Of course, everyone always talks about branding. But branding isnt static–it is actually more organic and continually evolving. Your brand should never remain static–and it should always be true to your authentic self.
Branding is a catch phrase word, but ultimately it means putting your best self forward consistently each and every day. Companies thrive by being authentic to showcase their unique value and what they bring to the marketplace. Most small businesses struggle with showcasing their authenticity because they feel it’s not polished enough. I want each entrepreneur/woman to know that the very thing you struggle with about your authenticity is most likely your gift to winning, explains branding expert Karen Taylor Bass, creator of The Brand New Mommy.
Customers can tell when branding is authentic. It’s far easier to bring back a happy existing customer than to bring in a new one. Being authentic means the customer will feel safe using your services, buying your products, and coming back again. By contrast, if a prospect discovers a business is being inauthentic, they’re gone–but maybe not before they diss you to 10,000 social media followers, notes Shel Horowitz, known as the Transformpreneur and author of Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green, Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World.
Your business can suffer if your branding is not authentic to your brand. Without authenticity, you will suffer in business. Yes, you may have sales here and there, but it won’t be long term, says online business strategist Kristi Candelario, who has firsthand experience with her branding being off. She shares, For me, personally, when my brand was off, my alignment was off. I had a great website but as a business strategist I am the face of my company. I was trying to be someone I wasn’t because I was attracted to sites similar to my old branding style. However, I lacked confidence because I felt like my business wasn’t a true reflection of myself, my dreams, and goals for my clients. Everything was off and I feel like it was holding me back in way where no matter where I went online- I couldn’t attract my dream clients.
It is important to always to reexamine your branding, because sometimes your brand might just need a new attitude. Understanding that what you were doing before was not working – push back, look at your pattern and see what you need to do to RESET (perhaps change pricing, offer new services, get rid of services that are not working, create a consistent manageable plan to grow your business in 30 days and stick with it,” Taylor Bass points out.
This is especially important for women and entrepreneurs. Women and entrepreneurs struggle with commanding/asking for what they are worth (salaries/money) because society has taught us that we are less than and not qualified to compete at the highest level. Be confident in your attire, heels, hair coupled with your brain trust. Take off the cape, understand that your power as women/entrepreneurs makes you uniquely poised to drive any business/brand and situation to multi billions, encourages Taylor Bass.
So, how do you do this? Get clear on yourself/your business. What do you want the mission, vision, focus, and feel for your business to be? Look over who you are as a business and what your personality is like. If you hate the color red, then don’t use it. If you would never buy flowers for your house, then don’t put them on your website, etc., Candelario points out. Make sure you are attractive to your brand; that way, you come off more confident when speaking about it and sending people to places where they can see your brand in action. Make sure your brand flows in all places, that way you are not confusing your audience members depending if they are on your website, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Here are 4 tips on how to keep your brand authentic:
1. Tell the truth! Avoid bad practices like hype-filled marketing, lying for any reason, bait-and-switch, etc., says Horowitz. Institute truth-telling in your marketing, in what you tell investors and the press, etc.
2. Show up with confidence. Deliver your skill set with confidence, says Taylor Bass. Ask for what you deserve, no apologies. Accept you are a rock star with the credentials to back it up. Winning is 95 percent mental.
3. Give evidence. Sift through your personal and company history to find the stories you can tell that will resonate with people, help them develop brand loyalty, and spread the word about you, suggests Horowitz. Affiliate with a social or environmental cause, and tell their story as well as your own in your marketing.
4. Address your audience. Get clear on your dream clients, that way you know everything about them from their age, marital status, occupation, hobbies, favorite colors, favorite food, favorite movies/shows, their dislikes, their struggles, their favorite places to go, etc., notes Candelario. You will be able to not only find them but create things for them. You want to create blog post, emails, marketing campaigns, etc. for them that attract them. Plus, your visuals and your brand can be connected to you and them at the same time.