Becoming a brand and branding is one of my favourite subjects aside from all things mindset; it lights up my creative side. It’s not only what I do best, but also one of the things I enjoy working on most with the clients I mentor and the brands I consult for.
Would you like to know how I built my former brand from the ground up into a 7-figure business? Aside from working hard, setting goals, and having an extremely determined mindset, it was the strong brand identity and experience I created, evolved, and consistently delivered on year on year that lead to my success. It was not just a business; it was a brand. Every single touch point I always made on point with my brand. It’s what set me apart from my competitors and something I worked incredibly hard on over the years.
Every industry is oversaturated – you need to stand out. You need to make your brand totally irresistible to the consumer so that they buy from YOU and not someone else. This does not come down to the product or the service you are selling (although of course these are very important too) … it comes down to what defines you and that is your brand.
So, what is a brand? What does this word mean to you? Do you even think you are a brand? Or do you identify as a business? I know for so many, and especially those who are not in a creative field, thinking and acting as a brand, not just a business, can be a hard one to get your head around. A really simple way to look at it is this – a business is just a product you are selling. A brand is the personality, the aesthetic, the little details. Now these of course overlap and done correctly, this is where the magic happens. Apply the mindset too and wowee, you are unstoppable!
What does the word ‘brand’ mean to me? For me, it’s an experience; how does it make me feel and do I want to be a part of it? It is something I am connected to. It’s a very old saying but it’s such a true one… ‘people buy from people’. When it comes to a service-based offer, it all comes down to the person who is selling that service. That person is the brand if you are a small business. By creating a community, getting to know your clients, and applying the personal touch, you are creating a feeling of belonging and desire to be a part of what you are selling.
I have worked with many people who have been selling both a service and a product who have fallen into the trap of believing the product alone is strong enough to make the client buy. This isn’t the case – the person behind the product, YOU, is so key also. You can have the best product in the world but if this is not backed with the brand, then however good the product is can become totally irrelevant. This has been incredibly frustrating for so many people I have worked with over the years. This was until they worked on building their brand.
To make me loyal to a brand, it is not exclusively about what they are selling. It is about me buying into what they have created to attract their brand hero and that brand hero is me. These brands have connected so strongly with me via their brand strategy and message, that the actual product almost becomes unimportant, as I want to buy from them just to be a part of their brand. Clever, right? They have sold to me on an emotional level and tapped into my subconscious and this is how most people, especially women, buy. Creating emotional connections, caring about your audience, and adding value is all key to your success. Clever brands offer customers the chance to invest in just a small way as well as with the high-ticket items. A great example is how we all lust after having a Chanel handbag, but at around £5k for a classic, this is not always accessible. However, a lipstick is, and the beautiful packaging and experience still gives you that feel-good factor and helps you feel a part of the brand. You can pick up a lipstick for just a few pounds, but we all invest in the more expensive ones as the brand is so much more desirable.
I also buy from brands that have positioned themselves as market leaders – the ones that have created a strong message and a level of high consistency that, although I can get something similar from someone else, I choose to buy from them as I believe they must be the best. A good example of this is Apple. I think once you convert to Apple, you never go back. They are SO good at creating a strong brand experience that you’re hooked! I often play a little game with myself when I notice a group of people all on their phones (and in this day and age, that is almost all the time!), by counting how many are using an Apple iPhone and it’s nearly always every single person. I smile to myself as I think about Steve Jobs who started out working in his garage and went on to create a billion-dollar brand. Now that is how you build a brand! Think about the brands you love for a minute. What is it that you like about them? Write all this down and take note – how can you apply this to your brand experience?
Behind the brand
If I were to stop by your website now, or your social media, would I get to see the faces behind the brand? Would I get to know your story? Your journey to what got you to where you are now? If you are wanting to create and be a brand, then personal branding is so vital to this. Invest in some professional images and use them. Show up in your stories and squares. Share the inside and behind the scenes. People want to know about you, and this is your opportunity to connect with your current and potential clients, creating that all important relationship.
‘Become a brand. Then you are in business”
Touch Points and all the little details
I talk about touch points and it all being in the detail a lot. Some would say I am obsessed, but for me these are SO important. I believe all the little touches are what make the big difference. When I had my former brands, I created a brand experience for both my customers (the retailers) and the end consumer (the bride). I was passionate about training my brand partners to be an extension of my brand. I also ensured that my stockists always had an on-brand experience with all touch points. So, what do I mean by this? It comes down to consistency and thinking about every aspect and detail of your business and brand. From that very first second of contact, to the last, and beyond. Every step must be on-brand and a positive, enjoyable, and feel-good experience, with both the pretty and the practical executed perfectly.
Ask yourself what brand experience you are offering your customer? Now, how can you improve on this? What little extra details and finishing touches could you offer your customers? What can you do to make you totally irresistible to your dream customers?
Think about making your business and brand into a turnkey model you are going to either franchise or market to sell. If the new owner were to take the keys to your business right now how turnkey is it? I think I need to do a whole new email on this right?…
Taglines, Slogans and Straplines
Do you have one? If so, do you feel it represents your brand message? Or do you want to change it? If you don’t have one, now is the time to make one. A tagline or slogan is a short message that tells the customer the important information about your offering, or a catchy message that people remember and know you for. Really good examples are:
John Lewis… Never knowingly undersold.
Nike… Just do it.
L’Oréal… Because you’re worth it.
Pringles… Once you pop, you can’t stop.
McDonalds… I’m lovin’ It.
Mac… Think different.
Charlotte Balbier… Your Prosperity Knows No Limit (my fav!)
Get creative and note some down. Pinpoint the one that best describes your business – then start using it where you can. Use it in your website, social posts and as a hashtag.
I would love to hear from you if you have any questions,