There is one thing that trumps every single other aspect of your business. Bigger than the product or service you offer, bigger than your marketing budget, and bigger than your staff outsourcing strategy. Neglecting this one crucial element of your business could be robbing you of growth, success, and wealth.
We are talking, of course, about your brand. Your brand is so much more than your logo or color scheme; it is the very essence of who you are. Below is an in-depth explanation of what your brand is, and how it can benefit your company. So without further ado, let’s change the way you work, and make sure that your business is putting its best foot forward.
What Is Your Brand?
In its most simplistic explanation, your brand is your reputation. We all have our own personal brand, but your business also has a brand, and as a small business owner the two are inextricably linked.
Let’s tackle your personal brand first. Think of it as ‘what people say about you when you leave the room’. Every interaction you have with another person dictates your personal brand, and in many ways, it is an unconscious creation. The way you dress, the manner in which you speak to people, and your time-keeping all contribute to your personal brand. In essence, it’s how likable you are.
Your business brand, however, is a little more carefully cultivated. It’s how you place yourself into the market, how you conduct your business, how you deal with your customers. It’s how you operate and run your company. Especially as a small business, your personal brand will have a large impact on your business brand. This is great if you have a strong and likable personal brand, but potentially damaging if it could do with some work.
There are three main ways in which your customers will gain a sense of your brand (both business and personal):
- In person
- Online and through
- Your advertising.
Below, you will find out how to make these interactions work for your benefit, but first, you need to take some time to figure out your brand. Try asking friends and colleagues to describe you in five words. You will notice differences between the kinds of words used by people who know you in a personal setting and those who know you in a professional manner.
This is because we present ourselves differently to friends and co-workers. Consider how you choose to present yourself in a professional context, and how you wish to be seen. Write down what words you would like people to think of when asked to describe you, then make sure you keep those words in mind with every interaction.
How To Showcase Your Brand In Person
This is how people will get to know your personal brand most often. Whether it be through business meetings or customers coming into your store (if you have one), your personal brand will be their first impression of your company. Start by making sure you’ve got the basics covered: Arrive in plenty of time for any meetings, always ensure that you are smartly and appropriately dressed for any interactions, and greet your clients or customers with warmth and politeness.
Strike a balance between being well-mannered, and not being overly formal. When making polite conversation, be sure to properly listen to what they are saying. Something as simple as remembering a past conversation when greeting them again can make a huge difference to them feeling wanted and cared for, which is how you want them to feel after every meeting with you.
Think about what your expectations would be as the customer, then exceed them. Take some time to map out the impression you would like to leave with them after your interaction. Be mindful of how you talk and stand; these factors are just as important as the words you are saying.
How To Showcase Your Brand Online
Once you’ve established your brand on paper and have begun to put it into practice in person, it’s time to incorporate your style into the other ways customers interact with you. Are you funny or matter-of-fact in your interactions usually? Are you quick and efficient, or do you take your time to make it an experience?
Reflect this dynamic in all aspects of your business. Companies like Slickplan can help you to create a website that will showcase your personal and business brands accurately. By setting the right tone for your website, you can let customers know what kind of business you run and create some consistency which will be comforting and familiar to your clients. There’s no point having a very business-like and straight-forward website if your personal brand is a little more casual and personable. Pick your angle and be consistent with your approach.
How To Use Your Brand In Your Advertising
You should try to inject your personality and your individual brand into everything that you do. It is easiest to do this during face to face interactions, as described above. But oftentimes, your advertising will be the very first interaction your clients have with your business.
It is very important that this initial impression fully captures your approach and lets them know who you are. Incorporate your company color scheme and logo into everything to make things immediately recognizable. If you like to use humor, make your advertising humorous; if you are all about getting the job done with the minimum amount of time and fuss, make this clear in your adverts. Every public aspect of your business should be individually capable of letting your market know who you are, how you operate, and what they should expect.
Hopefully, this basic recap guide to branding has helped to open your eyes to the importance of this crucial element in your business strategy. By cultivating and maintaining a consistent approach to your customer interactions, and how you present yourself and your company, you will benefit from instant recognition and a brand to be proud of.
My Final Words
Starting, building, and maintaining a business – whether it is online or offline – constitutes a lot of work to keep in the race and oftentimes, beat the competition. You certainly cannot be complacent as this contributed article has illustrated. You have to realize that things are ever in motion.
In a nutshell, you are what you create and you need to keep the ‘persona’ of your creation intact!
Here’s to success, consistency, and branding of your business, one step at a time.
I welcome your feedback and your ‘war stories’ in your business creation.
Images courtesy Picserver and Pixabay.