If I asked you to define the word ‘brand’ – what would you say?
If you answered: “it’s your business logo, your business card, letterhead, envelopes, with compliments slips, marketing material, brochures, website etc”, you’ve responded similarly to many other business owners.
While these things are all very important they are really more about the ‘branding’ elements that will help you to communicate your brand message to your prospects and clients.
Your ‘brand’ goes much deeper than these ‘branding’ elements.
This week I shared a tip on Facebook, which sparked an interesting question. My post read:
“How many times have you reached out and added value to your community. This is vital for building your brand and reputation.”
Someone then asked the question:
“Sometimes it’s hard to find that niche and be unique. Everyone is copying an idea or another. How does one truly stand out? Integrity and honesty of course – but any other thoughts?”
What a great question.
I like to think of your ‘brand’ as the perception others have of you and your business. It’s your promise of value. Your reputation.
So, want to know what your brand’s secret sauce is? It’s YOU!
There may be hundreds of other coaches and consultants working in your field offering similar systems and processes as you do. However, what will truly set you apart – is you, your unique qualities, your mission and purpose, your core values and what you stand for.
Even though you may be speaking about a similar topic or sharing similar tips and advice, what WILL be different is ‘how’ you deliver the information and ‘HOW’ you show up in all of your interactions with your prospects and clients.
And while you may be concerned that others may try to copy you, rest assured that imitators will stand out for all the wrong reasons and most likely will end up tarnishing their reputation because of the false persona they are trying to portray.
In fact, trying to be something or someone that you’re not is extremely difficult to maintain and will often result in a confused brand and marketing message. And, a confused prospect says ‘no’ and will move on and that’s not what you want.
So, remember being authentic – just being ‘you’ is important.
If you find it difficult to identify and define your core brand, here are four key areas you should consider when identifying your brand’s secret sauce.
1. Your Brand Attributes:
Your brand attributes are your characteristics; your unique qualities; your quirkiness.
- List 5-6 features/qualities that you would say are unique about you.
- What do people often admire about you?
- Do you have a quirkiness about you that is often mentioned as being something unique and essentially ‘you’?
2. Your Brand Strengths:
Your brand strengths are your gifts and talents – things that you are naturally good at.
- List 5 to 6 of your greatest strengths.
- What do people most admire about you?
- Think about some of your achievements. What strengths and talents did you use to secure these successes?
3. Your Brand Promise:
Your brand promise is what you guarantee people will receive when working with you.
- What are you committed to delivering time and time again to each and every client you work with?
- When dealing with people – what can they expect in terms of how you interact with them and make them feel throughout your relationship?
- If you were to ask several of your clients about their experience working with you – what would they say?
4. Your Brand Essence:
Your brand essence is really the heart and soul of your brand. [I use the Branding With ArchetypesTM system to uncover these elements].
Here are a few things to consider when defining your essence – the heart and soul of your brand:
- List 3-6 brand values?
- How does your brand make people feel?
- If your brand were a character, describe what that would look, sound and be like?
After identifying and combining each of these areas – your brand’s secret sauce, you too can define and build your own authentic signature brand.
Having a strong authentic brand will help you distinguish yourself from your competitors and will be impossible for anyone to copy. You’ll also begin to attract your ideal clients as they’ll instantly resonate with your brand message because you’ve made it very easy for them to understand exactly who you are, what you do, and how you can help them. Pretty cool, yes?!
Here’s to identifying your brand’s secret sauce so that you too can stand out powerfully from the crowd to get more clients, get noticed, hired and paid what you’re worth.
Was this helpful? What do you think some of YOUR quirky behaviors are that you can incorporate into your brand? Please leave me a comment – it’s always great to read your comments. If you found this article helpful please Like, Tweet and Share it. I really appreciate it!
Until next week, stay inspired!
Excellent food for thought Annemarie! These are questions we ask all the time.
Thanks Craig! They are such great questions to really hone in on what makes you special! I know I struggled with this for many years, so when I finally ‘got it’ – I was thrilled!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate it. Stay inspired!
Thank you Annemarie – This is a great post, and I’ve enjoyed reading through your blog.I’ve always thought of the sort of “personal professional competitive advantage” that you describe to be defined as the thing(s) that are personally unique, valuable and exceedingly difficult to duplicate or catch up with.
I like the way that you describe the personal brand as character. “If your brand were a character, describe what that would look, sound and be like” That could be a character like Captain Jack Sparrow, Tommy Boy or Foghorn Leghorn, or it could be a *character* like honesty, integrity, courage, creativity, dependability.I’ve also heard it described as acting and being in such a way that if you were brought to trial for doing something counter to who you are, nobody would convict you and nobody would believe it.
It is the thing that everyone expects of you, because you have continuously delivered it.
Hi John, thank you. Once people understand this, it can be such a relief for them. Often because they were trying to be something totally opposite or different from their natural personality. Is someone boisterous and funny? Don’t try to hide that – incorporate that into your brand and make sure all your packages and programs are somehow sprinkled with terminologies that pick up on that.
Embrace your uniqueness; let it shine. Once you do, you can build an absolutely powerful and influential brand that is unique and VERY difficult to copy.
A great and thought provoking blog post – thank you Annemarie.
I always struggle with branding and creating / maintaining – even seeing my brand image. I get the theory, but you’ve helped me think about it and apply it to my website brand a little more.
Hi Claire, thank you – I’m so pleased you found it thought provoking. Defining your brand essence can be a difficult process – and you’re certainly not alone. I think that it’s because we’re often so close to what we do – we don’t recognize our own strengths and value. I use two systems when taking clients through this process: 360 Reach Branding and Branding with Archetypes. In combination these are powerful tools in helping service-based businesses in defining their essence – their heart and soul!
Thanks Annemarie, this article inspire me. I understand the theory and the way you give to know our brand sauce. Nevertheless, I still have difficulties to apply the method to my physical business. Is it normal?
Hi Clo Lag,
A great question. When thinking of your ‘brand’ it is far more than your business card, logo, physical premises etc. Your ‘brand’ is really your reputation; it’s what people think of you. It’s the perception that others have of you. So you can see it’s important to be clear in the above elements, including your special sauce, and the ‘experience’ of you – and once you are consistent with this message in everything you do, you will create the perception and reputation you want other people to have of you.
So, what experience do you want to leave with your customers?
Thanks, I Will put it to Use.
My pleasure – glad you found it helpful.
Fabulous! I am pleased to have found you Annemarie.
We will be bringing some of the best Italian food products selected out of Italy, the land I love.
Chef Chucks Cucina, will be my branded food line, I have a passion for cooking with superior foods.
I feel the difference in me to excel above all of my competitors. Just being myself will allow me the freedom to endure in my future success. I thank you for sharing your wisdom and knowledge!
You give a great sense of confidence…
All the best 😉
Hi Chef Chuck, wonderful!! Your food products sound amazing!! Now it’s just a matter of getting very clear on your ideal client and amalgamating the two elements (your brand and your target market) in all of your branding and communications so that you speak directly to the emotions and desires of your ideal client. It’s a winning recipe!! [Sorry, couldn’t resist! :)] Much success with your business!
This article is like “question remover.”
Great resource, and one I’ll pull up again and refer people to.
Thank you for sharing,
Thanks Keri, it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint what is truly unique about ourselves. However once you identify your secret sauce and continue to exude that in all you do – the results can be amazing!