The other day I was talking to someone on Facebook about starting their online business. They asked a few questions and one of them shocked me a little. I was glad they were thinking in this way. They asked me about branding. This gave me an idea to write this article on tips and ways to brand yourself. While I finished discussing with them about branding I was also taking mental notes on how I wanted to write the article. (Thank you Kevin!)
Businesses Can Fail
Before you even begin your business, you should think about what kind of business you want. This is where you need to do some research. If you don’t do any research you will be doomed to fail. Obviously after research you should you should formulate plan about the brand for yourself.
Unfortunately, many people just shoot from the hip. They want to make money like yesterday and they jump from one project to the next without taking the time to let the business or project mature. According to Bloomberg 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs fail within the first 18 month of their startup. There are many factors involved with this statistic. I am not saying this to discourage you, but instead to make sure you plan.
Tips For Branding Yourself
Now that we have that bit of info out of the way let us get to some tips for branding. That is why you are hear after all. I did need to give you some focus though first.
- Define yourself(Business)- This allows you to focus on what is important to you and your customers. Figure out who your target customer is and what you can provide to them that is unique. Then each time you do something in your business make sure it satisfies your target market’s needs. Of course, this will require some research both about your target market and your business.
Keep in mind to also check out your competition. (If there isn’t any competition you might have a bad target.) Competition is good! See what they are doing and how they are branding themselves as well. Taking note of their colors, format, presentations, and styling. Do not copy them, be unique or you won’t build your brand very well.
- Keep it short and clear- Now that you have an idea of the direction through defining yourself, you need to build that idea out. Keep it short and clear. You cannot be everything to everyone. Stay focused on your target market and show them what makes you special.
Write out a one to two sentence branding statement. This also keeps you focused on what you should be doing as well as letting others know why you are worth listening too. You can use this as a tagline or just simply as something to make sure you are on the right track when communicating with your customers.
- Where are you now- Take an honest assessment of where you are now with your personal brand. I say this because not everyone who is reading this is just starting their business. If you have no personal brand yet, that is okay. If people perceive you in a certain way is it good or bad? Once you answer those questions you must move to the next step.
- Game plan- Now that you have looked at who you are, what you want to be, and where you are now. You need to figure out how to get there. It is time to set up a plan. I know many people hate planning, but to have a successful business you need to plan for many things. How to make your brand what you want it to be is no exception.
Start looking at your blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram. Look at each of your accounts, maybe you don’t have all of them. If you do and they are not all connected with common headers and profile pictures you should do that immediately. Make sure your profile pictures are good. Meaning if you are selling tea your image should not be a hobbit because you like JRR Tolkien; unless your business is Hobbit Tea.
- Communication- This could also be called implementation. You need to communicate and distribute that new brand you have decided to portray. It may seem hard at first but all you need to do is be consistent with your message.
Use your social media accounts. Don’t just write one blog post. Make sure you share it on all your media accounts. Don’t forget that one called YouTube. You might be surprised how easy it is to make a short video about your blog post. I personally use a screen recorder that you can read about here.
Follow leaders in your market and talk to them. Ask advice and as you build your brand you can even ask to guest post for those leaders. This is a great way to become a leader yourself. People will see you for the unique value you bring to the market and will be happy to follow you too!
Is Branding Important?
Branding is perception. How people see you. If people see you as a liar or cheat, do you think they will ever trust you to buy anything from you? No of course not. You need to build a trustworthy brand that can sustain your business for time to come. Having a good personal brand is the way you can do that.
It is so important that major corporations spend millions upon millions of dollars every year to protect their brands. Think about Apple, McDonald’s, Nordstrom’s, and many more. Each one of them is well established and you have a certain perception of them. This is not an accident. They may spend millions every year to keep their brands the way they are but they make even more because of their brand.
The good news is you do not need to spend millions. In fact, all you need to do is put a little work into it and you will have a nice little brand that you can make your own personal fortune with.
Can I Change My Brand?
You can change it, but it takes effort and planning. Remember I mentioned earlier in step 3 that not everyone is just starting their business? The reason I stated this is that you can change the image of your brand. Just go through the steps outlined above it will take time. It won’t happen overnight but if you stay committed it will work out.
Don’t worry as your business evolves so will your brand. It will slowly change as you change and people will accept that. Just don’t try to be someone you are not.
Conclusions About Branding Yourself
It is very important to build your brand as your business grows. It is not a static thing. Every business should sit down once a year and run through the steps of:
- Keep it Clear
- Evaluate (where are you now)
- Game plan
By doing so you can build a successful brand. I have been doing this for a while online. This blog is now over 18 months old. Sometimes, I take time off for family, but I always come back to it. I have no plans for shutting down anytime soon. In fact, I am planning on expanding to have other services available.
Thank you again Kevin for the idea.
As always you can make comments or ask questions below.
I hope you enjoyed my 5 tips and ways to brand yourself. Please like and share it if you did. If you are looking at starting an online business of your own, please check out my top recommendations. You can utilize them even if you have a business already and just want to learn more. You can also check out all my recommendations as well.