Are you sick of floundering in your personal and professional goals?
Are you ready to reap the harvest of the seeds you’ve planted over the years?
I get it and I’ve been there. In fact, I am still there in some ways, as this branding thing is a journey and a process.
I have my own brands that I want to grow (ADORN African Beauty and In + Around Houston to name a couple). I have a deep desire to help individuals like you move past personal and professional obstacles and start sharing your God-given awesomeness through unique, stand-out brands.
I have a lot that I can be grateful about, but I also have a long way to go.
Maybe you can relate.
There are some ways in which you’re getting it right. And hopefully you have some measurable indicators to evaluate that (i.e. awareness, partnerships, income). There are some ways in which you are a hot mess and need some advice. I only know because I am you! Maybe or maybe not.
One thing is certain though. You need a plan.
I learned during my years helping organizations and individuals brand themselves online that a plan is essential… A plan for figuring out why your brand exists (the tough inner work I often talk about on this blog); for effectively communicating your message to your publics; for keeping all your endeavors in line with that message.
This can seem straight forward for your usual business, but brands are different. Brands have souls. They are living and breathing. They need to be nurtured and explored in order to succeed.
So because we’re all on this journey to excellence together, I want to share a practical plan based on my experience that can get you from uncertainty about what your brand stands for in certain contexts to walking in the confidence of knowing that you’re communicating what you’re passionate about to the world through your brand.
Here’s the plan in three simple steps:
- Figure out what sets your brand apart.
What is unique about your brand as compared to your competitors?My most recent work was fundraising for a local charity here in Texas. One of our biggest funding sources was a resale shop, so marketing the shop was important to my work. So how does a small-town resale shop compete with the national Goodwill company with a store popping up on every corner? You key into who you are.
This resale shop was part of the community, something that their competition is not. Trying to be like Goodwill is silly; Fussing about Goodwill’s profit structure is futile. Understanding and focusing on your strengths is the best way to go.
Brand YOU to the best of your ability. List at least three things that make you great. In this instance – they are doing business in their community; they are using that money to help their own neighbors; they are faith-based, supported by local churches.
- Streamline all your marketing + communications to deliver your distinct message.
Now you know why you’re awesome; but does your market?
Once you have a healthy understanding of what you’re bringing to the table, you should check all the messages you’re sending out to make sure they’re communicating your awesomeness.I once worked with a telecommunications company that was undergoing a serious overhaul. Customers had become seriously dissatisfied with the quality of the product and lack of customer service. I was brought in to use social media and technology to fix some of these issues, both in-house and with customers. Le sigh. The logo had been changed but most of the communication the customers got had the old logo. Customer emails were being sent to email accounts that no longer existed. Product changes were being made that the customer services reps had no idea of.
The company was doing something great on the inside — fixing big problems and becoming proactive in processes… but none of the customers knew about any of it.
You did a lot of work on your brand last year… have you communicated it to your audience? If you have a blog or website, did you share about new features you’ve added? If you launched a new product, did you announce it in your newsletter?
Also, remember to TRASH everything that is not in line with your brand’s unique voice. It’s only right, guys.
- Develop a STRONG WHY for every decision made henceforth.
Your new insight won’t do you any good unless you implement it. You now have a standard, a guideline. You know who you are and have set up an expectation from your followers. It’s now up to you to keep up the good work.The best way to do that is to ask yourself WHY you are doing something before you do. And if the why is not strong, throw it out. Believe me, you will save yourself a lot of stress and heartache… and certainly some money.
That’s it, ya’ll. Remember that this is a process.
Candidly, I have some branding projects that are a far ways from where I want them to be.
I count not myself to have apprehended… but this one thing I do – forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press to the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
I bring something different to the table and I am going to keep bringing it to you IN LIVING COLOR.
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