Hopefully you’ve already read my previous post on How To Brand Yourself and Your Company. Now that you have your brand in your hand, let me show you how to make your mark. The hardest part might be over … or just beginning! Don’t let this derail you. Some of the savviest brands were born out of laborious discussions, hours poured into thought, research, and just plain trial and error. The most important part is that you have a brand essence.
1. Define Your Brand
This is where your elevator pitch comes into play. It’s not enough just to have the idea of your brand in your brain. You need to be able to speak about your brand comfortably and often. Whether you are your brand, or your company is your brand (often one and the same), you have to translate your idea into something that’s easily digestible and resonates with your audience.
2. Write Your Story
Whether or not people are reading books or just hashtags, you need to have a compelling story to share. This is the “So what? Factor.” Your story can highlight the journey you took towards business ownership and/or it can be your personal journey thus far. While brands may overlap in similarity, the brand essence and/or story is what sets them a part. This is why business owners benefit when they are actively presenting themselves as their business’ spokesperson. Remember, if you don’t define your brand or yourself, other people will define it for you!
3. Identify Your Audience
Hello friends! We know ourselves or our products backwards and forwards. What about our audience? Who’s at the end of the phone line? The best businesses know their demographics down to a T. They create storyboards and profiles that capture their ideal audience’s looks, voice, interests, and desires. I’ve always stressed this element with clients and students since it’s easy to overlook or generalize. I’m even guilty of the “come one, come all” outlook on marketing, but you’ll soon find an uphill battle if you don’t “niche down.”
FYI—One of the reasons I started my business is to literally walk the talk. You’d be amazed at the new perspectives that jump out at you when you segment yourself as a doer vs. a coach. You should also do the same as you continue to mold your brand. Step outside yourself and try to view your business and/or yourself as your audience would.
*You may just need to rework your brand and story based on your audience’s needs.
4. Establish Your Trademark
Got your brand, story, and audience? Now, you need a business name and tagline (optional) that speaks to your services. For personal branders, you can go with your actual name or a catchy phrase that encompasses your philosophy. In case you missed it (how could ya?), my philosophy on entrepreneurship is RAW BRANDED™.
Now that you have your tag line, put it on lock down! The digital space is moving at rapid-fire speed. After listening to Blogger Tamsen Horton’s legal tips over at Launching Legal, I made a mental note to Trademark any and all business products and names. I would hate for you to do the hard work of building a brand around a name just to have you make a copywright or trademark infringement.
You can do a Trademark search by visiting USPTO.gov. If your Trademark is available and you’re certain that you will use your mark, file for your Trademark. Just be certain that you are planning to use this mark, since the cost to file is a pretty penny.
5. Secure Your Domain
Once you have your Trademark, secure a domain that is the same as your business or personal brand. Consistency is key. This is the name that you will share everywhere and often, so people become familiar with your brand.
6. Get Your Creative
Choose your brand colors and logo designs. Remember, this is not your actual brand. These elements are indicative of your brand. Your logo and color schemes are visual cues to help people remember you and your brand. Of course, if you are your brand, this becomes a much simpler effort!
7. Search, Find, and Connect
All of your previous efforts will be in vain if you are not building a relationship with your audience. Back in the day (yes, I said that), not too long ago, it was quite easy for advertisers to spam us with catchy jingles, never ending commercials, obnoxious website popups (the animated ones are still the worst culprits), and billboards.
Today, our lives are much too busy to be distracted by these advertising tactics. Studies have proven that the general public’s behavior has evolved, and people will seek information as needed. Specifically, people are going online to connect with others and brands that take the extra step to engage them.
In 2011, Google coined this as the “Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT), which describes a revolution in the way consumers find information online and make decisions about brands. ZMOT is the precise moment when they have a need, intent or question they want answered online.”
Your brand needs to help others as they need it. In order to do so, your brand must be present where your audience resides online and in-person. It is all about relationship cultivation and sustenance, which often takes longer to generate but has lasting impact.
Case in point: Nike. The shoe company isn’t just known for its swoosh logo. It has built a whole community around the Nike philosophy—Just do it. Nike supports its community’s efforts to stay fit through several workout apps and a training club, for starters. Talk about walking the talk! Now that’s RAW BRANDED™!
Have you started to make your mark? Please share your story. Need help? Send me a tweet or feel free to contact me. One step at a time.
Tweet: Know your brand and your audience, and you will #BeTheBestBrand.
© 2015 – 2017, Renee A. Walker. All rights reserved.