First, I think it will be valuable if we define what branding IS. In simple terms, branding is a way to identify and set yourself a part from everyone else. It encompasses your core values and also your mission. Building a foundation for your brand might not feel like the most exciting thing at first, but it is one that is very important.
Branding is about taking all the info that makes up your brand and turning that info into tangible items. This can be (but isn’t limited to) business cards, a logo, website or a blog, or products and services you’re rendering. But also, and I don’t think it’s mentioned enough, but it can also be the way your business makes people FEEL. How you do your employees feel? How does your brand make your audience feel? These can all be a part of your brand and can help move your business forward.
So WHY is this so important?
All of these things make a great first impression. First impressions are everything, especially if they are genuine. Good design has the potential to build a lot of trust and people can feel the authenticity of that. It’s also important because it creates brand recognition which is the long term goal over all. Building a brand creates differentiation. It begs to ask the questions, “How do you do things differently than your competitors?” When branding is done well, it has the capacity of being and REMAINING memorable.
If your brand isn’t developing, it’s likely that you haven’t mapped out a lot of these thoughts and questions. Developing a logo and launching a website is not where branding ends. That’s the skeleton, a launching off point and the beginning. If you’ve done the bare minimum and are posting your services to social media and no one is buying them, it’s likely because in part, they haven’t bought into your brand.
I listen to Gary Vee often and recently heard him say (and I’m paraphrasing here) that businesses who aren’t currently working to develop their brands will be irrelevant in 5 years. That might seem like a lot of time, but in reality, it’s not and it will come very quickly.
I’m not sharing this to instill fear in you; quite the opposite actually. If you are reading this, it’s quite possible that you are already doing this currently and that you’re running into a few setbacks. OR, you’re not doing this in this moment but you want to understand the importance behind why you should develop a brand with where business is heading.
Here are few possible reasons that your brand might not be developing the ways you want it to:
YOU’RE CAUGHT UP IN THE NUMBERS
You might be so caught up in the numbers of social media and the traffic (or lack thereof) to your website that you’re actually putting all your brain space towards that instead of actually growing your business.
WHO CARES how many followers you have? WHO CARES if your hashtags aren’t converting? WHO CARES if your stories aren’t reaching many? You’re so focused on the numbers, (which aren’t bad and ARE necessary) but not at the expense of good content.
“Well Jess, my content is good but no one is seeing it!”, you might be thinking.
I get that but you ONLY focus on increasing the numbers, you lose focus on how your content is making your audience FEEL. The numbers are an essential measuring tool, it’s true. But if you don’t have the numbers you desire, no algorithm or magic app is going to take the place of really good content. Focus on how your business is making your customer FEEL and pin their pain point. THEN, speak to THAT.
YOU’RE JUST AS CONFUSED AS THEY ARE
You might be feeling just as confused as ever about what the content you’re producing really is. Sitting down to really flesh out WHO and WHAT you’re about is absolutely essential. You can’t expect to throw a bunch of darts and hope something sticks where you want it to. If you know where you want to end up, but don’t understand who you’re talking to and what THEY need, your audience isn’t going to know that you’re speaking to them.
Narrow down your niche, and get really clear about WHO you’re speaking to. Figure out what makes that type of person tick. What are the specific things they are searching? What types of things are they shopping for and where are they shopping for them? How old are they?
Once you’ve narrowed down WHO, it’s time to ask your WHAT are their problems and how can you solve them? What solutions do you offer to really be able to help someone, and not just sell to them so you can make a buck?
When you think about what your target audience needs and how you can solve the problems, you begin to get really clear about what it is that you do and who you’re speaking to. Your audience will start to understand that, and they will find your voice. You will become an expert on a couple of different topics that speaks to a certain type of person, and your target audience will begin to find you.
When you aren’t confused, your audience won’t be confused. They will understand that you are speaking to THEM, what they need, and that’s when they begin to trust you.
YOU MIGHT BE STUCK IN THE PAST
Do you feel like you’re spinning your wheels trying to do things the ways you’re used to, but nothing is working? It might be because you aren’t forward thinking and it’s potentially holding you back. Being willing to be coachable through mentors in your life is essential. Strive to think with innovation and to continue to be flexible to the changes you might need to be making.
With that said, it’s also important to be consistent. Try new things where it counts but don’t hop around too much that you confuse your audience. It’s very possible that you are on the exact right track but just haven’t done it long enough. Building a brand that people grow to trust can take years. With consistency and some grit, you will get there.
Be willing to make any necessary changes but also you might just have to put the work in every day without quitting for years before it completely pays off. I don’t fully understand why some businesses climb faster than others, but I know that it will never get off the ground if you quit.
Today I want to challenge you to ask yourself these questions that I presented here today. What strengths do you currently have inside your business that you can expand upon? What areas could you get a little more refined in?
My goal with this blog post today is to get you asking questions about your brand that can move you forward to make any necessary changes that you might need to make. The truth? Your business and brand CAN thrive in today’s world and you DO have what it takes to be successful. Answer these questions honestly and allow the Branding Builder Questionnaire to help move you forward.
There are many parts of business that aren’t fun, BUT there are a lot of things about it that are! I want you to make the most of every single day, even the days that are hard. It’s possible to thrive and build the brand that you’ve been dreaming of. It’s up to you, and you CAN do this!
Make every day stellar!