Once upon a time, not so long ago, when we thought of the word ‘brand’, giants like Coca Cola, Nike & McD’s would come to mind. Nowadays though, everyone who is anyone is working on their branding.
But maybe all the talk & information overload has left you scratching your head when it comes to getting clear on your branding. So thought I would try and lend a hand by sharing a few of my favourite pearls of wisdom that I have picked up over the last couple of years.
Let’s start with one of my favourite quotes from the ultimate entrepreneur, Seth Godin:
“A brand is a set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one service over another.”
When you’re the person who is behind your business, one of your main goals should be to make genuine, individual connections with people. I know you probably hear this a lot but that is simply because it is TRUE. I heard someone once refer to it as ‘experience building’ and i find it really helps to think about your brand in that way. How can you build an experience that prompts people to choose your service or product over the plethora of other choices they have available at their fingertips? Because at the end of the day, they are experiencing YOU.
You are the brand.
There is a lot of emotion and feeling behind a person’s decision to buy. People are not just buying on impulse and automatic pilot anymore. So, the way that you build relationships with your potential clients is critical to the success of your brand.
As human beings, we are all unique & fascinating with our own individual stories, perspectives, experiences, challenges & passions and we love to dig into a good story about other people with their own individual stories, perspectives, experiences, challenges & passions! We have to be able to make that connection with our potential clients on a personal, deeper level. Otherwise we are basically just saying “buy my stuff cos it’s great & I want your money”, and i think you know by now that this technique is a tad flawed.
And look here (::wags finger::) I am not saying that you have to make yourself uncomfortable and share all your thoughts about life or spill your secrets for all to behold.
What I’m trying to convey is a very VERY overused cliché that happens to be a cliche because it’s TRUE..
Sit down and think about how you are going to find your own unique space in this overcrowded, noisy online community. You are already unique, fascinating, passionate & have so much to give. You just have to take the time to dig about and bring it all to the surface.
Think about the people who you enjoy following online. The ones who really resonate with you – chances are, these are the people who are already doing this. Sharing their truths, doing their thing, with their own unique style & twist (some more twisted than others..)
Not everyone will connect with you, you may turn some people off, but that is FINE! Not everyone is for you & you are not for everyone. The magic is in finding your people & building your audience through the way that you make people feel when you show up online. It’s in the telling of your stories that people will relate to & connect with or learn from.
So how do we know what to share & how? How do we know if it’s right for us & if it’s right for our audience?
I like to use a tool that I wish I could credit to someone but i don’t know where it came from. The tool is the 4 V’s, which are: Values, Vision, Voice & Visuals. When you can run everything through the filter of these 4 v’s, it makes the process a lot easier.
✔️ Values – Values are a great place to start. They are important to all of us and (hopefully); we all have them if we sit & think about it. At the beginning of this year, I sat down and wrote a list of my core values that were aligned with both my personal & business world. The list i used can be found here https://scottjeffrey.com/core-values-list/ After I had rated the ones that really resonated with me, i went ahead and picked 3 for 2019 that i was really going to focus on. I come back to that list every so often and it reminds me to keep on track.�
✔️ Vision – Nailing your vision can be a hard one but it is vital to know what your plan is, where you are heading, what are your milestone goals along the way, who your are serving & why. It helps to keep your head clear & keep you confident focused. Do you have a vision statement? I realised that I dont have an actual statement written down anywhere, and so I started googling to get inspiration from others. I’m really enjoying this list https://topnonprofits.com/examples/vision-statements/ & the notion that “The best visions are inspirational, clear, memorable, and I”
✔️ Voice – Your voice is the way that you come across in your writing & video (if you show up on video). For me, my voice is mainly written, but either way, it’s all about the language that you use, your unique style, sense of humour, flavour, vibe. It can take some time to nail your voice; i find it’s like decorating a home. There are so many styles that you may like, but in the end there’s essentially one that you will find that is uniquely you and you’ll stick with it & stay true to it.�
✔️Visuals – You didn’t think I was going to write an article about branding without mentioning photography now did you?! People will get to know you through what you write & the images, designs & colors you use in your branding. And even though this all sounds really exciting & bright & shiny, it is something that is hard to narrow down without first focusing on the other 3 v’s. Once you understand where you are with those, it will make life so much easier for you when you start the process of nailing your visuals.
And finally, for those of you who are still here, or who skipped to the end to see if there was any good stuff, here’s some good stuff for you. I’ve been collecting some really useful articles on branding and I’ve put them all on this Pinterest board for you. I’ll be adding more to it but here’s the collection so far!