Brand the Heck Out of Yourself

Brand the Heck Out of Yourself

What is branding? Simply put, branding is selecting what you want people to see.  When you brand your business, it makes you easily distinguishable from other businesses similar to yours. What makes it distinguishable are things such as images, symbols, taglines, messaging style, characters, colors, video/music, customer service. You want a brand that stands out.

What do you think of when I mention “Rachel Ray”? You probably think of fast, simple family meals. Everything Rachael Ray does should reflect her brand—her clothing, how she talks, the way she cooks, the images and language she uses on her website and the types of recipes she offers. Everything she does is salt of the earth because that is her brand image.

If you are a representative for a network marketing company, YOU are your brand. Of course, there is the company brand. The question you will ask yourself is, why YOU? What would be my incentive to get involved with your company to begin with? Because of YOU. Because you present it to me. I have a choice, as the consumer, to decide if I want to work with you. So who are you? And how do you make sure people recognize and remember you? You may be known for your helpfulness and how you go the extra mile for your customers. You might do something special for new business builders. Your brand is a combination of everything that represents YOU to your customers.

brand-your-business

Exercises to Brand Your Business

Identify Your Values. Your brand is a reflection of the things you value. For example, if you value honesty, your brand will reflect the way you are honest with your prospects and clients. So what do you value?

Identify Your Target Market. The goal you have when you brand your business is to build loyalty. As you are creating your brand, think about your target market and speak directly to them. Knowing your target market will help you create your brand. Be specific.

Identify How You Wish To Be Perceived. Branding is about people’s perceptions of your business. In addition to the values you listed, what other personality traits represent your business? Take me for example. I am known for being tough but loving. People know me to be assertive and in your face; however, they also know that I am that way because I want them to succeed. So tough love is part of my brand. Once you are clear on how you want your business and services to be perceived, a brand personality will emerge.

Think Whole Foods' personality vs. Trader Joe's. Or Lee Jeans vs. Rock & Republic. Why do you prefer one over the other? Because of the fit and the personality of the brand. So write out how you want your products/services to be perceived. If you are a service provider and YOU actually provide the service, YOU are part of the brand. Your persona or the one you want to be visible is part of the brand.

Identify Your Uniqueness. What sets your business, service, or product apart? Branding is a combination of looking at what you already doing and looking at what you want to be doing. For example, an esthetician might say, “what makes me unique is the chocolate truffle I leave on my client's pillow after a facial”. Or that might be something they add because they think it will be memorable and make sense with how they want to be perceived. Look at your competition. What are they doing?

What do the brands you LOVE do? Why do you love them? Can you do something similar? This is where research is critical. If you do not standout, people may purchase the same products/services you offer from your competitor who is standing out. You must know what sets you apart and makes you memorable. Remember, you can be perceived in business any way that you like. Just make certain that you represent your brand consistently.

Identify Images, Colors and Symbols That Support Your Brand.  As you explore what sets you apart and how you want to be perceived, think about the images or symbols that represent that. What images would you see associated with your brand? What color palette best supports your brand?

Identify Messages That Support Your Brand.  As you think about your uniqueness and how you want to be perceived, what messaging do you associate with your brand? What would your tagline be?

What would your speaking style be? Bold and charismatic? Professional and sophisticated? Do you use certain quotes that you feel represent your brand well?

Identify Unique Sounds/Visuals That Support Your Brand.  Are there any unique sounds or songs associated with your brand? Videos? Signs?

Identify Your Specialty.  What specialty do you want to be known for?

Walk and Talk Your Brand.  Once you have created your brand, you must get it out there. Consistently be your brand. Every part of your business should reflect your brand. If part of your brand is to inspire people, inspire them. Make sure you think about “inspiring others” whenever you do anything that has to do with your business.

One of the great things about branding is that it only takes a few brush strokes to really change your image. A few key changes, a few strategic tweaks, can completely change your brand. So if you made a few moves that are not really your brand, you can simply beef it up (unless the moves are hurting your brand). It is quite safe.

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About Online Biz Boomer Babe

Rachel Lavern is a Certified Business Coach and founder of My Booming Online Business--a blog for middle-age, global, uptown women. She is on a mission to transform entrepreneurs' finances by teaching the action set, mindset and skill set needed to get launched + make money.

