Do you need one?
WTF is a 'brand' anyway?
Ah yes, 'branding'. That odd concept that pesters marketers and entrepreneurs the world over.
Every year, hours of content is created on the topic of branding. And every year, millions of dollars of books and courses are sold on the same topic.
But ask most entrepreneurs what their "brand" is, and they won't be able to tell you.
Because what the heck is a brand, anyway? Is it your company name? Your logo and tagline? Colours on your website? All of that? Something else?
It's confusing, ain't it?
And so I ask again - do you even NEED a 'brand'?
Well, hold on just a second.
What if I told you that you already HAVE a brand?
Here's what I mean...
Do you know what your marketing says to people? And I don't mean the actual words you write or speak.
I mean, how does your marketing make people FEEL?
Can you describe the feeling of your marketing?
Because I believe, more than logos and colours and taglines, it's how you make people feel that's the essence of your brand.
So that demands the question: how do you WANT to make people feel?
Is there a specific emotion you want to evoke? Do you want to make people laugh, make them cry, make them ponder, ask questions?
Do you want them to feel alive and excited, or powerful and motivated? Do you want them to feel like you're the right one to help them?
How do you make them feel? That's your brand.
And you can make it whatever you want.
5 quick n' dirty brand questions
Here's 5 fast questions to help clarify your brand identity:
1. Who do you serve? This is not about appealing to the widest possible audience. Quite the opposite. When marketing, you want to have a single, specific person in mind. Beyond simple demographics, consider the psychology of this imagined person. Ask yourself questions like:
* What keeps them up at night?
* What are their top frustrations or challenges?
* What is their deepest dream or desire?
Sketch out a clear image of your ideal customer, and talk directly to that person every time you're marketing your business.
2. Who are you to them? What could you call yourself that would create the feeling of your brand? Some of this depends on what products or services you offer, but not all of it. Consider how some professional titles have evolved:
* 'Secretary' became 'administrative assistant'
* 'Garbage man' became 'sanitation engineer'
* 'Dishwasher' became 'steward'
Now, I'm not saying you have to create an entire new title for yourself. But instead of 'marketer', maybe you call yourself a 'marketing funnel specialist'. Or instead of 'copywriter' you're a 'crafter of converting copy'. Whatever you choose, make sure it aligns with what your ideal customer wants, and how you want them to feel when they hear about you.
3. What do you believe in? Not a lot of people think about this one, but it's one of the most crucial elements of a brand. Communicating your business values is a direct line to creating the feeling you want in your potential customer. Ask yourself:
* What do you stand for?
* What do you stand against?
* What can you be counted on to do?
* What will you never EVER do?
* What do current or past clients say about you?
The ability to weave your values and beliefs into your marketing is one of the most valuable things a business can do. You can't fake this one, so whatever your values are, make sure you really believe them - or they won't believe you.
4. What are you known for? It's great to be a generalist or 'jack of all trades', but it can be really tough to get traction with an audience that way. Instead, position yourself as the top expert in a few specific skills to attract your ideal customer. Create content and marketing messages around those specific areas so you can show the depth of your knowledge and achieve a high level of authority in the market. Then when your clients come on board, you can share everything you do as they need it.
5. What results do you get? Ultimately, this is what it all boils down to. Your brand feeling comes to life when you can prove your results. When you prove your brand is real, your confidence soars and you'll always have people who want to hire you. Proof of results can include:
* Testimonials from clients
* Demonstrations or case studies
* Certifications, endorsements, awards
In my mind, the simplest and most powerful '1-2 combination' to prove your authority is testimonials from other clients and EMPATHY. Even if you're new, when a potential client gets the feeling you understand and care about them, you're much more likely to win their business.
Tying it all together
Now you've got a bunch of information about your brand. So, what do you do with it?
What you can do now is craft a simple value statement. This sentence is used to convey a feeling about your business to your ideal customer.
A simple template for a value statement is:
"I help [ideal customer] get [specific results] without [thing they hate]."
* "I help lawyers get more clients without spending thousands on advertising."
* "I help job seekers make an awesome resume without hours of frustration."
* "I help people earn money online without cheap and scammy marketing tricks."
That simple 'value statement' template will get your brand out of the gate. From there you can keep your eyes open for other people's value statements, and see if you want to adapt some of their style into yours.
As you can see, branding is really just a way to communicate the enthusiasm you have for what you do to the rest of the world. It's how you tell everyone you love what you do, and you love the unique way in which you do it.
And when you inject that clarity, enthusiasm and love into your marketing, you're bound to attract the right people. There's no other way it could work out.