I recently interviewed Danielle M. Miller, the author of Smartypants Branding: The Ultimate Guide for Women Entrepreneurs to Getting Recognized, Being Remembered, and Making More Money in Business. We talked about branding in small companies, and what she wants small business owners to know.
First of all, a brand is about more than just choosing colors or a pretty logo or business card. Those are just a way that you represent yourself to the world, but your brand is about much more. It's about your core values, vision, mission statement, ownership, and even your own personal archetypes.
When you build your brand, you need to take into account what your core values are, what your vision is of the company, your mission statement, and how you own the business. Your own personal archetypes are who you are as a person and how you choose to interact with the world around you. There are 12 main archetypes; you are likely a combination of different archetypes, and those influence your brand identity heavily.
When Danielle works with a client on defining their brand, she likes to dig deep, as I discovered in my session with her.
● "You are your brand." Getting really clear on your brand and your point of view is critical to defining your own personal brand identity. People want to do business with you, the small business owner.
● It is OK if your message doesn't resonate with everyone. Just as large corporations like McDonald's don't resonate with everyone, neither will your own personal message and brand. Once you accept that, you will actually start attracting your ideal client.
● Many of the women Danielle works with have tons of great skills, but they aren't super clear on what they want to do, and they don't deliver a clear message. This keeps them from being as successful as they like because it confuses potential clients.It's great that they have all of these skills, but so many times women entrepreneurs don't want to clearly define themselves as one or the other, and that hurts their business.
Because we live in a digital age, where people have become so disconnected, there is this paradox where people are actually looking for ways to connect with one another. We're further apart geographically, but in many ways, we're looking for authentic connections with real people and real businesses, which is why she recommends building up your business around your personal authentic identity.
One good example of branding is Rachael Ray. She started making 30 minute meals that were super easy to make, and those were her signature offering. She has since branched out, and has built an empire. That's not where she started though;you have to just start by putting your stake in the ground and going from there.
Try to think of a brand as a reason to choose. Why would you choose Coke over Pepsi, or Wal-Mart over Target? When you are establishing your brand, you are giving people a reason to choose you.