Today’s post is somewhat focused on making sure that you are growing a solid brand. As I have observed businesses grow, there are a few things that I think they can do better as they are building a brand. I am covering three mistakes that entrepreneurs make when they are building a brand.
1. Confusing trends for impact.
They see logos, colors, business plans, promotions or finding more of what they hope to have in their lives and these kinds of things begin to pop up everywhere! Because they are seeing these things all over the place, they decide that these are the correct ways in which to build a brand. They may think that in order to reach success they have to start doing the same. Instead of taking the time to find their core, build a sustainable brand based on their personal WHY, their personal GOALS, and their unique VALUES, they follow the crowd. They end up lost in a sea of sameness, and never resonate with their core customers. They become one of many, instead of THE one brand the customer thinks of when they search for your niche. The way to create impact in your industry is to get you know your core, strategically build out your brand’s mission, find your ideal audience, and be building a brand based upon YOUR core–not someone else’s! This will help you stand out and create a meaningful and lasting impact when you eventually reach the eyes of those dream customers. You will be exactly what they are hoping for and they will be exactly who you are hoping for because you took the time to get to know your core and build your brand around that. Your brand should be the key source of differentiation that guides your customer’s purchase choices.
2. Spending their time adding flourishes instead of stripping their brand down to the essentials. They try to be everything for everyone!
Have you ever gone to a brand’s website, possibly for their pet photography, and noticed that they also
- offer watercolor drawings
- they can write copy for your website
- they can shine your shoes by the end of the week if you send them in by Monday?
Of course, I am being pretty sarcastic here; however, seeing entrepreneurs trying to be everything to everyone so that they do not lose out on a sale is a common theme. The issue with this is that when you try to be everything for everyone, you are turning away your dream customers. Dream customers want to work with brands that specialize in their niche. They want to know that they are getting the best for the time and investment that they are making. They care about the details and they want to work with brands that understand them and resonate with their own values.
Not long ago I visited a new salon to receive a manicure and pedicure. I was sent to wait a few minutes while the nail technician finished up with another client. The nail salon seemed to be named after the owner. When I sat down, I saw posters for:
- “Debbie’s beach body consultant program”
- “Green super anti-oxidant powders that can change your life…just ask Debbie!”
- “Want to color your hair at home? Buy your hair dye here, from Debbie”
- “Massages by Debbie”
- “Styling products from these 10 different companies available here”
Note: Name changed to protect the guilty
They also offered over 20 spa services, hair services…all within a 30′ x 15′ space. There were three rooms in the entire space and two people working there–Debbie and my nail technician. Stop and think about this for a second. How does offering that many services in a salon that small with a small staff make you feel? Do you think you would trust that they would be giving you quality and excellent work? Are these the two most talented people ever that they can provide these services and give you services that you will be excited about? Would you want to go back?
Even though I received a nice manicure, I never went back. I do not trust the place. I do not trust that they would be able to be experts in all that they had to offer based on the size of the shop and the amount of ‘flourishes’ they offered. What Debbie really needed to do was to find her core, get to know that in-depth and get spectacular at offerings that align with her core. Once she received raving reviews and customers who couldn’t wait to book their next appointment because of the excellent service, she could expand, hire more help, and build her brand and business from there–all solidly based around her core and the expertise that she offers. May I tell you one other thing? When I was getting my manicure that day, the nail technician gave me her personal card and told me to call her for eyelash extensions!
The key to building a sustainable brand is to focus on your core. Start small, know your audience to a tee, find your values, and build up intentionally over time. If you have employees, you will need to do this even more intentionally so that they can live out your brand’s core with all that they do as well. Having this figured out and in place is key in building a lasting business.
3. Thinking too much and doing too little. Not clarifying their core and then wondering why the journey is moving slowly.
Many people are stay busy reading, researching, and thinking over to-do items for their brand. They aren’t putting pencil to paper, or hand to keyboard to bust out the work that is needed to find their brand’s core to build a solid business based on that. I see a lot of people asking questions in Facebook groups saying:
- “Do you like logo A or B better (with a photo of both options)”
- “Is this tagline catchy? Would you want to buy from me?”
- “How do I find dream clients!? I seem to always get the worst ones!”
The real truth is that the people asking these questions ARE taking action. Asking these questions, thinking about them, and doing the research feels a heck of a lot like taking action. It also takes a lot of time and energy to keep up with all that work.
The thing is, they are looking in all the wrong places for their answers. They are getting an audience of people they don’t know to comment on something that audience often does not know about. Even if you have a branding expert in the crowd, that branding expert would know better than to respond, unless they knew all the details of the question-asker’s core brand. Without this audience knowing the ideal audience member, the mission, the core values, the core WHY and purpose for their brand and business, these kinds of questions are useless for the person asking them. These decisions need to be made with information, facts, strategy, care, and thought to back them up. That is what building your brand’s core does. When you take the time to build your brand intentionally, from the core — out, you won’t need the suggestions of too many others. You won’t have to spend time wondering if you are making the right decision for your ideal customer. You will know her like you know yourself and make branding decisions based on what she will respond to. These are where dream clients are made and found. You won’t need to go out and ‘find’ them. They will be naturally drawn to you and your brand because of the work you have done to create a brand that intentional and strategically resonates with your dream customers. You won’t need to know what ‘the Facebook’ thinks about your logo options. You will know which ones are right because that one resonates with your values the most and embodies your brand with its type choices, colors, and form. You won’t need to ask if people will buy from you because of your catchy tagline. Your dream customers will already be buying from you because you have structured your brand in a way that speaks to them at their core also.
Following are three branding strategies from Marie Forleo:
Building a brand is hard work, but doing it intentionally, finding your brand’s core, and building it out in a meaningful way is the only way to build a sustainable and lasting business that matters.