As I’ve been working with local clients on their branding strategy and getting their business gathered into one easy to sort and manage platform, I’ve realized that there are four types of business branding needs.
My first clients fit into the 3rd and 4th category, but my newest client fits into the first. So, I have lots of work ahead of me.
Let’s see which one you fit into!
1.Those who are building a brand from scratch with no direction.
You have to decide what it is you want to be a brand for – a niche, a product, a strategy, a service?
Maybe you are brand new to this idea of a business – local or online – and you are still just soaking up as much information as you can. Well, this blog might help you figure out what you want to focus your business on, but it’s really not about that.
That’s what my individual coaching can help you with.
What I will tell you is to do something that you don’t mind working on day after day. It needs to be something where, as far as branding goes, you can share YOUR story.
You want to be able to talk about things you feel or love about this niche. Me? I happen to love the visual aspects of building a website and getting the message right on each one. Some people like to scrapbook or paint – building sites is like that for me.
But, on top of that, I like helping other people learn how to get their “message” out to the people who need to hear it. Websites, social media – their branding – all help to do that.
Know what does NOT resonate with you. I did custom work for clients for a while and found it to be too stressful for me. So weed out boring or uncomfortable topics for yourself.
It doesn’t have to be something you’re already an expert in – let’s remove that insecurity right now. However, if you already have some kind of background in a subject, then use that to your advantage!
You have a blank piece of paper before you – what do you want to create your brand to be?
The good news for you is, you’re at foundation level in this challenge, so you don’t have to backtrack from mistakes you made earlier. You get a clean slate right away.
I do always suggest that you pursue services to others first, then your own products, then affiliate marketing and ads (in that order). You will work out kinks, learn your own process and then be able to take that experience and turn it into your own products
2. Those who are trying to figure out how to brand a business when they’re affiliates.
I know of one specific person who does tons of affiliate sites. He primarily promotes tangible items on Amazon, but across a wide range of niches – like toys for kids, exercise equipment for health enthusiasts, etc.
So he’s wondering how to brand himself when the audience is so huge, and the products are not his. There’s a solution for this.
Being an affiliate still enables you to brand yourself and many people don’t realize that. If I wanted to do nothing BUT affiliate marketing, in the IM niche, for example, then I would make my entire online presence one that reviews products.
If you do honest and thourough reviews of products, harsh reality or not, people will probably love your reviews. If you earn some respect for being honest and telling why something didn’t work for you and in what situation it did not work, then the product creator and other buyers will thank you for it.
With tangibles, you could be the consumer’s advocate for online purchases. You could have individual sites you brand, like a brand where you STOP Moms and Dads from buying trendy toys just because companies are pushing them and HELP parents buy the perfect toy for their child instead.
For something like this, you’d have to relate to parents – tell your story about how you bought the Lalaloopsy doll because your kid screamed “I want one!” with the commercials and then when you got it, they wouldn’t play with it because it was too hard and lost parts.
Or, you could have one mass site where you were the “go to gift guide guru” and have categories where you let people read reviews – real, raw review stuff – and make a buying decision there.
Of course, these are ideas related to online businesses, but you can think about this from a local business angle too.
3. Those trying to reinvent themselves away from what they were, and into something new.
Maybe you’ve been in business and while and haven’t considered branding, so now, you are considering herding all of your “stuff” into one brand. (I have a client like this that I’m helping now)
You might be all over the board with promoting Amazon tangibles, doing Youtube videos of you cooking, and even selling digital “how to” books on your website.
Or maybe you are like my client who provides social media management, runs a radio station, produces a TV show weekly and even more stuff!
One reason I want you to embrace the reinventing mode is that you can do it at any time.
So if you discover that you found a new direction to brand yourself with, go for it! Now everything’s flexible and fluid and you control your destination.
BUT, also realize that many businesses flit around, never settling on something, and their brand never takes off because they keep changing and it has no time to develop roots.
4. Those who are reinforcing the brand they have already been building from something small into something huge.
Maybe you’ve had a little bit of success and you want to scale it up big time. But you’re scared to put yourself out there as THE best.
These people need to start being unafraid to brag about themselves. The only thing wrong with bragging about yourself is your purpose for doing it. Bragging to make people jealous isn’t branding.
Bragging because you’re excited or you want to motivate others is self promotion – and that’s a GOOD thing!
My last little bit of advice for this group of businesses is to make sure you are staying consistent.
Are you using the same photos of yourself across all channels? Is your logo the same from one site to the next and is it the same on your social media channels too?
So, Who Are You?
Who do you want your brand to be? I didn’t say “what”. People don’t form relationships with a thing (a what). They form relationships with people – real people.
I think most of what we’ve been taught (me too) are a bunch of rules and guidelines that suck.
All the specific SEO rules, the keyword density, the “you must hard sell to someone 7 times before they buy” nonsense.
How many times have you had an emotional “buying” response to a 3rd person Ezine article that told you the table of contents of the latest Internet Marketing product being sold online, what it costs, and where to get it?
Now compare that to someone who gives you a real review, pointing out things they like and dislike about the product creator’s ethics, how they actually implemented the concept – and showed you results.
You’re not going to buy the product because it says it will make you a certain amount of money. You’re going to buy it because someone you trust said that while it wasn’t perfect, it did help them and they tell you exactly how.
I just relay my message in the best way that’s my own style. So first I want to help you figure out who you are, because not everyone knows how to go from wanting to be personal online to actually projecting that.
Write down 5-10 words that describe you and how you want your audience to instantly think of your brand.
I’ll go first:
- PLR Provider
Now what if you’re shy? Would shy be a good word to put on that list? It could – depending on how you want to brand yourself!
For instance: You could teach shy guys how to get dates. Or help shy people learn to give speeches. Or help other shy business owners learn to put their business in front of others. So when you first brainstorm, don’t knock off any adjectives. Even if you chose the word “ugly,” you might be able to parlay that into a brand, too. Substitute ugly for shy in the dating niche and you have a whole audience waiting for you.
Group those words now – into similar categories. So I might have:
The first words in the above list are kind of harsh but I like that element. I think it weeds out the kind of thin-skinned people I do not want following me. And it attracts those who prefer realness to having someone paint rainbows and unicorns for them.
That’s important for you to do – being real with your list of words. You don’t want to create a “people pleaser” list. Your goal is to have the freedom to be YOU. So for me, I don’t want anyone who can’t handle my bluntness following me – because then I get bogged down in whines and grumpiness.
The second column for me offers insight into what it is that I do. And the third is what I HOPE my audience (like you guys) really sees because it’s what I feel I am all about. I truly care and want to hold your hand through the tough times to help you succeed.
Remember that this is a list of what you feel at your core. So if you’re an affiliate, for example – you need to be more than just top keywords and profit volume.
What makes you want to promote certain things? What’s your reason, other than just money because that’s a given? If you don’t have one – find one. Because it’s not “giving” to just promote anything for a quick buck. It’s transparent and nobody will flock to that.
Now that you’ve been able to identify which of the four groups you are in related to branding, and you have come up with your list of describing attributes, how do they fit together?
What can you add or change about your branding that incorporates all you learned here today?