Comments

  1. Awesome! I bookmarked this for future reference.

  2. donna merrill
    Twitter:
    :

    Hi Rachel,

    We have to Be our Brand in order to succeed and you sure gave great ways to do so! When people think of our name, they have to immediately think of what we do, how we do it, and most importantly our personality.

    How do we find out? By our feedback. Sometimes I’m a little shocked of how others perceive me. I think to myself Wow..I’m all that? Feedback from your blogs, social media and products are the best way to find out how we are perceived.

    We do have to carefully understand how we want to be perceived…friendly, knowledgeable, the list goes on and on. My main focus is on customer service. I know that the “end game” of my brand needs to be recognized as good customer service.

    I can go on and on about this subject I’m so passionate about, but I won’t bore you with the details lol.

    Fantastic message and I will pass it on!

    -Donna
    donna merrill recently posted…Fear Is Just Business As UsualMy Profile

    • You cannot bore me Donna 🙂

      I, too, can talk incessantly about branding because I love it so.  My branding coach even suggested that I become a branding coach and I just might pursue it once I implement all of the things she is teaching me.  I know that I would love helping others craft a brand identity.  God knows that it is no longer enough to relate–we you must resonate.

      Wishing you a Happy July 4!

      Online Biz Boomer Babe recently posted…Technology is Not a Four-Letter WordMy Profile

  3. sherman smith
    Twitter:
    :

    Hey Rachel,

    You made some excellent points here about branding. When I first started my home business, I didn’t know anything about branding, although the leaders in the particular network marketing company were teaching us this. I flew over my head up until I started blogging and doing online marketing… that’s when I got the aha moment.

    But yes, if you want to be successful, you must first focus on you. You are the leader, and like John C. Maxwell said, everything falls upon leaders. Whoever you are spreads out through your organization and the way people perceive you. At the same time, like Donna said, we have to be cautious on how we want people to perceive us as well. We want to give them the idea that we mean business and like you, want them to succeed and provide what it takes to fulfill their needs.

    Thanks for sharing Rachel! Have great weekend ahead!
    sherman smith recently posted…Why You’re Not Generating Traffic From Your Target MarketMy Profile

    • Hi Sherman,

      When I studied branding in college, it sort of flew over my head also.  It did not become real to me until I decided to bring my offline business online 🙂

      When I am branding, I care about appealing to my target market’s emotional needs.  As humans, we assign meaning to everything–either consciously or unconsciously. So I thin of the “thing” I sell, is not really the value I provide. The “thing” is a vehicle for an emotional transaction. The brand value is providing an emotional solution to the emotional need. I want to know what they are after emotionally.  I want to design their emotional experience journey.  That’s how I personally approach it.  I hope that makes sense 🙂

      I really appreciate your popping by to add your voice and I wish you a fun-filled July 4 Holiday!

       

      Online Biz Boomer Babe recently posted…How Thoughts Can Sabotage Your BusinessMy Profile

  4. Hey Rachel

    I am supremely grateful to be connecting with you! Your brilliant insights and eloquent style of writing has definitely stolen my heart! #HUGSSSS

    Yes, “branding the heck out of your business’ is Step 1 of your Marketing Plan! LOL To me, branding is a promise – of quality, value, consistency, trust commitment and service. One definition that I stumbled upon stuck with me: “Branding is what people say about you once you leave the room” – it encompasses far more than just the tangible logos and colors. It is an emotional connection – that tug of heart that is quite inimitable! 😀

    “emotional response to emotional needs” – PERFECT, Rachel!!!

    Keep writing…keep stunning us…Muaah

    Kitto
    Krithika Rangarajan recently posted…Persist to Progress, Progress to ProsperMy Profile

  5. Well said Rachel. Branding has changed so much over the years, now it’s pretty much everything you do and say – particularly online. I occasionally mentor new authors and this is an area they really struggle with because it’s hard enough to accept what it’s going to take to get your book into the hands of readers without having to worry about what you say or do online. What man said he absolutely refused to deal with it at all because to him “branding” was like something you to do a cow and he was an artist. Not surprisingly, an artist that didn’t sell many books, but his pride was in tact I suppose. Thanks for the tips and inspiration.
    Marquita Herald recently posted…Stepping Stones: AdversityMy Profile

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