What if you could be in a place where everything you did contributed to the progress of your business? What if you had no competition to be concerned with and you were able to focus solely on moving forward? You can be in that place, and here's how.
When most people think of the word "brand" they think "logo". That's because the logo is the most exposed element of the brand. It is the thing they see on the website, the pen, the ad, the shirt… you get the idea. But there are other elements that make up a brand. There's the company name, the tagline, the images, the way the company "speaks" to its audience. The words it uses makes up the company's messaging. There are words to use, and words to avoid. All these elements work together in harmony to amplify the brand. Or at least they're supposed to.
When you started out, I'm sure there were at least a few very good reasons as to why you started your business. Those reasons are a part of your brand. They are the unique desires that provided a direction for you.Take a minute to think about what those reasons were. Chances are they were the fuel that lit a fire under your butt to even set out to be in business for yourself, because everyone knows it takes guts to go it on your own. Right after you had those reasons at your side you quickly followed up with what you were going to do differently. You know, the things that you saw others in the industry doing that you vowed you would NEVER do. You had your own ideas as to how to tackle your potential customers' problems, right? Now think about those ideas for a minute. Right there is part of what separates you from everyone else. That's the essence of branding after all.
So now you have your "why". You have what makes you different. Now think about how you are going to solve your customers' problems. How are you currently doing it? Now you may think these things don't add up to much when you think about them individually, but when you do actually compile them and amplify them in harmony with one another, you my friend, have got yourself a true brand!
This aspect of branding is largely overlooked yet it is one of the most critical parts of your brand! Identifying the words that relate to your target audience is important because every time you send out a post, or podcast, or ad, you are speaking to your audience. Since you're in a conversation with them, figuratively and literally in some instances, then you have to speak their language. Use the words they use. And equally important is avoid the words they would never use! This makes you relatable. That relatability is the foundation for forming rapport. All significant relationships need rapport to properly develop.
Wait, what? You say you're not good at speaking or writing? News flash! Few people are at first. It takes practice but like anything else it's something you get good at over time. Vaynermedia CEO and provocative speaker Gary Vaynerchuk says that no matter what business you're in, you should think of yourself as a marketing company first. That's because, as the driver of the business, you have to get good at being vocal about your expertise. You have to be able to be the authority that you want customers to believe you are.
If you are already good at what you do, and I'll assume you are, then you also have no problem talking about it. I mean, you're talking to customers everyday right? How else did you get your business going? Alright, now talk to an imaginary customer, but do it in front of a camera. Now take that video and post it, then transcribe it into an article you post on your site. (You do have articles on your site, don't you?) Guess what? You just became a marketing company! (And you thought I was full of it!)
Now you're not going to record one video and write one article. You're going to do it every week. But on a daily basis you are going to use the words of your brand. You're going to wear the uniform of your brand. You're going to talk to everyone about your brand. In other words, you're going to live it, every day. This shouldn't be too difficult after all, since your brand was derived from the essence of who you are. Remember the thinking exercises I gave you earlier? Establishing your brand wasn't the ending point of your brand, it is the starting line. Now that you have your brand, you are going to continue amplifying it constantly.
One of the roadblocks that will attempt to derail you from living your brand is your competition. Whether they have a proper brand or not (probably not!) you are going to be tempted to look at what they are doing and copy what you think is cool. DON'T DO IT! Even if it is cool, or it is a good idea for them, it may not be a good idea for you. Chances are it's not, because it most likely is not in line with what your brand stands for. You must ignore your competition, or at the very least, do the opposite of what they do. This is how you make them irrelevant. Because when you make them irrelevant, you give yourself the freedom to move ahead, frictionless, towards your company's goals. In other words, they don't matter to you. They don't make a difference in your plans. They don't have a say in what you do. That's irrelevance.
A fun and empowering way to look at it is make believe that you are playing a game. But in this game, your game, you are not playing according to the league's rules. In fact, you're not part of someone else's league. You formed your own league! And it's comprised of only you.
In your league you need a place to play. So form your own arena. You decide where you're going to post valuable information. You decide who your customers are. You decide the strategy in which you will serve them.
Now here's the really fun part. Since it's your game in your arena you get to make your own rules! You decide how you solve your customers' problems and the process by which you help each one. There are no wrong ways to do it as long as it benefits them. This is not about you. This is about serving the true needs of your customers and giving them a memorable experience along the way.
Now that you've made the rules, you need to assemble those rules into a playbook, which are your unique processes for how you will provide your brand's experience. Nail those down and you have put the finishing touches on your entire brand experience!
Freedom in your business removes worry. It removes doubt. It adds a self-confidence that many times is the missing ingredient to success. That self-confidence will help you become bullet-proof. And that's very a relevant place to be!