More businesses are now recognising the value of ‘branding’ however many don’t really understand the key elements that will enable them to create a strong and memorable Signature Brand.
Your brand is much more than your letterhead, your tag line, your business name, your business card, or your USP (unique selling proposition), etc. Your brand is your reputation, your promise of value and the experience and results a client can expect through working with you.
Here are 5 key elements that will support you in building a strong brand:
1. A strong brand is clear on its mission and purpose
A strong brand is clear on its mission and continues to stand up for what it believes in, no matter that. Your conviction (which is motivated by your core values) is at the heart of the work you do and is what continues to drive you forward.
Service-based business owners whose work is aligned with their mission and purpose are extremely passionate about what they are doing and continue to portray this message in all of their communications.
Their mission, purpose and passion for their work are unmistakable and are what enables them to make strong connections with their prospects, their clients and the people with whom they continue to network.
For instance, my mission and purpose is to support purpose-driven service-based businesses (specialists in their field) in discovering and living their full potential. It saddens me when I see people undervaluing their amazing gifts and talents and it’s my goal to inspire and influence possibility and greatness in each of my clients, so they can finally believe in themselves, create meaningful businesses and continue to build their brands, their credibility and finally charge what they’re worth and get it.
My mission and purpose determines the content for my blog posts, my Twitter posts and other communications, and is what inspired me to create The Self Belief Movie. Each message aims to convey optimism, excitement, empowerment and triumph. This is very important to me and fuels my desire to be of service to my clients.
Mark J Kay, in his conceptual paper ‘Strong Brands & Corporate Brands’ stated, “… strong corporate brands are distinctive.” One of the companies he referred to was The Body Shop, where he goes on to say, “Unlike other small businesses, the founders [of The Body Shop] were clearly driven by values.. They hold strong beliefs about business and they carefully crafted mission or values statements to communicate their specific goals.” The Body Shop is a prime example of a company that “has made meaningful connections with customers.”
- Are you attracting and building meaningful connections?
- Are your communications resonating with people you want to support, who share similar goals and can benefit from investing in you?
- Or are you just creating a list of names and followers of people that have no idea about what you stand for and therefore do not participate, respond to or take action on the advice you offer?
2. A strong brand understands and leverages its uniqueness
As a service-based business owner – to position yourself strongly within your field you should strive to build a reputation as a specialist. To achieve this, it’s imperative that you are able to define your strengths, talents and what makes you unique, while also feeling comfortable in positioning yourself as a specialist.
Unfortunately, many service-based business owners fail to truly understand what makes them unique and feel very uncomfortable claiming specialist status.
If you don’t recognise the value you offer your clients, how can you expect prospects to understand the benefits and outcomes they’ll receive should they decide to invest in your services?
Remember, while there may always be additional information to learn, what’s important is your knowledge, strengths, reputation and the ability to support your clients in overcoming their obstacles and achieving solid results which is the value you offer. Be proud of that and continue to promote your skills and expertise to your ideal prospects in all of your marketing and communications.
3. A strong brand is clear on its target market
For service-based businesses who cannot define their ideal clients’ issues and problems while also demonstrating how they can support these clients in overcoming these issues often communicate inconsistent, mixed messages. And, a confused prospect, who doesn’t understand what you do or more importantly, how you can support them, will say ‘no’.
When a business owner doesn’t generate the response they had hoped for they continue to increase their marketing efforts, however as they continue to send out a mixed message, they continue to confuse prospects.
It’s an unpleasant vicious circle that can lead to frustration and marketing burnout.
As Personal Branding Evangelist – William Arruda aptly states: “Personal branding is not about being all things to all people or trying to please all of the people all of time; it’s about taking a stand and being comfortable knowing that some will not agree with your point of view. Of course, this does not mean being contrary for the sake of it, either. You must be clear about what you believe and willing to express those beliefs.”
- Are you trying to be all things to all people?
- Do you feel like you’re on the verge of marketing burnout because despite all the marketing you’ve been doing, you’re just not generating the results you were hoping for?
You may just be sending out mixed and confused messages.
4. A strong brand maintains a consistent on-brand message
It can take a significant amount of time, energy and commitment to build a strong brand, however your brand and reputation can be tarnished by an inappropriate post, picture or conversation you have with members of your community.
Ensure you have key brand management and communication strategies to support you in maintaining a consistent on-brand message.
Be mindful of what you post, your interactions with your community, the pictures you share, the groups you join and the people you associate with. All of these things can negate all of the hard work you’ve been doing if the message you send out is off-brand.
5. A strong brand continues to build solid relationships with its community
Is building and maintaining solid relationships with your community important to you? It should be. Are you interacting and sharing valuable information with your community?
- Are you responding promptly to your community’s comments and questions?
- Do you thank them for sharing your messages with their extended community?
These are all activities you should be doing every day.
Remember, your brand is your reputation; ensure you maintain it – your business’s survival depends on it!
Are each of these 5 elements evident in your brand? Find out by registering for a complimentary Brand Check Up.