Launching my brand turned out to be more than I thought and just when I believed I had everything set, I hit the Branding Roadblock.
My site was launched, I created a fly logo and a name I couldn't wait for everyone to see. I did what I knew to do: create a robust, mobile-ready site with eye-catching graphics and a blog filled with content.
How could I lose?
At least so I thought.
Have you had this happen to you too?
What gives? Well, I seemed to have missed an important aspect of building my online business and brand.
I didn't take serious inventory of what I was offering and what the purpose of my brand should be.
What is my brand providing that is unique enough to get my audience to care?
These are just a few questions many of us Solopreneurs have failed to ask ourselves as we began creating our websites. Did you think of who would want to care about your business or your brand?
When you fail to understand what you provide, others will fill in the gap for you. Let's go through some top actions you can take to avoid branding mistakes.
What's a Brand?
- Focus on Anything That Makes You Unique
It can be your style, your customer service, unique products or services presentation. This is where most brands shine in creativity. This is where you can unapologetically incorporate your personality in some way into your brand and company culture because this is how your customers can quickly identify you from the crowd.
- Business Expectations You Create with Your Customers in Mind
It comprises of everything; from the quality of your website to your customer service to your actual products and services. This goes beyond a name and logo! Expectations encompass your buyer's entire experience with your company.
- Your Reputation
A strong brand adds remarkable value to product and services. Customers expect a certain quality based just on the brand name. Heck, folks pay for names. If they recognize your brand and have a wonderful association with it, they're likely to choose it over other similar products, even if it costs a more. Think about Apple, Sony, Hermes, Coach. The list goes on. Consider actively promoting your 5-star reputation and drawing in clients that way.
Avoid Others Defining Your Brand for You
Use these 5 simple and proven steps to setting your brand up for success:
- Identify the Market Need
Jot down some ideas. We all have them. Most don't have to be polished diamonds. Just think of ideas where you can help someone improve on themselves or their business. How can you help them excel?Now go through these ideas and pick the top three. Do some quick research. You can even do a 3- to 5-question survey online through services like Quora or Facebook. Ask those around you (family, friends, coworkers, etc.) if they would pay for your proposed solution to an observed problem; or at least, learn more about your idea. Based on the response, choose the idea with the highest positive response. Combine this with your interest in the topic and market and this will be your new potential business.
- Identify Your Audience
Once you have the idea, who will be your prime focus? Who has the needs that require your solution? Where are they? How can you get your solution in front of them? One way to accomplish this is to find a connection (person or event) that can connect you to your audience. Join groups on LinkedIn and Meetup that cater to your prospective audience. You can even find associations that will connect your potential customers.
- Build Relationships & Avoid Being a Social Leech
Now that you have your audience in focus and have found them, it's time to let them get to know you or want to know you. You can learn more about their specific needs and build a relationship. You don't want to be the social leech that no one wants at the party. Be willing to give (free advice, free solutions, etc.) something that will display your aptitude and willingness to be someone they can depend on.
- Provide Internal BIDS
You want to help your brand launch on a successful, stable footing. To make sure that you and everyone involved understands what this business is about, you should have clearly stated and identifiable values that will guide your brand. Set you your BIDS. They can alter and update as your brand grows and other ideas become important.
Benefit – in order for your solutions to be considered valuable, they must be beneficial in addressing issue(s). Unless your audience believes that your brand provides value and benefits to them and their address their needs; your brand will fall short. Present solutions that your audience can not only benefit from but draw on for inspiration, support, and success.
Intent – creating your brand with a purpose is essential. Your intent to the public is critical in how you handle situations on all fronts. You should also create metrics to measure how well your brand is doing and how well your intentions are being received. Without a purpose, many failed brands spin their wheels and are left wondering why they are unable to move beyond their limitations.
Dependable – being dependable is a characteristic that many top brands share. Be it customer service, products, sales, there is a level that their audience has grown to seek out and expect. You want to be a trustworthy brand that provides your customers what they can rely on.
Standards – high-quality products and services are sought after at all times. There is no one who likes to spend money and get less than what they bargained for. Set your brand apart by constantly setting your standards high and aiming to meet them with everything you do.
- Do the Work
Know that building a successful brand will NOT happen overnight or with little to no effort on your part. Waiting for sparks to fly between your brand and profits is a dream that doesn't come true. You have to put actions behind your words and dream to produce a strong brand. Not all brands will be expected to change the world, but doing positive actions within your given community shows that your brand is not self-centered or all about making a profit.
Taking the time to understand what makes a brand and using the aforementioned 5 steps will help you launch a successful and profitable business. Revisit these steps often, especially if you find yourself having issues.
Take on different aspects of your brand to work on as you grow. This will allow you to focus on your business and dreams with clear goals and have a sense of accomplishments throughout your process.
To your continued learning & success!