Branding is yet another necessary element to every business that is almost always overlooked by small business owners and solo-professionals. Most people believe branding is for big companies. But the truth is that even if you haven't consciously designed your brand, your business has an essence and you are putting that essence out there consistently. So why not do some identifying and analysis once to become clear about what you intend to project with your business. It can make a huge difference in the type of people you attract into your business and how the market reacts to you.
There's a new paradigm in marketing called "attraction marketing". The days of hype and hard selling, shouting, and pressure are over. A good brand design allows your business to target its market authentically. And now more than ever, people (the market appreciates that). Defining your brand allows you to steer your potential customers away from their "pre-conceived notions" (they are always incredulous), and makes emphasis on the importance of understanding your ideal customer, making you incredibly irresistible because you are coming from a place of authenticity. This type marketing is especially important for solo-professionals because "you" are the business.
When a business owner comes from a place other than just making a sale, customers are magnetically drawn to you. That is what designing an authentic brand is all about. It's defining your core values in a such a way that it will set you apart from your competitors. It's not just about portraying a pretty picture to the outside world it is about portraying the uniqueness and diversity that you possess. Once you have defined these values, they are what you use to guide your business.
Here are 6 Steps to designing your authentic business brand:
1. Begin with the end in mind. Know where you are going. In order to take the right steps toward success, you must have a clear vision of what your goals are. From here
you build up your brand.
2. Identify your unique qualities. Being authentic means knowing yourself and communicating that to the world. Forget about portraying something you are not in the hopes that you will be liked. It won't work. Instead, be bold and true to the characteristics that make you who you are. These qualities are what make up the essence of your brand.
3. Identify your target market. Knowing who your ideal market is allows you to craft your message from a place of understanding. If you understand your market, they will be attracted to you.
4. Package your brand. Once you know what you are all about and who you are all about, create your brand features. Prepare a brand statement and tag line that consistently tells people what you are all about and present it all with an image that is consistent with that. If you are about innovation and power and are packaged in a conventional and dull fashion, you are not being authentic.
5. Know that your brand is connected to everything you do. Your brand is your business personality. You can never set it aside. How you dress, project yourself, communicate, show up and what you carry with you says everything about your brand. Make sure there is consistency at all times.
6. Evaluate your progress. When you have positioned your brand and it has become recognized by your market, continually evaluate what is and isn't working for you. Successful businesses continually work on their brands so that it is of importance and value to its target market.
Remember that designing your brand is about setting the stage for how people consider you as opposed to someone else. And even if you don't care about branding yourself, your brand is already there. It's a part of you. So become aware of that. Identify the essence of all that is already there and let it be teh guide for all you do and create in your business.