I’m guessing when you first started out in business you were told to complete a business plan. All 150 pages of it! The business plan took you through your S.M.A.R.T. goals, your finances, projected income, your marketing strategies and your competition. “Take a look around and see who your competitors are”.
Am I also correct when I say, you’re more than likely a year or two into your business and your brand is not you? You’ve grabbed bits and pieces from your competition and your branding is a mish-mash – and so much so your business actually ends up looking like them. Or worse, it blends in.
Hey – I’ve been there too. When I first started 3 years ago, I had a website that looked like everyone else’s. In fact I can honestly say my business cards, website and my copy were all so boring and I’m a designer.
Let me explain.
We’re not talking about branding. Branding includes your logo, the design elements like textures, fonts and color.
But your brand is so much more than this. In order to create a brand you need to dive into understanding the very core of you, of which includes:
- Your why – why do you do what you do? Why are you in business and why do you serve the people you do?
- Your vision – how is your business going to have an impact – in a year, or two or 5? This vision can also include the vision of your customers’ future.
- Your values – do you want to be run of the mill? Make a quick buck or are you in it for the long haul? Would you like to have a business that is a commodity or do you value the relationships you have with your customers – so they come back time and time again?
So in order to create an extraordinary brand – you need to be just that – EXTRA-ordinary. Build a brand that stands from the rest, that pops out from the competition and by doing that you need to include your authentic self & personality.
I can openly say once I came across this concept – I thought what the heck is being authentic? I didn’t have a clue. I never really knew how to be genuine. I’ve had 20 years in corporate and in the sales and marketing field.
But now I look back, those first 12 months everything was generic. My website & copy content was generic. I thought I had to be all formal and all grown up like, in my writing, on my website, in my branding but it didn’t quite resonate with me or my audience.
I guess it was the time I decided to take my whole business online. I discovered a little bit more to life and that was leading it from the heart. A friend once said to me “listen to your heart and not your head”.
I started being more about what is real and started listening from within. After all the business I own is mine and it is here to stay.
In order to have an extraordinary brand, be more authentic. Integrate the fundamentals of who you are, your personality, what you believe in, your values into your blog posts – into your website.
People need more from you than just your product or service. My mentor Marie Forleo has always said,
It’s not what you say or do, it’s how you package it.
Infuse more of your authenticity into your brand package – and avoid at all times to blend in with your competitors.
We need you to help us to sit up and take notice of your business.
Can you imagine if Apple or Virgin blended in?
One of the best resources that helped me understand a little more about how I roll was Sally Hogshead’s book How the World Sees You, Discover Your Highest Value through the Science of Fascination.
This book teaches you how to identify your strengths [& ignore your flaws] and what your advantages are to create your anthem.