their competitors because everything is under one company (ie: If the Samsung Galaxy phone was experiencing a bug it would have to be reported to Android and then yada yada).
Leave a mark somehow, someway. Maybe it is the experience. Maybe it is the customer engagement from you, the head honcho of AmazingBusiness.com.
Have you ever walked into an Apple store? It’s a toy store for tech geeks, like myself. You get to test out just about every electronic product they offer. You can easily spot an Apple store staff member to assist you. You can checkout anywhere you can find a sales associate because all of their iPhones or iPods act as cash registers as well!
A good brand will always reflect back to it's core brand message in all of it’s other communications. A core brand message catches the attention of it’s target market, shares the values and key differentiators that define the brand. From this core message, all other messaging will be derived from it. Examples of brand messages include: taglines, positioning statements, an elevator pitch, a brand promise and more.
Humanizing Your Brand
Millennials are looking to interact with a real person. Not an automated chat. Not an outsourced customer service center. They want you. The real you. So humanize your brand. Be the brand. If your business has grown to the point that you aren’t able to handle every interaction, choose your team wisely and please don’t save a buck for low cost (ie: low quality) customer service. This will hurt your brand more than do any good in the long run.
And that's it! So let’s recap. Though you can’t build your brand yourself, you can help to influence those that are building your brand - your customers! You can do this by:
- Ensuring a positive experience with your brand.
- Setting yourself apart from the competition.
- Positioning yourself in a unique way.
- Being unforgettable.
- Consistent communication.
- Humanizing your brand.
With these six things in place you will be able to position your business as a set apart, authentic, dependable brand and your audience will be little eager beavers and jump at the chance to help you build your brand.
If you feel branding is a little ambiguous to you and you want to learn more about what branding is and how it can help you find success with your business, take my free email course by entering your deets below, or you can check out the course page!