Unless you have been living under a rock in your business then you have heard of branding and may have even branded yourself already. Are you happy with (or without) your Brand? Do you have a good understanding of what branding is? Many clients I work with are confused as to what branding REALLY is and how to do it well so they can finally be seen and heard and create a thriving business. So in this post I want to teach you what branding is all about, why branding is essential if you are in business, bust a few myths and of course give you some killer tips and tools so you can start showing up, do your fabulous work and get paid.
Did you notice this quote says nothing about logos, websites or products? That is because truly great brands, brands that are remembered, bring forth loyalty and grow with their customers and clients do so because they know that branding goes way deeper than the outer design and style of their businesses.
Excellent, strong brands tell the story of their business. They communicate their vision, values, message and solutions in a way that reflects who they are, what makes them different and why their clients should form a relationship with them. Gone are the days when you could put up a flash website, hand over a luxe business card or hang a good looking sign up and people would notice you and do business with you.
Today, there are so many people and businesses doing what you (and I) do that we are in overload. Our brains just can’t handle the amount of information about products, services, prices, benefits etc. One thing that our brains can do extremely well is connect through relationship and story. This is hardwired into our DNA as part of our evolutionary skills and adaptations. We survived through language and story so we would learn all the important things we needed. This still holds true today…in fact, even more so as we struggle to retain information tipping point.
Businesses that don’t brand themselves or who don’t brand in alignment to who they are and how they want to show up in the world just don’t survive. So it is important to get clear about your brand. So let’s dive in.
Branding is made up of 2 pieces. The first is the internal soul and workings of the brand (your brand foundations) and include:
- Your Values
- Your Purpose
- Your Message
- How You Show Up In The World
- Your Promise
- Your Content
The second piece is the external style and design of your brand and covers:
- Your Logo
- Your Tagline
- Your Colours
- Your Images
- Your Fonts
Both parts, starting with the foundations need to be in place to create a compelling brand that truly represents you or your products and services.
Let’s bust some myths about branding which are seriously damaging the businesses of many of the gorgeous clients that come to me for help.
#1 Branding is a luxury that only big businesses need and can afford.
Wrong! These businesses only became that big BECAUSE of their good branding. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out or whether you have been in business for a while, getting your branding right is not a luxury but a necessity. People cannot work with you or buy from you if they don’t know you exist. Branding helps you to stand out from the crowded market place on your own terms.
#2 Branding starts with a great business card, logo and website.
Wrong! Whilst these things are indeed important they should only be developed and designed AFTER the internal foundations have been put into place. That way, when you spend the time and money on them they will actually reflect what you want to express. Starting from the outside design first is usually a big exercise in frustration as there is a disconnect between who you are, what your message is and the look and feel of your brand style.
“A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another”. Seth Godin.
So, why is branding so important to have in place? There are 4 main reasons that branding is crucial to you and your business.
- Attention: If you cannot get the attention of the right people (think clients, peers, influencers) then you will not have a business. A great brand allows you to stand out for all the right reasons, your reasons, as well as helping you to determine what you stand for, who you are best equipped to help and just how you do that. Your brand will communicate all this and more if you do it right.
- Connection: Once you have caught the eye of your ideal client and audience a strong brand connects to these people so that they stick around and get to know and like you. It does this by knowing exactly what makes you and your business special and showcasing this. By consistently showing what you believe and most importantly by helping solve problems and give great value.
- Community: If your branding is doing it’s job by now you will have a tribe and community forming around you. That is because your brand speaks to them about your vision, your reason for doing what you do and how you are leading them into a better life. As Simon Sinek says “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe”.
- Clarity: When you develop your strong, compelling brand an amazing thing happens. Not only do people get drawn to you like bees to a flower but you become so clear, confident and on purpose about what you are doing. When people are clear they know what to do and why they are doing it. Creating a brand that reflects who you truly are enables this kind of clarity for you and for your community.
Thanks for sticking with me on this. I know it is a long post but I felt it necessary to write it as I come across so much confusion and misinformation around branding. I hope you can see by now that branding will make or break your business so you may as well create something that is true to you and that you love – or else people will have their opinions (usually the wrong ones) of your business anyway.
I will finish with these tips:
1. Start with the internal foundations and work your way out to the design.
2. Take the time to need to do a great job with your brand – skimping will only hurt your chances of growth.
3. Get help and support with creating your brand. Often times we are too close to ourselves and our business to see clearly and represent ourselves in a way that is truly aligned to who we are.
4. Here is a free resource I created to help you:
Enjoy the process and allow the real you to shine through. I would love to know what you thought of this post. By Liking, Sharing and Commenting I know if I am providing valuable information and tools to you or not.
If you are ready to DIY your brand check out my You-nique Brand E-Course.
Until next time.