There are several different layers to branding. The visual branding should often be a result of your brand development or strategic branding. So I’m going to approach this a wee bit different and tackle the basics first.
Let’s take the logo, website, colors, marketing, networking, social media, products and services out for a second.
Did you know you can brand yourself even without a business or ministry? Did you know you didn’t need a product or service to do so? In fact, I guarantee you, you’ve already branded yourself one way or another. Why? As the Founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos says, “Branding isn’t what you say you are to people, it’s what people say about you when you leave the room.”
Here’s an example.
Before I even started this business, I’ve already been branded as that hip hop dancer chick who was always super energetic, bubbly and had thee loudest laugh, you can hear my laugh a block away. Without coffee.
I was seen as that girl who was always traveling, you never knew where I was. It was like I was a nomad who lived in Fresno…but was never in Fresno.
I had no product, unless of course you wanted me to teach choreography. But there was a certain aura and vibe that people received about me and from me both when I was around and when they heard my name.
So what does this mean? It means how you made them feel and the kind of imprint you left in their hearts and mind define your brand.
Alright, I’m going to repeat that one more time just because I feel like that’s oh so important. How you made them feel and the kind of imprint you left in their hearts and mind define your brand. Not your products, not your service.How you made them feel and the kind of imprint you left in their hearts and mind define your brand. Click To Tweet
You’re probably saying, “But all of that does affect how they feel. If my approach is too salesy then they won’t like it.” Or, “the quality of your product and service can taint your brand.” Yes, both such amazing truths! But see, in your audience’s minds most of them will see that as you. You are the face of your company, so let’s tackle strategic branding basics first.
Everything else: logo, website, colors, marketing, networking, social media, products or services are an extension of you. They’re an extension of your branding template.
It’s so exciting to get started in diving into your services, products, marketing, or getting your pretty head shots, that sometimes we fall into the trap going about things backwards.
We try to create a strategy of all of those things and they then ‘define you’ when it should be you that defines them.We try to create a strategy of all of those things and they then ‘define you’ when it should be… Click To Tweet
As a result, your impact isn’t as strong as it could be to your audience. Sometimes, it can even make your work harder for you because the systems that have been set in place don’t match you. You end up trying to change your approach or how you are to better fit how you’ve already branded your business rather than branding your business on who you truly are: message, values, lifestyle, quirks and all.
The more you look around to see how you can be different, the less you’re able to see your difference. The more you embrace who you are, the more you realize how unique and different you already are.
Ok, back tooo itttt.
You got into business to have freedom to be yourself. Don’t let the strive for success change your core message and values. Your story is wayyy too important for that!Don’t let the strive for success change your core message & values. Click To Tweet
Another easy trap to fall into:
Playing with the idea of, or, creating a product that we’re not really passionate about because it seemed like it would sell more and everyone would want it.
Guilty as charge! Temptation, much?
But the truth is, there’s something else that you feel more connected to doing or creating. Therefore, when we try to market it, we’re unable to relate to our audience to the emotional level that they crave. Because well…we’re not as emotionally there as we’d like. In fact, your passion is leading you to something more grand. More you.
When we take a backwards approach, it’s easy start but it’s hard to keep going in the long run. It takes twice as much effort to reflect a persona that you’re not and that’s exactly what we sometimes end up doing. Sometimes, we’re not even aware of it.
Ok, I’m not saying everything should be based off JUST your passion, but what I am saying is that recognizing where your passions are will help serve as your guideline as to whether or not that’s your ‘best yes’ in the things you spend time on. Because..I mean..let’s be real. Time is money. And you can’t do everything.
Hint: Stop trying to bear the fruit without tapping into the root.Stop trying to bear the fruit without tapping into the root. #StrategicBranding Click To Tweet
A fruit that’s not connected to the root will perish. It will die from lack of nourishment. The same thing will happen to your business if you’re not willing to tap into the core of it all.
A few things we’re going to address to get you started in developing your brand.
Branding is about connecting your story with the needs of your audience. It’s about tapping into the emotions you once felt so that you can tap into their felt needs and leave an imprint in their heart and mind. But in order to do this with your audience, you have to really clarify your story.Branding is about connecting your story with the needs of your audience. #BrandDevelopment Click To Tweet
What made your mission and vision come alive? What gave you this sense of urgency? What made you feel like this is what you are meant to do? That this is the message you were meant to speak?
What has happened in your past or what is happening right now that has altered your values and made you feel passionate about this cause?
How are you living and breathing your brand? Why are you living and breathing your brand?
Perfect, now that you’ve gone back to your roots:
What do you really want to do? What do you want to do for your people and audience? Is it a product, is it a service, is it to give them a certain feeling? What transformation are you bringing into their life?
How will you do these for your audience? How is your approach? How do you make the transformation happen? How are you taking them from point A to point Z?
Why are you doing this? To an extent this can be related to your story but doesn’t necessarily follow. It’s usually a combination of your needs or goals + the needs of your audience. For some it’s a combination of wanting to have freedom and flexbility while creating income + helping people overcome the same problems they once had so their audience don’t have to go through what they went through.
Your why has to be much bigger than just one action. Your why has to be much bigger than your passion. Your why has to be so strong, that even when you feel discouraged, even when all passion seems have flown away, you’ll look at your why and find the strength to keep going.
Here’s an example:
My why – To have the freedom to pursue whatever it is that Christ wants me to do without the financial worries, while helping others gain the freedom to live out their calling.
Have you clearly defined your story so that people can see the transformation your message brings? Have you defined your what, how and why? I’d love for you to share yours below. After all, your story has power!