There are a number of reasons why building a biz is hard work. One of them is that we have to walk such a fine line sometimes…We need our businesses to look & feel & sound professional, but we also need them to have some personality, to be unique and to stand out. It’s hard, right?
While talking with biz owners lately one theme has come up over and over again
Sometimes in our efforts to be professional we strip all of the personality out of our brands, we worry about sharing to much of ourselves, we hold back from telling our stories, we try too hard to make our biz look like what everyone else is doing, we are worried about turning people off.
The result is a bland brand
One that doesn’t really send any message at all. One that doesn’t really stand out. One that doesn’t let me know that i am in the right place. One that doesn’t tell me what their business is known for.
Bland brands make me so sad, it is such a missed opportunity (especially when i get to know the people behind the brand and see how freaking awesome they are!)
So what can you do about it? How can you amplify your brand message… To shout it loud & clear from the rooftops?
Step 1. Get clarity
What do you want to be known for? Do you know? Do your most awesome customers know? Would a brand new visitor to your site know?
If you aren’t sure about this, it is worth spending some time on. It is worth ASKING people about.
A few months ago i asked on the facebook page: when you think of build a little biz what is the one word that comes to mind? It was eye opening to read the answers. And it resulted in me amping up my brand in a few new ways.
It is also worth getting a fresh set of eyes and some constructive criticism on to your branding – if you are in a mastermind or networking group you could do a brand check for each other, or you could ask a business mentor or coach to be a fresh set of eyes for you.
Step 2. Amplify your message
If you are sure about what you want to be known for but realize that maybe that message is not loud & clear enough, you need to make it stronger.
The business space (both online & off) is very crowded. Not only do we have to compete with all of the other micro-businesses but we have to draw people away from big brands as well. And a bland brand is just not going to be heard or noticed over all that noise.
You need to exaggerate your message – to make it over the top, to shout it from the rooftops. My rule of thumb is that if i am not feeling just a little bit outside of my comfort zone i am probably not “shouting” it loud enough!
Your gift is that you are a micro business, you can inject your brand with personality, and you can connect with people in a really genuine way. So do not be afraid to be you, to add some of YOU to your biz, to share your story, or to really engage with people!
Step 3. Exercise it
It can feel a little weird when you start to add more personality to your brand or when you amplify your message… it feels weird because it is something we are not used to (especially if we have been working very hard to build a *professional* business.)
Just remember that it is a bit like exercise. When you first start going to the gym it can be painful / awkward / uncomfortable but then eventually you get stronger, it gets easier, and you no longer feel uncomfortable using the equipment.
One thing that can help is to surround yourself with people that have created awesome brands. Create a “rocking it” folder in your bookmarks. Every time you come across a business that just has personality, or sends a strong and clear message, or has copy that you just adore, or you think does a kick ass job of being known for something – bookmark it
You know that saying… You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with? Surround yourself with people who are doing cool things with their brand. It will help you feel strong enough to amplify yours.
Karen Gunton from build a little biz is a blogger, teacher, and creative designer. Her passions are helping women in business get unstuck and brainstorming awesome ideas for little businesses. Karen also teaches product marketing and customer engagement through DIY visual branding techniques. Visit build a little biz.