This post is part 1 of a 6 part series on branding that will be featured exclusively on the Successher blog.
As a business owner you’re likely familiar with the concept of branding and while you may understand why you need to do it, you may be less sure about how to do it. If you don’t already know, good branding starts with a good brand story. This brand story isn’t just what you tell people it is when you write the text for your “About” page, it’s the message they receive when they see your website, your social media, your product images or service descriptions and even when they see you and your other customers and clients. You can’t control exactly what everyone will perceive but you can plan out your portion of the story. In order to do that though, you have to be clear on what it is exactly that you want to say. Here are 5 ways that you can work to define your brand.
1. Be honest about what you’re willing to give: In order to be consistent with your branding you need to take a moment to be honest about what your commitment level can be in the long-term. One of the worst things you can do is begin something that realistically you won’t want to or be able to maintain because it can send a signal that something is wrong behind the scenes to both present and potential customers. By taking the time now to assess how involved you want to be you can avoid issues later.
2. Fully understand your product or service: As a business owner you should be able to tell someone exactly what you sell or do in 1or 2 clear sentences. If you can’t, then it’s too complicated. Similarly, you need to be aware of both the strengths and the shortcomings of your products or services which will best allow you to highlight the pros and explain the cons.
3. Know who your actual customer or client is: For every business there are two types of potential customers or clients, those who are ideal and those who are actual. The ideal customers or clients are the people that a business thinks their product or service is for, while the actual customers and clients are the ones spending their money. It’s important that you know the difference so that your story can be targeted to the people who are shopping with you.
4. Focus your message: Your product or service may be the best ________, and the most _______, and the least likely to ________ etc. but your message shouldn’t say all of that, at least not all at once. When discussing your brand you want to zero in on one thing at a time. This is beneficial because it allows you to see what aspects(s) customers truly care about and which ones they don’t.
5. Pay attention to feedback: If someone has something to say about your product or service then listen. This is especially important if that feedback is critical even if it doesn’t initially seem constructive. Because your brand story is something that’s told by both you and those who interact with, purchase, review, and comment on what you’re doing you need to respect outside voices as valued contributors.
Starting to author your own brand story is a crucial step for every business owner. Take control now as it’s the foundation on which the rest of your brand will be built. Be sure to check the blog on Wednesday January 24, 2018 for part 2 of this series which will focus on curating content for social media.