“Brand” refers to the sum of all the things that represent you in your business: it’s based on your core values, your ideas, your preferences—all of you—and it shows up in everything from your blog content to the graphics you choose, to your networking style, to everything else you do on line.
Start Early to Build Your Brand
Your brand will continue to evolve as you do, but it’s a good idea to establish it early if possible. If you are able to present your brand in a cohesive package early in your career,your success will likely come more quickly and more easily.
Good idea, but if the Internet is new to you, how exactly do you do it? There are quite a few moving parts, and it can seem confusing, intimidating, and overwhelming.
Branding, One Step at a Time
As with most things, start by taking one step at a time. Spend some time thinking about who you really are. What do you value and care about? What will you be happy to spend a long time doing? Studies show that people are actually more successful when they work at something they care about.
Think about Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Steven Jobs–billionaires–but each one has said that it wasn’t ever money that drove him. It was the passion for doing what they did with excellence.
For a start, answer these questions:
- What makes you special?
- What do you enjoy?
- What do you know a lot about or excel in?
- What do people see when they look at you?
So, Who Are You?
What is it that you have to share with people, and what will make them listen to you? At this point, you may be thinking, “Nothing!” But that’s not true. Every one has something special. Your first step is to discover yours.
A good way to help you figure out what works for you is to look at other brands and entrepreneurs, especially ones that impress you. What works for them? Why do you like them more than their competitors? It’s like asking yourself, why do you choose Coke over Pepsi? Tide over other brands? The success of those brands happened on purpose, and yours will, too. In every case, they decided who they were and then connected with a target market of buyers who wanted their brand and what they had to offer.
How Do You Stand Out?
Now, here are three important questions for you:
– What do you want people to think of when it comes to you and your business?
– Who exactly is your target market? What are their demographics?
– Will your brand, your product or service, and your message as you envision it,mesh with that target market? If not, why not? What is not aligned and what needs to change?
Does Your Unique Appeal Attract Buyers?
You are looking for the spot where who you truly are and what you have to offer connects with your audience. Understanding how this process has worked for successful brands will help you find what works for you. It’s not copying at all—you want to be your authentic self; it’s more like using models to learn the lessons that are best for you.
No one appeals to everyone, and that’s not even remotely the goal. But you can find great success by appealing to even a small segment of the vast potential market out there. The key is to have an authentic brand and a product or service of value and then to communicate with that target group in a way they will understand.
Everyone can have a voice on the internet; everyone can have a product or service. The playing field is open to all. That’s spectacular, isn’t it? But it creates competition overwhelm. The way to survive and thrive is to know who you are, offer an excellent product or service, and communicate so that your audience understands exactly how your product/service differentiates from your competitors’ offers and will perform for them.
That kind of branding is anything but accidental and plenty of work as well, but it is the branding that pays off in your own satisfaction and with monetary results in this competitive world.
Better Branding = Better Writing
If you are a writer, you know your readers will be loyal to you when they “know, like, and trust” you. No matter what your genre, your readers have expectations about what you will deliver. It’s not a laundry detergent. It’s personal. Your authenticity will come through, and readers expect it.